Why Everyone Should Be Doing Deadlifts
In today’s fast-paced world, time has become such a valuable commodity. We hardly have enough time for anything outside work.
In addition to time spent with family, the daily grind has also compromised our time for exercise.
But what if there was one exercise that could give you a full body workout and saves time?
This exercise is called the Deadlift and despite its threatening moniker, it could be the best exercise ever.
The Deadlift is as basic and functional as an exercise can be.
All you have to do is go up to a loaded barbell and pick it up from the floor. Sounds easy enough right? It is until you start loading the plates on both sides.
There will always be good arguments on which movement is the “King of All Exercises”.
Some will say it is the Squat and some will point to the Deadlift.
And while the Squat has its valid points, here are the reasons why the Deadlift could be the best exercise of all time.
It Involves Every Major Body Part…. And Then Some!
A common question asked by first time Deadlifters is the starting position.
A good reference point is to assume the same stance that gives you the highest and most explosive vertical jump.
This is because contrary to popular opinion, you do not initiate the Deadlift with your lower back but with your legs.
Deadlifters are taught to visualise pressing their legs through the floor when starting the pull.
Your lower back only comes in when the bar is below your knee.
As the bar crosses your knee and moves toward the middle part of your thighs, forces start to shift from your lower back to the middle back and reaches the upper back upon completion of the movement.
Along the way, your hamstrings and calves are helping your thighs maintain stability during the first pull.
When the bar is at midpoint, your chest, triceps, the front and lateral heads of your shoulders are contracting hard to stabilise the upper body.
At the top position, your rear shoulders and trapezius muscles are straining to achieve lockout.
All throughout your abs are contracting hard to support the lower back and your forearms and biceps are burning.
Did I leave out any body part?
The need to utilise all major body parts mean the Deadlift becomes most effective under a heavy weight x low repetition x moderate volume set up. To be clear:
Heavy Weight = Starting Program At 80% Of One Rep Maximum Effort
Low Rep Range = 1 To 5 Repetitions
Moderate Volume = 4 To 5 Sets
If you try to do a high repetition workout, the smaller, supporting muscles such as the shoulders, forearms and hamstrings will give out first.
How To Calculate Your One Repetition Max:
Best Weight You Can Carry For 3 Repetitions x 3 = X
X Multiplied By 0.033 = Y
Best Weight You Can Carry For 3 Repetitions + Y = Estimated One Repetition Max
You Can Get A Complete Workout With The Deadlift
After navigating through heavy traffic, you finally get to the gym. It’s 5 in the afternoon. The gym is packed.
All your favourite machines and weight stations are taken. Except the power rack and the lone Olympic barbell resting on its pins.
A Deadlift can be executed in a variety of ways. By simply changing grip width, the height of the pull and leg position you can target different body parts and get a complete back workout.
Here are some of the popular varieties of Deadlifts:
• Romanian Deadlift – After completing the lift at the top position, slightly straighten your legs and bring the barbell down until it almost touches the floor. Specifically targeted areas: hamstrings, glutes and lower back.
• Deficit Deadlift – Stand on a 5 centimeter platform and assume the conventional Deadlift position. Perform your usual number of reps and sets. Specifically targeted areas: thighs, hips, entire back complex.
• Rack Pulls – Set the pins on the power rack at a height approximately 10 centimeters below your knees. This is a great overload exercise. Load up the bar for several sets of single reps starting with 90% of your maximum lift. Keep adding weight until you cannot budge the bar anymore. Typically, you should be able to hit 120% of your personal best in the full conventional Deadlift. Specifically targeted areas: Middle back, upper back, shoulders, trapezius muscles and forearms.
• Snatch Deadlift – With the pins set 5 centimeters blow the knee set your grip at a width of approximately 81cm. Reduce the weight to 70% of your best conventional Deadlift and perform the usual number of sets and repetitions. Specifically targeted areas: Upper back, rear shoulders, trapezius muscles and forearms.
Sample Deadlift Workout
1. Conventional Full Deadlift – 80% of Max x 5 Sets of 5 Repetitions
2. Rack Deadlift – 90% / 95% / 100% / 105%/ 110% / 115% To 120% of Max x 1 Repetition
3. Snatch Grip Deadlift – 70% of Max x 2 Sets of 5 Repetitions
4. Romanian Deadlift – 70% of Max x 2 Sets of 5 Repetitions
Creates An Anabolic Environment For Your Body
Similar to the Squat, the Deadlift creates an anabolic environment for your body because of the amount of work required.
An anabolic environment assures muscle growth because the body produces more Human Growth Hormone.
As a lift that works best when you are constantly lifting at sub-maximal and maximum ranges, the Deadlift will constantly test your Central Nervous System or CNS.
Studies conducted in Eastern Europe show that periodically taxing your CNS could trigger the release of HGH.
The Deadlift is an exercise that could benefit everyone regardless of age, gender, type of sport and level of experience.
It is a basic yet functional exercise that develops strength, speed, power, agility and conditioning.
NBA Basketball player Stephen Curry who weighs 86 kilograms reportedly can Deadlift 182 kilograms.
For the elderly, the Deadlift could strengthen the lower back and other problem areas in the posterior chain.
Of course, heavy lifting could strengthen bones, tendons and ligaments.
For women, the Deadlift can help shape a lovely derriere, a taut lower back and tight, finely-toned hamstrings.
Women are also more susceptible to osteoporosis. The Deadlift could help prevent the onset of osteoporosis and protect the body from chronic pain.
Whether the Deadlift is the best exercise ever or not, you should include this exercise in your program.
It will yield benefits to your overall health, strength and well- being that other exercises may not provide.