One guy walked towards me at the gym and asked, “Why do you often do deadlifts? I often see you drenched in sweat while doing it. Does deadlifting help more in some way”?
While me moving for my another set replied with a big positive smile, “I JUST LOVE IT”!!
There are numerous benefits of deadlifts and I call this exercise a “Head-to-the-toe Exercise”. Why so? Unfortunately, I was short of time that day and couldn’t reply to that young chap.
But being a fitness coach & a blogger I can definitely speak up all my mind on this bigger platform so that everyone can know how important deadlifts are for gym-goers and why DEADLIFT is known as the ‘king of exercises’.
What is a Deadlift? Why It is called a Deadlift?
Many people believe that deadlift is an exercise for the lower back. Yes, it’s true as it mainly targets your lower back.
But deadlift is a compound & powerlifting exercise which not only targets your lower back but utilizes the muscles of your whole body. In short, it’s the whole body exercise.
That’s the prime reason for me loving it and calling it a ‘head-to-the-toe-exercise’.
“A deadlift simply means lifting a dead weight off the ground with the back arched and the chest out”.
Ever wondered how many times you use this deadlift movement in your day-to-day tasks?
Whether it’s picking up a dumbbell at the gym, or a bottle from the ground. Some grocery bags or maybe pulling a table at the home.
Deadlift mimics the basic bend-and-pull movement which is used in your day-to-day life and activities of daily living as stated above. This also makes it an amazing functional exercise mastering your pulling ability.
Why Deadlifts are Important? Benefits of Deadlifts
1) Highly Anabolic
Deadlifts are highly anabolic for the body which releases and boosts many positive hormones like testosterone, growth hormones, adrenaline, and norepinephrine.
You might have surely experienced the ‘adrenaline rush’ while doing those super heavy deadlifts (assuming you’re into strength training). That adrenaline rush is due to the release of the ‘epinephrine’ hormone which is a neurotransmitter.
Higher testosterone = Better Sex Drive!!
Irrespective of your goal, a boost of anabolic hormones would be a blessing and undoubtedly provide you better results at the gym!
2) Burns Maximum Calories
It’s more taxing to the body which intensifies the work of your heart and the lungs. This results in higher oxygen uptake and metabolic stress.
Elevated oxygen uptake would not only burn calories when you’re at the gym but even outside keeping your metabolism elevated up to 48hrs.
This effect is called the EPOC effect (Post Exercise Oxygen Consumption). Your body continues to burn calories during the recovery period. Yes, even when you’re lying down on the couch.
Deadlifts also recruit maximum muscle fibers/joints burning higher calories! This makes it an excellent exercise to be incorporated during your fat loss journey.
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3) Strength Gains
It trains you with explosive movements, deadlift being the one. Now you know why those power-lifters keep on performing deadlifts and try getting better at it.
Heavier loads and striving to get better at it over time (which is called progressive overload) = STRONGER YOU.
So this king exercise even makes you a king (stronger you) when it comes to STRENGTH GAINS.
4) Increases Stability & Mobility
For humans, stability & mobility are the most basic function.
Stability & mobility are very important when it comes to easy movement of your joints & ligaments. They’re especially crucial as you age in keeping you free from any kind of injuries.
That’s why the trainers initially would make you work on these two aspects before proceeding to the main LOAD TRAINING. You won’t be able to make your best lifts until your muscles are stable, flexible, and mobile enough.
So deadlifts work on your overall body balance, mobility, and flexibility.
5) Stronger Glutes, Quads, & Hammies!
It can smoke up your entire lower body especially your QUADS & GLUTES!! Yes, SQUATS isn’t the only exercise for that tight-round booty gains and a well-toned lower body.
Studies showed that the activation of the biceps, quads, glutes, and hamstrings is very high during the deadlifts. As per them, erector spinae (your posterior muscles around your spinal cord), quads, biceps, and glutes showed the maximum muscle activation during a deadlift movement. ²
Also, the squat and the deadlifts can result in similar improvements of the lower-body strength. Interestingly many strength coaches believe that they both have similar characteristics. ³
Deadlifts can be considered as an additional exercise to strengthen thigh muscles.
6) Bigger TRAPS, BICEPS, and Forearms!
Deadlifts not only play a significant role in your overall back development but also traps, biceps, and forearms development. It adds up the desired thickness in them.
Shrugs and biceps curls aren’t the only exercise for the trap and bicep muscles. Deadlift hits the whole back (posterior of your body) up to the neck along with your biceps!
Also, forearms are constantly engaged and under tension throughout the exercise.
I call it Neck-to-the-toe.
Need huge well-defined strong traps, biceps, and forearms? – You know the answer now!!
7) Improves Grip Strength
Gripping ability is the basic attribute that would come into play while you perform any exercise or movement. That’s what binds you with the weight.
Deadlifts will significantly improve the strength of your grip over time.
Bonus Tip: Make sure to hold the barbell/dumbbell tightly while performing the movement. The Bar shouldn’t roll out of your hands. NO LOOSE LAZY GRIP! A strong-tight grip will help you to get some extra reps and lift more weight. And guess what? The output would be more total work achieved!
8) Prevents Injury and Lower Back Pain
Are you the one scared of doing deadlifts because of lower back pain issues? Fear not. Studies showed that deadlifts can be of great benefit for reducing lower back pain in some cases. ⁴ It depends on the level of pain and injury the person is suffering from.
Along the whole lower body, deadlift strengthens the lumbar spinal extensors and they’re the dominant stabilizers of the lower back. It also restores hip mobility which will prevent you from injuries.
Deadlifts: Key Points to Keep in Mind
1) A proper full-body warm-up (including your neck and wrists) is important prior to deadlifts, as they use most muscles of the body.
2) Correct Form & Posture: Keep your back arched and chest out while performing the movement. Look up in the mirror without straining your neck. Avoid being a turtle and rounding your back. Proper technique is very important in every exercise, but should be more of a concern during deadlifting as the outcome of a bad form could be disastrous.
Check how to do a proper deadlift?
Video Credits: Men’s Health
3) Higher Risk of Injuries – Lower-back, neck, and torn biceps are the common injuries due to a bad form and going super heavy being a beginner. Master the correct form and develop the foundation first before going super heavy or progressively overloading.
4) Your spinal cord is on the stake while deadlifting, never use ‘swingy-jerky movements’ with the momentum.
5) Focus on the concentric squeeze (concentric movement) – the position in which you’ll be lifting the dead weights and coming back to 90º. Squeeze your lower back and glute at that locked-up position.
6) Proper Rest & Recovery: Deadlifts require high neurological demands and they fatigue your CNS quickly. They can drain you in very little time being a taxing exercise. So proper rest is necessary for optimal recovery of the mind and body. Keep your DEADS short and intense.
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- Health & Performance Benefits of Squats, Deadlifts, and the Bench Press.
- Deadlifting Tips to Prevent Injuries.