Have you tried the deadlift yet? If not, you are missing out! Want a full-body workout with minimal equipment? The deadlift is your friend. Want a cute butt with some solid glutes? The deadlift is your friend. Want a stronger core with a better posture? The deadlift is your friend. Want something that is functional? Versatile? Efficient? That’s right, the deadlift is your new BFF.
Deadlifting builds full-body strength.
During a deadlift, your legs, glutes, and hips help lift the weight off the ground while your back and core keep your spine stable, preventing any extra movement. At the same time, your shoulders and upper back are working to keep the bar stable while your arms, forearms, and hands are grasping the bar, keeping it in the right place during the entire movement. By strengthening your entire body, especially the posterior chain, you will notice improvements in your posture as well.
Deadlifting is functional.
Because it mimics basic human movements, improvements will transfer from the gym to your everyday life. Moving furniture, picking up children, bringing in groceries and shoveling snow all involve deadlifting. By keeping good form and improving your deadlift in the gym you could potentially make life outside the gym that much easier. It can also reduce your risk of getting injured during any of these similar lifts.
Deadlifting is versatile.
Do you get bored easily? Are you someone who doesn’t like to do the same thing over and over and over to get results? Who really wants to eat a bowl of oatmeal every day for breakfast 365 days a year? If that’s you, well go on with your bad self. You can deadlift the same way week after week. Otherwise, you can change it up! Once you master the basics try out some of the other variations: stiff-legged, Romanian, single-legged, sumo, hack, trap/hex bar, and deficit deadlifts.
Deadlifting is pregnancy safe.
As long as your doctor has cleared you to exercise, you can start or continue to deadlift during pregnancy. There are a few things to watch out for though. If you have a history of back pain or injury, excessively tight hip flexors (you can't hinge at the hips properly), or you have other injuries or mobility issues speak to a certified professional before you get started.
I can go on and on explaining why you should be deadlifting. It’s one of the best exercises to incorporate into your exercise routine and with so many variations it won’t become monotonous. If you are ready to give it a shot, here are some tips to get you started:
Start with the bar. If the standard bar at the squat rack is too heavy don’t be afraid to step back. Choose a set of dumbbells or a kettlebell and work on building strength and form. Once you feel comfortable with those weights slowly increase the weight until you are ready to make the switch to a barbell (most standard barbells are 45lbs).
Practice form over heavy lifting. Get comfortable with moving through the exercise before you try to be the next Arnold Schwarzenegger. There are three main components to a deadlift, the starting position, the upward movement, and the downward movement.
Start: Place the barbell on the floor. Stand with your feet hip width apart, toes under the bar. Squat down, keep your chest up and back flat (aka do not arch or bend your back). Pack your shoulders and brace your core (contract your abdominal muscles like you are about to get punched in the gut) then firmly grasp the bar with an overhand grip.
Lift: Continue to brace your core as you push through your heels to lift the weight off the floor. Keep your shoulders packed through the lift (avoid rounding them toward your chest). Keep the bar close to your body as you move. Once the barbell passes your knees thrust your hips forward until you are standing upright. Squeeze your glutes at the top.
Reset: Slowly lower the bar back to the starting point with a hinge at the hips (stick your butt back and down). Then bend your knees as you lower the bar and your hips at the same time. Keep your weight in your heels, continue to brace your core through the entire movement. Finish where you started: bar on the floor, chest up, shoulders packed.
Still unsure of yourself? Look for a professional. Hire a trainer or coach to help you perfect this movement. A certified trainer can put a personalized program together that fits your needs and your body type. Many people have faulty movement patterns that need to be addressed before they can move on to lifting heavy. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.