The deadlift is the quintessential weightlifting workout. You must add it to your regular routine if the main objective of your weight lifting program is to build mass and strengthen all the major muscle groups. To put it bluntly, there is no other form of exercise that can deliver as many benefits as does deadlifting. The benefits to risks ratio simply makes it a no brainer if you are serious about your overall fitness – strength, cardio, attention-grabbing physique, etc.
The deadlift is performed by grasping the free weight bar and lifting it until you are standing up. Note that the bar must carry as much weight as you can possibly – not comfortably – lift. Doing deadlifts with heavy weights will help you get the most out of it. What’s heavy will depend on your body weight and strength level. A good indicator that you are lifting heavy is that you are only able to do eight repetitions per set at the most. Six to eight reps using heavy weights will yield remarkable results. Simply put, you need to lift heavy while observing good form in order to attain the best results from deadlifting.
In this article we’ll go over some of the most beneficial reasons to include this exercise into your regular workout routine right away.
1) Muscle Mass / Muscle Growth
This tops the list of benefits. Most guys want to build bigger and more defined muscles. There is no better workout for overall muscle growth than the deadlift. Every time you execute a deadlift, you are using all the major muscles in your body, including the spinal erectors, gluteals, and hamstrings. Your quads are also engaged if you do bent-knee deadlifts. The inclusion of this muscle group will enable you to lift heavier weights than other forms of exercise. Lifting heavier weights will prod the body to release testosterone and growth hormones that induce muscle growth and development, so long as you’re doing your workout above 75 percent of your 1RM (repetition maximum) for 8 reps.
2) Develop Core Strength
Deadlifting is an effective exercise if you want to develop your core strength, which is largely derived by training the body’s central muscle groups. Muscles that comprise the core are located in your upper and lower back, your abdominals, your hips, and your buttocks. All these muscles work together when you do a deadlift. A strong core is important in maintaining good posture, balance and preventing back problems. More on these in the succeeding sections. Deadlifting is also your best shot towards developing quick strength increase on all exercises included in your workout routine.
3) Increase Functional Strength
When you do physical labor, you often pick up stuff from the floor and lift them to waist level. This is a very common movement so by routinely deadlifting, you’re making it easier on your body in real life situations. Incorporating deadlifts into your exercise routine will develop the muscles that are involved in different types of physical labor. In addition, since deadlifts typically involve lifting heavy weights, they also help in developing a strong grip, which is associated with most physical tasks. Come to think of it, when you perform a deadlift your fingers are the only things connecting the rest of your body to the weight of the bar. This means your forearms need to work hard in order to keep the bar from falling off your hands. As a result, your grip strength increases by leaps and bounds.
4) Increased Cardio
Deadlifts are a form of high-intensity cardiovascular exercise. When executed properly and with enough intensity and effort, the deadlift will tax the body’s cardiovascular system. Eight repetitions of deadlifts can greatly boost your cardiovascular ability. In fact, it can raise maximum oxygen consumption (VO2Max), which is the body’s ability to transport and utilize oxygen during exercise. It is an excellent indicator of your level of cardiovascular fitness. Deadlifting is guaranteed to deliver that “out of breath” sensation immediately after a set. You’ll need a break in between sets so your aerobic system can catch-up and allow you to muster the strength to lift up the bar for another set.
5) Fat Burning
As aforementioned, deadlifting is an intensive exercise so it burns a lot of calories. The benefits for weight loss don’t stop with the time spent performing deadlifts. As a matter of fact, the true value lies in the muscle that you’re building in your body. The additional muscle tissue will boost your metabolism and make your body more efficient at burning calories. Harvard Health Publications noted that a 185-pound individual will only burn 133 calories in half an hour. The fact that deadlifting activates so many muscles makes it a highly effective calorie-burning strength exercise.
6) Improve Posture
Deadlifting strengthens your lower back better than any other form of exercise. Studies have shown that a weak lower back can drastically increase the likelihood of developing poor posture. By strengthening this particular area, you’ll improve the alignment of your spine and you’re less likely to develop a slouch.
7) Stability Control
Doing the deadlift is a little like doing a full back extension, a leg press, a crunch, and a straight-arm pulldown all at the same time. It’s completely different from isolation exercises since it involves multiple muscle groups and joint movements. Hence, it recruits a large number of stabilizer muscles that otherwise won’t get much stimulation. These stabilizer muscles are often overlooked by many in the gym, but they are important in attaining a balanced and functional physique.
8) Preventative and Rehabilitative
Since the deadlift targets the entire back and all the connecting muscles, it is frequently prescribed as an effective exercise to prevent injury, especially among athletes. It is also used to help regain strength for those who have suffered serious musculoskeletal injuries. It has been postulated that moderate to high hamstring activity induced during deadlifts can help in protecting the Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) during rehab.
9) Positive Effect on Other Exercises
When you combine all the aforementioned benefits, you end up with increased flexibility and strength on all other exercises. Each time you do a deadlift, you are actually executing heavy lifting that uses all the major muscles in your body including those in your back, chest, arms, and legs. Moreover, you’ll notice a significant strength gain when you do isolation or more compound exercises.
10) Better Overall Health
Increased strength, a higher level of testosterone, a more sculpted physique, and a more positive outlook on life translate to better overall health. Doing deadlifts improves your cardio and helps boost your immune system. Most compound workouts can also achieve these but the one thing that’s exceptional about deadlifting is that it benefits the entire body.