What is deadlifting? Comprehensive Guide to 15 Exercises

Me Deadlifting 182kg @60kg body weight What is deadlifting

ahat is deadlifting

Deadlift or deadlift means simply picking up dead weight from the floor and lockout properly. It needs total focus for safety reasons. It is a very technical lift in the compound exercise category. Pick up a dead weight using a loaded barbell, and you are doing deadlifts.

This exercise is one-third of the iron sport of PowerLifting or Power Lifting.

The other 2 are the Back Squats and Bench Press. The deadlift has enormous positive effects on a trainer’s overall health, mobility, strength, grip power, cardiovascular system, and it is a powerhouse of physique transformation tool. and therefore, it must include it in all strength training exercises.

This exercise is very intense, and it can cause severe injuries if not performed properly. A suitable deadlift programming is based on correct structured lifting time, volume, breaks, and progressive overload. Deadlifts are brutal.

This compound exercise can challenge everything you got when picking up a big load.


  • Get jacked up like a beast doing deadlifts. It takes time!.
  • Lose weight and build muscle all over
  • Builds functional lean muscles, not show muscles, for both genders.
  • It builds connective tissues and make your knees, midsection strong, and prevents injuries while doing squats and bench
  • Build unparalleled strength and flexibility in your grips, hamstrings, posterior and upper traps (Snatch Grip Deadlifts)
  • Builds your hormonal reaction very quickly if coupled with proper nutrition and recovery
  • Builds midsection, core, lower back, an entire posterior side, and make your posture like comic book heroes.
  • It helps you build around the midsection and chest area.
  • Big lifts come with an unbelievable sense of pride and accomplishment.
  • Builds physique and character plus mental strength
  • It kicks chronic depression out of the door very quickly
  • Lift a 350 pound plus deadlift at any commercial gym and gain the respect of the big bad boy bodybuilder and the scrawny kid for good.

It is a primordial feeling of strength and power, sort of like pulling a tree by the roots and all – from the ground.

Do you want more?

PS: This does not mean everyone gets behind a loaded barbell. Get some coaching and start very small and build better, bigger numbers with your deadlifts.

Squat more to get better deadlift numbers.

What are the benefits of doing deadlifts?


I’m a huge proponent of the benefits of deadlifting.

I mean, I was a fan of deadlifting before I even got any good at the movement.

I literally had no idea what I was working but just enjoyed the feeling the movement gave me – it’s like total power.

I’ve done every movement you could think of, but none of them have affected my body that deadlifting has had on me.


Years of deadlifting (and tons of research) shows that the deadlift offers these benefits to the body:

  • It’s a full-blown body workout.
  • It thickens the muscles.
  • It’s a great strength movement.
  • Works the posterior chain
  • It builds an amazing back
  • It has great carryover to everyday life.
  • Great for preventing injury
  • Great if you don’t like wasting time
  • It’s not hard to add to your workout.
  • Your core will feel like a brick.
  • Your hamstrings get crazy strong.
  • The stronger you’re deadlifting, the more respect you get.
  • Your grip strength will be out of this world.
  • Way more than 1 way to do it
  • They even strengthen our bones.


*Make sure to lift when you’re supposed to. This article goes into depth about how many times a week you should be deadlifting.

These benefits are not things that are remote to one person’s body either.

I’ve actually found that many people do this movement to receive these benefits (more or less).

Deadlifting is one of those magic compound movements that just so happens to do a great deal for our entire bodies.

Below are 15 of the common (and uncommon) benefits of performing the deadlift:


  • First, it’s a full-blown body workout.

The act of standing up with a loaded barbell requires our bodies to work not only our glutes but also requires us to work out quads, hamstrings, and the entire back.


Because we need every single one of those muscles to stand the weight up fully.

When we perform basic or standard deadlifting, we force our bodies to fire different muscle groups during each part of the movement.

According to experts at Dark Iron Fitness, during the upward push of the deadlifting, we apply force through the floor using our glutes, hamstrings, and quads and work to pull the muscle the rest of the way up using our back muscles. 

We even use the hips at the end of the movement to follow through (as well as at the beginning to perform the breaking motion.


2. It thickens the muscles

One of the people who really got me focused on deadlifting (even before I was interested in powerlifting) was Stan Efferding.

 For those who don’t know, Stan is an accomplished Powerlifter, Bodybuilder, and Entrepreneur who just so happens to be deadlifting roughly 800 lbs (that’s the most I’ve seen anyway).

I was on Youtube one day. I just so happened to see him doing a deadlifting session about 7Heideo; he mentioned that deadlifting allowed him to stand apart from the crowd at his bodybuilding comp during the video editions.

He mentioned that the best and thickest bodybuilders such as Ronnie Coleman, himself, and many more incorporated heavy compound movements like the deadlift into their programming, which helped them build width. 

Ronnie Coleman also mentioned this in an interview that he himself did whereby he was deadlifting 800 lbs before he had a bodybuilding show.

He mentioned that it helped him improve his overall muscle density and set him apart from the crowd when he was on stage.

Speaking for myself, I’ve even noticed a major change in my back thickness (the deadlift can be a hypertrophy movement).

*You can check out this article if you want a better description of whether deadlifts help build mass.


3. It’s a great strength movement In powerlifting

we have 3 basic movements; the squat, deadlift, and bench press.

The deadlift is included in that list for a reason.

It’s a compound movement that requires explosiveness and complete control over the central nervous system.

And consider what you’re doing when you’re deadlifting.

You’re pressing through the floor with your glutes, hamstrings, quads and pulling with as much force as you can muster to lift a weight off of the ground. 

And, at the end of the lift, you’re finishing with the hip drive.

The movement is entirely about explosiveness and form, which is why when you see people deadlift, they typically try to move the weight as quickly as they possibly can off the floor.

Another great example of this is how hard it can be to deadlift weight slowly off the ground, especially heavyweight.

 The slower you move, the more you actually feel the weight you’re moving.

4. Works the posterior chain

The posterior chain comprises the following muscles: calves, hamstrings, glutes, multifidus, external obliques, erector spine muscles, trapezius, and posterior deltoids. 

According to the experts at Sohofitnesslab, the most common issues that lifters tend to see are weak glutes and poor hip movement, which can improve with a movement like a deadlift.

They also say that it tends to correct certain postural issues that come about with our everyday lives.

We tend to spend a great deal of time sitting down or in otherwise sedentary positions – this can result in our becoming quad-dominant and developing issues in our control over our postural muscles. 

Not using our posterior chain gives us that hunched, leaning posture, which can improve with consistent proper weighted deadlifting.

5. Builds an amazing back

I can speak for this myself.

While my back isn’t the biggest thing in the world.

I can’t begin to tell you how much bigger my back has gotten from doing deadlifts than doing things like lat pulldowns or barbell rows.

But enough about me, if we look at any of the best deadlifters, one thing you’ll notice is that each of these lifters has super huge, crazy-looking lats and some width on them that was out of this world.

If you see a heavy powerlifter who watches his physique, someone like Dan Green, you’ll even notice that his back is just tremendously huge. 

I can honestly say that any deadlift-focused lifter I’ve seen has a huge back, even if it isn’t a naturally crazy huge person.


6. Has a great carryover to everyday life

The deadlift is a full-body movement, which allows us to go a bit heavier than with other, more focused movements like bicep curls or tricep extensions.

Once you can lift insane amounts of weight in a movement like a deadlift, you’ll find that you’ve become an overall stronger person.

You’ll find that your body can do things that you weren’t able to do.

I’m not saying that you’ll become superhuman, but your resting strength level (as with any strength training) will become much greater than it was before you started performing these movements.

Things like insane grip strength and improved Central Nervous System control are the things that you’ll notice.

After I started doing strength training and explosive movements like deadlifting, I developed resting strength out of this world.

I was blowing through doors and breaking everything, and it was all by mistake. I also got really, really good at holding groceries.

7. Great for preventing injury

When I first started deadlifting, the strain that people saw on my face signaled that I would hurt myself.

When I ask most people if they deadlift, the first thing I hear is that it puts too much strain on their back or doesn’t have the back for it.

What I want to say to them is that they don’t have the back for it because they:

1. don’t deadlift and

2. maybe doing the deadlift with terrible form.

According to a few leading physicians, the cause of injury in many lifters’ bodies is muscle strength imbalance. 

If your glutes aren’t firing off when you deadlift, and you’re forced to overcompensate with the hamstrings, you’re very likely to pull a hamstring.

However, performing the deadlift is what will show you those muscle imbalances.

If your hamstrings are overcompensating, you will be forced to feel it and correct it before making any real progress.

*Check out this article if you’re interested in seeing other preventative measures you can take to avoid injuries.


8. Great if you don’t like wasting time

This one is simple, really.

The deadlift is a compound exercise that works the entire posterior chain.

It uses the entirety of the back, which basically means that you don’t have to spend all day in the gym performing 10-12 different movements.

This is way too much work for one gym session, and I’m exaggerating a bit.

If you do a few sets of heavy deadlifts on top of a few assistance exercises, you will get what you need doing done.

There’s no need for excess work; get what you need to stimulate muscle growth and then get out of the gym.

9. It’s not hard to add to your workout

It’s actually not very difficult to add some heavy deadlifts to a back workout.

For me, a heavy deadlift session looks like 3 sets of 5 reps (with relatively heavyweight) and 2-3 assistance movements with 2 sets of high reps.

It doesn’t have to be too difficult to add a compound movement like this to a workout, mainly because it can make up the workout’s meat.

On top of that, you don’t have only to do deadlifts with a barbell.

There are a bunch of different variations that you can engage in.

For instance, when I was younger and didn’t have regular access to a gym to do deadlifts in, I just purchased some dumbbells, loaded them up, and performed them with them.

That worked for me. 

There are also kettlebell deadlifts, which work wonders for the core and the posterior chain as well.

10. Your core will feel like a brick

Stan Efferding also said this best, “Nothing works the core like squats and deadlifts.”

The only reason why most powerlifters have cores that look to be out of shape is because of all the excess calories they take in.

Once you see one of these 300 + powerlifters slim down, I’m sure you’ll notice the insanely powerful core muscles the lifter has.

I mean, take a look at the world’s best deadlifter and WSM winner Eddie Hall.

This guy has been slimming down lately after over 360 pounds, and his core looks like it will damage a guy’s fist if he punches it.

11. Your hamstrings get crazy strong

While the deadlift is generally praised for giving lifters some insane back and grip strength, it also places much strain on a lifter’s hamstring.

I will not lie to you guys on this; before I started deadlifts, my hamstrings were complete s***.

I mean, I never, ever touched them. 

After incorporating deadlifts into my routine, I noticed that I finally felt the burn in my hamstrings. 

Strong hamstrings lead to improved running, jumping, and explosiveness in a variety of sports.

12. The stronger your deadlift, the more respect you get

Now I have to admit that this is more of a competitive lifter and guy thing.

There’s no respect like the respect you get after going to the gym and deadlifting 2 -3x your body weight with little to no effort.

I mean, seriously, the guy who deadlifts, benches, and squats the most weight is almost like the king of the gym.

*Does this mean that this should be your goal when you go to the gym?


If you don’t have the proper form or really know how to deadlift, you should start small and figure out the correct pattern for your body to move in to perform the deadlift correctly.

*Make sure to set realistic goals, too. This article goes into depth about that subject.


13. Your grip strength will be out of this world

Do you remember me saying that the deadlift improved our resting strength levels?

I also mentioned that deadlifting gave a competitive edge in the sport of Grocery Bag Holding.


Because it really did.

I mean, I got to the point where I could hold around 7-8 full grocery bags in one hand with no problem.

Think about it, though.

Once you’re deadlifting around 400 lbs with a double overhand grip, you’re basically able to hold 200 pounds in each hand with no problem.

That’s no small feat. 

Even if you’re deadlifting with a reverse grip, you’ll be working your forearm muscles and will develop some insane grip strength.


14. Way more than 1 way to do it

There are literally tons of ways to deadlifting.

We have sumo, Romanian, deficit, trap bar, etc. 

Each of these different types of deadlifting has its own athletic carryover as well.

For instance, the purpose of the Romanian deadlift is to put a greater emphasis on the hamstrings, while rack pulls are meant to keep the tension mainly on the back and not the legs (at least that’s what I’ve found).

It’s the reason why you’re able to lift so much more weight with a rack pull than with an off-the-floor deadlift.


15. They even strengthen our bones

The interesting thing about the deadlift is it’s known to improve overall bone density and strength.

According to a study on Futurity,

“Bone mass of the whole body and lumbar spine significantly increased after six months of completing the weight-lifting or jumping programs and maintained this increase at 12 months. However, Hip-bone density only increased among those who completed the weight-lifting program.”


What is the deadlifting Conclusion?

This was a weight-lifting program that focused entirely on the deadlift and other heavy compound movements.

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