The deadlift is one of the most polarizing exercises in sport and fitness, but it shouldn’t be.
Provided you are training with a certified professional, the movement’s benefits far outweigh the risks associated with avoiding the movement. But, chances are you’ve even been told by a medical professional to avoid the exercise to ensure you don’t hurt your back. Why is that?
I believe a mixed bag reason could lead to injuries associated with the lift. These including well-meaning individuals try to teach themselves the deadlift without the supervision of a certified coach, an improper mix of intensity or volume, wretched form propitiated ego, all the way down to improper footwear while lifting.
When performed correctly and under the guise of a trained professional, the benefits for the deadlift are crazy good for everyone, from a D1 athlete to your grandma, the deadlift is your answer.
Let’s be clear, if you have a medical diagnosis or issue that dictates you approach this movement with caution, do so! There is a multitude of variations of the moment that can still be beneficial, but the king of all strength movements has a world of benefit you can’t get with any other exercise.
Here are my 12 reasons you should be deadlifting:
ONE: Historical records date back to the 6th century B.C. of the lift being performed in Olympia, Greece. This lift has been performed for thousands of years and is ingrained in our daily lives.
TWO: At one point in the 1700s, the Deadlift was named the Health Lift, and it wasn’t until recently it was viewed as something to be avoided.
THREE: Due to the exercise’s complexity, many upper body muscles are also recruited as stabilizers and synergists; more on that to come below. This means you can work your abs while deadlifting (I know, your mind is blown, right?!?!)
FOUR: Some form of the DL is found in every strength sport. From powerlifting to highland games, you will find a variation of the movement. This is because powerful people can know how to deadlift, and powerful people are hard to beat.
FIVE: If you want to be a better athlete, regardless of the sport, you need to deadlift. That’s due to the movement teaching hip flexion. Think about it, is there a sport that doesn’t involve hip flexion? Everything from kicking a soccer ball, throwing a baseball, or using a slap shot in hockey uses the movement.
SIX: The Deadlift the simplest of compound strength movement. This means you will work multiple muscles over multiple joints simultaneously—bang for your buck.
SEVEN: The deadlift lift is a requisite for more complex compound movements like the Olympic clean.
EIGHT: Compound but yet irreducible. This is an important one! This means the benefits you get from performing the movement can NOT be replicated by breaking down the movement into simpler exercises like a plank, hamstring curl, and barbell hip thrust.
NINE: The neuroendocrine response produced by large muscle mass exercises like the deadlift stimulates the body’s anabolic and growth hormones. Consequently, this response proves critical to tissue growth and remodeling and leads to subsequent strength gains. One of my favorite strength coaches has a famous quote to sum this one up, “If you want a bigger bench press, deadlift.” Mark Rippetoe
TEN: Which leads me to the next point, if you want to burn more fat, you need more muscle, which, oh, by the way, the deadlift will help you with. So, deadlift = fat loss.
ELEVEN: The deadlift not only builds muscles, but it will also strengthen bones and connective tissue. This one is a little long, but follow me on this.
Specific Adaptation to Imposed Demand (SAID) is a basic exercise science principle. This means that the body will over adapt to the stress the body is forced to endure. Exercise is stress; at least it should be physical stress that is greater than what the body experiences in homeostasis. This stress causes the muscles, bones, and connective tissue to over adapt to ensure safety in the future. Your bones are the framework your muscles and connective tissues are built upon. As your muscles grow, so too will your bones to ensure they can meet the demands the muscles will place on them. So, if you want bones stronger than Wolverine in your 90’s, you need to be deadlifting.
TWELVE: You need it for everyday life. Knowing how to deadlift will help you safely pick your kids up, help your buddy move his couch, and carry 42 grocery bags at the same time (because we all know making two trips is a waste of time); you need to know to deadlift properly.
I could go on, but to spare your time, I believe in the deadlift, and you should too. But, it needs to be performed correctly and under the supervision of a trained professional.
If you would like to start gaining all the benefits of the Deadlift, come train with us. We will set you up for success with our foundation program that includes teaching the Deadlift.