There is probably no better way to show off your physical strength than by lifting up those 100-, 150-, or even 200-pound barbells off the ground. This is why both men and women are crazy about deadlifting. According to women’s strength coach Allison Tenney, more and more women are getting into it. They are drawn to the challenge, as well the great empowering feeling. This oldie but goodie strength exercise involves hinging forward at the hips, engaging the core, the glutes and hamstrings, the laterals, and the shoulders as well.
So, yeah, doing this exercise will pretty much sculpt almost all muscle groups! Since it taps into your muscles with high intensity, you can expect to see serious results if you stick to it regularly. Plus, it also allows you to move more pounds than you normally can with other exercises. You can say hello to a fitter and more vigorous you in no time! If those benefits still have not persuaded you of the wonders of the deadlift, then here are 6 more rewards waiting for you if you add it to your daily routine.
- It amps up your game: Regardless of your sport, whether running or basketball, football or tennis, doing the deadlift will automatically improve your game. Tenny explains, “Deadlifts build power, the lifeblood of any successful athlete.” The ultimate force move called the hip hinge (completed by pushing your buttocks back as you thrust your hips forward) launches you to jumps, running strides, and other lifts as well.
- It produces better results than cardio: A study from the Appalachian State University discovered that women who consistently performed strength training had an improved blood pressure compared to those who only did cardio. Deadlifts are extremely high-intensity-interval training. It strengthens your arteries, allowing them to dilate more easily. With that said, you can say goodbye to elliptical sessions and focus on lifting instead.
- It strengthens the bone: In order to enhance your bones, you need to put some weight on them. Deadlifts allow your hips and spine (both susceptible to osteoporosis) to carry the weight that is multiple times your own. Also, performing deadlifts allows body cells called osteoblasts to fill in the stressed sections of your skeleton, turning into indestructible bone once they calcify.
- It tightens the core: According to the research from the International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy, compared to the plank, deadlifts are much better in reaching the deepest muscles of the abdomen: the transverse abdominis. The muscle functions as the body’s internal corset, strengthening and firming up your torso.
- It promotes weight loss: According to physical therapist and strength coach Mariel Schofield, DPT, CSCS, the deadlift is a major calorie burner as it engages every muscle in your body, amplifying your heart rate. Plus, you don’t only burn calories when you do them, you also do so as you cool down. This is thanks to what is called the Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC), the energy your body consumes as it recovers from your work out. It boosts the butt. According to Tenney, since deadlifts are a hip-dominant move, the majority of the work is done by your hamstrings and glutes. That can only mean one thing: you can expect a huge improvement in your butt, and notice that extra roundness and perkiness in your behind!
How the deadlift is done.
The only way to reap the benefits of the deadlift is to do it regularly and properly. Here is how! Stand with your feet underneath the bar of the barbell. Bend over and hold the barbell. Bend your knees such that your legs are touching the bar. Slowly lift your chest up, standing as tall and straight as possible. Make sure to maintain your spine in a neutral position.
While keeping the back straight, bend your legs to lower down the bar onto the floor. *Important reminder: The bend is as important as the lift. Don’t rush the move and make sure to not drop the bar. Modified versions of the deadlift are as effective. Once you have mastered the basic deadlift move, it’s time to amp it up a little and try out these modifications.
It is important to add variety to your routine to challenge your body and avoid the dreaded plateau. The single-leg switcheroo. This modified version helps enhance balance, stability, and oblique strength. How it’s done: With a kettlebell on your left hand, stand straight, legs apart, with your right foot positioned slightly in front of your left.
Keep your back straight and chest out as you hinge forward at the hips, bending the knees slightly, lowering the kettlebell toward the floor. Hold the pose for a while. As you stand back up, give your glutes a good squeeze. That is one rep. Start with 10 reps with the kettlebell on your left hand, and do another set with the weight on the right hand.
The sumo barbell deadlift.
Put more focus on the glutes instead of the quads simply by placing your feet apart. How it’s done: Stand with your feet wide apart, with your toes slightly pointing outward. Slowly bend those knees and hips to allow you to grab the barbell bar.
Both hands should be positioned inside your knees. To aid in grip strength, you could do a mixed grip — one hand doing an overhand, and the other doing an underhand. Apart from the placing of the feet, this modified version is done the same way you would as the traditional barbell lift.
The hex-bar deadlift.
Research from the California State University at Fullerton found that this easier, squat-like modification of the traditional deadlift puts more focus on your quads. How it’s done: Go in the middle of the hex bar and stand with your feet hip-width apart. Bend your knees, push your buttocks backward, bend your hips down, and grab the bar’s handles on your sides.
Make it a point that your spine remains neutral. Lift the bar by standing from this position. Pause briefly, then slowly lower the bar onto the floor. One rep.
The dumbbell RDL.
If you are one of those folks who work out at home and do not have heavy barbells and kettlebells available, this version is great for you. You only need dumbbells to achieve this pose. Also, this is perfect for the rookies who may not yet be ready and able to deadlift 45 pounds yet. (It’s the standard weight of bars, not including the plates.)
To do this exercise, grab a dumbbell using both your hands, with the palms facing your thighs. Place your feet shoulder-width apart. Keeping that spine straight and that core tight, push your buttocks backward and hinge your hips downward as you bend your knees a little, lowering your body towards your shins. Once you feel that stretch in the hamstrings, briefly pause, and reverse the position by squeezing your glutes as you stand back up. One rep.