Ask any veteran weight lifter or power lifter and you will find that most of them value the Deadlifting to be the best all round exercise you can do, and I couldn’t agree more. The deadlift really is the king of lifts and all you need for it is a barbell and weights!
So just what makes the Deadlifting so great? Well the Deadlifting is a compound movement for starters, it works multiple muscle groups. In fact there are very few muscles in your body that the Deadlifting won’t work. Primarily it will target your back (both lower and upper) and your hips and glutes (depending on your stance). Your stance can be adjusted to target different muscles and the two most common variations are the regular narrow stance and the sumo stance. Many people opt for the sumo stance as it takes some of the stress away from your back.
With the Deadlifting targeting multiple muscle groups it is an excellent exercise to stimulate total body growth. Along with the bench press and squat many people would say that these three are all you really need to pack on lots of lean muscle. Another major advantage of the Deadlifting is the fact that it emulates a real life movement. How many times in a day do you have to bend down and pick something up, well this is exactly what you’re doing with a Deadlifting, for this reason it can really add to your functional strength. There is also nothing more satisfying than beating a personal record on the deadlift, it isn’t abnormal for people to be able to lift two times their bodyweight in the deadlift, and just for some real inspiration – the current world record is over 1000 lbs!
But wait, there’s more! The deadlift can also aid in cardiovascular training. Try doing a set of 20-30 deadlifts with around 50% of your one rep max and see how hard it is, most people afterward will be gasping for breath. For this reason the deadlift does require a certain level of fitness to do, especially when doing the higher rep ranges. So not only will the deadlift promote all round growth, it will also improve your cardio fitness.
Whilst the deadlift is a fantastic movement it can also be dangerous if not done correctly. The key factor to remember is to always keep your back straight no matter. To begin with start light and work your way up, have a mirror nearby or get a friend to check your form to ensure that your back is kept straight. If you are having trouble doing this you might want to try the sumo stance (legs far apart) as a lot of people find this helps to straighten their back out.