If you’ve worked out with me, you know the deadlift is my FAV exercise.
Some call it the King of all exercises. I always call it, a “butt lift without the plastic surgery”.
You’d have a hard time arguing that the deadlift isn’t the most fun and most important exercise in the gym. Think about it.
• Lift a ton of weight.
• Build a great behind.
• Reduce your risk of back pain or any other
pain for that matter.
• Increase your grip strength.
• Lift your butt without plastic surgery. Yeah baby!
But where did the name come from? “Deadlift” is a pretty scary term and there’s a funny story behind the name. Please keep in mind that this is anecdotal and I’ve no idea where it came from:
In Ancient Rome…
In Ancient Rome a general was having a serious problem. After a battle they would have all the young soldiers go and pick up the bodies. All of them were getting injured and the general’s army was decreasing in size at an alarming rate.
What he did next was ingenious. He taught proper lifting technique and, once he did, injuries to his soldiers went down.
The technique that he taught gained the name “deadlift” which literally comes from a movement taught to lift dead bodies off of the battlefield.
As a side note, a nice way to quickly discern how brutal and effective an exercise is going to be is to look at the name.
If there’s a former Soviet union country or Russian sounding name as part of the exercise you can rest assured that it’ll be brutally effective.
• Bulgarian Split Squat for the lower body (great glute builder if you give it a small forward lean!)
• Romanian Deadlift for the lower body (an exercise that should be a part of almost every program in my opinion).
• Zercher Squat for the entire posterior chain (an under used and super effective leg and core developer)
• Palloff Press for the core (a fantastic move to train the abs most powerful function — anti-rotation)
• Zottman Curls for the biceps (arguably the most effective way to curl)
(If you don’t know any of these exercises, YouTube them. Every one should be added to your exercise library. They’re all highly effective.)
But I digress …
Back to the deadlift
An article from the PTDC listed 55 ways the deadlifts were awesome. In my opinion, these are the top 20 reasons the deadlift is the best exercise. The reasons will make you laugh but you’ll also likely learn a few things about the exercise.
- Back pain can stem from weak glutes.
- Back pain can also come from weak spinal erectors that cannot maintain a specific position. Deadlifts train the spine to remain stable while exposed to stupidly high shear forces, and thus making you Superman or Wonder Woman.
- Chicks dig guys with strong powerful glutes.
- Guys dig chicks with strong powerful glutes.
- (Some) guys dig guys with strong powerful glutes.
- (Way more) chicks dig chicks with strong powerful glutes.
- Deadlifts are a total body exercise, from head to toe.
- Squats don’t have the same effect on the scapula and rotator cuff in terms of their stability and ability to withstand distraction forces. This makes deadlifting a great rotator cuff exercise, while requiring a lot from the lower body.
- The most enjoyable things in life require triple extension from the hips, knees, and ankles. In the most pure form, we could say deadlifts are Darwinian, rewarding those who have exceeded in developing strong hip extension capacity.
- The endorphin release from one rep of deadlifts is on par with runner’s high, meaning you can get the same fix with 1/100 the amount of time investment, and you can wear way cooler clothes too.
- Every athlete can improve at almost every dimension of their sport by becoming better at deadlifting.
- If you’re a guy who has trouble adding muscle, heavy deadlifts will help you out due to the testosterone and growth hormone alterations, which play on muscle hypertrophy.
- Sorry ladies, you don’t have enough testosterone to get big from doing heavy deadlifts alone. Female bodybuilders need a lot more than heavy deadlifts to gain size.
- Marathon runners need to do deadlifts to develop a kick and to improve velocity, efficiency, stride length, and sprinting power, all things important to running fast and to make your body more efficient.
- Biceps are incredibly active during deadlifts, as they keep your elbow from distracting itself apart, and provide anterior shoulder stability. If you want arms, lift something heavy.
- The development of intra-abdominal pressure helps train pelvic floor muscles and stimulate the colon to produce peristaltic wave contractions, which helps you to poop.
- Power and strength are the two defining characteristics that, when lost, determine function on old age. Losing power and strength limits your ability to do everything, from standing and sitting on the toilet to getting in and out of a car, to climbing stairs, and even breathing. Heavy deadlifts, when done properly, can help retain and even gain strength and power through the entire body, which improves functional outcome measures in old age, which promotes independence.
- Contrary to popular belief, heavy deadlifts are not bad for your low back. Piss-poor deadlifts, be they heavy or light, are demonstrably destructive to your low back. Proper form is key as with any exercise.
- Lifting heavy weights through a stable and static base of support lets the core muscles work a lot harder and become more stable than any unstable surface could ever hope for.
- Crunches can’t work the entire core the way deadlifts can, nor can you ever look cool doing them. Also, you’re not relegated to the corner of the gym to do them. You get to hang out in the cool kids area.
Time to go lift something heavy.
Stay peachy my friends.