Article from TheDeadlift.com
The Physical Benefits of Deadlifting
Why Deadlift? To us asking that is akin to asking Why Breathe? The Deadlift is one of the most ancient, fundamental and just flat out alpha lifts out there. In no other lift do you raise hundreds of pounds of weight off the ground with your bare hands. There’s really something magical about the Deadlift. You just don’t feel the same amount of confidence and joy doing Squats or Bench Pressing as you do while Deadlifting. There’s a reason so many people look forward to Deadlift day.
What Muscles Does The Deadlift Work?
The primary of deadlifting are increased strength and muscle mass. Since the deadlift is a compound movement it utilizes nearly every major muscle of your body:
• Spinal Erectors
• Lower Back
• Middle and Upper Trapezius
• Abdominals and Obliques
So doing one deadlift is almost like doing In a leg presses, aback extension, lying leg curls, an abdominal crunch, a gripping exercise, a straight-arm pull down and a shrug all at the same time. Yep, its one hell of a compound lift.
Another great reason for deadlifting is testosterone and growth hormone release. Studies have shown that compound lifts like the deadlift use the most muscle groups and thus release the most of these 2 crucial chemical compounds.
Still not fully convinced by the glory of the Deadlift? Listen to Johnnie Jackson, IFBB Pro and one of the strongest bodybuilders in the world.
Other Deadlifting Benefits
• Deadlifting helps to increase stability control. While using machines to train muscles will isolate and target only a specific few muscle groups, the deadlift also involves supplementary and minor muscles called stabilizer muscles that are usually ignored by the mainstream. The lack of training of these stabilizer muscles will lead to imbalances and can lead a person to be more susceptible to injury and unsymmetrical physique.
• Another huge benefit from deadlifting is increased grip strength. Since the deadlift is one of the few exercises where you must manually hold hundreds of pounds of weight, it is one of the best exercises for increasing grip strength and strengthening the forearms. Increased grip strength will then aid to improve other lifts like the bench press.
• Deadlifting is also one the few exercises out there with real world application. Pickup weights off the ground is something we’ve been doing for millennia and is exactly what the deadlift trains the body to do.
• If performed correctly the deadlift also strengthens the spine and can lead to better posture. People with lordosis or excessive curving of the spine can benefit from the deadlift as it will help fix their posture by strengthening their lower back muscles, as well as the core, and by ironing out any lower back imbalances.
• Cardio. The only two exercises to really make someone light headed are Deadlifts and Squats. Deadlifting really taxes your cardiovascular system, as you already know, or will soon find out. (Pro tip: Make sure you have somewhere to sit down after deadlifting).
Some uneducated people and crappy gyms (AKA Planet Fitness) will try and tell you the Deadlift is not a good exercise, and that it’s dangerous, and that you shouldn’t do it. That’s not true at all. Driving a car is dangerous, yet we still do it. Why? Because we learn how to do it first. So read up on Deadlifting Form before you go out there and do a clean set of 5.
Article from TheDeadlift.com
- Take a stance roughly heels in line with hips – Alternatively think about doing a vertical jump, this varies with course but it is a guide.
- Toes should be slightly turned out. Not as much as the squat but definitely not parallel. Bar is just in front of your shins whilst standing.
- Bend down and grip the bar, your arms should hang vertically (so a shoulder width grip). You can use an alternating or hook (thumbs under fingers) grip, as the bar gets heavier, but if you want to improve your grip strength try and use a double overhand grip as long as possible. In this position your shins should now be touching the bar.
Deadlift Overhand & Alternating Grip
- Take a deep breath, squeeze shoulders together and lift chest, pushing bottom back. Your lower back should remain either static or slightly arched throughout the lift, don’t let it round!
Good Vs Bad Back Position
- Squeeze the pressure into the bar and sit back into your heels till you feel like you’re about to fall backwards, then lift, keeping the bar as close to the body as you can.
- As soon as the bar passes your knees, drive your hips forward to complete the lift (lockout), squeezing the glutes hard. Do not lockout by leaning back at the top!
Good Vs Bad Lockout Position
- Return the bar to the floor along the same path, don’t drop it! If you have exhaled at the top, take another breath and hold as you lower. Most deadlift injuries occur on the lowering as people tend to relax and drop the bar down, jerking the lower back, or with poor back position at the start of the lift.
- At the end of each lift, re-set your position before taking another breath and lifting again. As soon as you feel your lower back starting to round or can’t lockout the set is over.
The use of weightlifting belts used to be limited to Olympic lifters and Powerlifting, however in recent years they have become much more widespread and now even people completely new to lifting are using them. Are they really necessary? And if so, what are the correct uses and are there any dangers?
Belts serve two main purposes. They reduce stress on the lower back when lifting in an upright position and help to prevent hyperextension when pressing overhead. A lot of people assume that the belt supports their back, however the actual point of the belt is to increase intra-abdominal pressure which help stabilise the abdomen. For this purpose the best one is a powerlifting type belt which is the same width all the way round. If you are using a belt with a thinner front section, my advice would be to wear it backwards so you can use it as intended.
How to wear it – The correct placing of the belt varies from person to person depending on their own body structure, but as a guide it should be worn around the small of your back and lower abdomen. You want it fairly low, but not so it pushes into your hips/pelvis at the bottom of a squat or deadlift. You want it fairly tight, but as your aiming to push your abs into it, my recommendation is to go for one notch looser than full tightness. This will also make it easier to remove after your set!
How to use it – In order to increase the intra-abdominal pressure, it is important to use the Valsava maneuver. Take a big breath into your belly (not diaphragm/chest), and push your stomach as hard as possible into the belt. Imagine your trying to blow out as hard as possible but with a closed mouth/throat. This pressure against the belt will then provide support around the whole midsection and feel nice and stable. If your belt is done up too tight (see previous point), you will struggle to get a big enough gulp of air into your belly as it’s already being restricted.
When to use it – I personally don’t advise using a belt for every exercise or even for every set of the big lifts. In order to increase your own core stability, you need your lower back and abs to function normally. Try and save the use of the belt for max effort sets only. Correctly performed squats, deadlifts, etc .. work your abdomen and lower back harder than any specific core-type training, especially under heavy load so do yourself a favour, skip the sit-ups and practice your main lifts. I’m not saying you shouldn’t train your abs, but remember the main purpose of your core is to stabilise the spine. When under load this is an absolute necessity, if you use a belt every set, you won’t increase your own strength & stability around the middle and may be more at risk of injury due to muscular imbalances. On top of that, when you do decide to lift without one, you will feel very weak and unstable.
Pro’s of belt use:
- Increased intra-abdominal pressure (IAP) to support spine
- Prevent hyper-extension of the lumbar spine
- Increased stability during main lifts
- Allows heavier weights to be used
- Reduced spinal shrinkage (lower back compression) due to increased IAP
Con’s of belt use:
- Inhibited motor recruitment patterns
- Increased blood pressure
- Injuries can be more severe – due in part to heavier loads being used
- Will not make up for bad technique
- Weaker core (if used excessively)
These are just some pro’s and con’s, if you are interested in a more in-depth study have a read of Stuart McGill’s review here.
In summary, belts are not necessary for most types of weight training in which the spinal erectors don’t work against heavy resistance – i.e. machine work or isolation exercises like bicep curls or lat raises. They can be used for heavy compound lifts, but I recommend only on max effort sets. Anyone with blood pressure problems or heart conditions should use them sparingly, if at all.
Most importantly – Do some research! don’t just throw on a belt because your mate/training partner tells you to, or you’ve read it in some forum somewhere. Read up on what they’re for and why to use them!