What the squat does for the lower body the deadlift will do for the upper body.

People call the deadlift the king of upper body exercises.

The great thing about deadlift is that it is a functional strength exercises that represents how real world movements are carried out.


The deadlift trains the often neglected posterior chain to balance out the training done with the mirror muscles.

Like the squat the deadlift can be performed with a barbell, kettlebells and dumbbells and a trap bar.

It can also be done with low reps, moderate reps and high reps.

The deadlift can also be done with a double overhand grip, an under and over alternate grip.

It can be performed with a wide stance sumo style, stiff legged, bent legged with your feet close together.

There are many variations to the deadlift in terms of lifting style and equipment.

There are many opportunities to practice doing the deadlift.

If done correctly, the deadlift will benefit you immensely, if done incorrectly, the deadlift will injure you.

Benefits of doing the Deadlift

There are many benefits to doing the deadlift.  These are health related benefits and performance related benefits.

Health Related Benefits:

  • Develops additional lean tissue that will burn excess calories and reduce body fat.
  • Improves your posture using the correct technique and training the posterior chain.
  • Helps prevent lower back injury by developing stabilising strength in the core and lower back.
  • Releases the body’s own natural steroids and growth hormones.
  • Improves cardiovascular fitness by improving your ability to increase and use oxygen during exercise.
  • Helps to correct any muscle balances in the back caused by solely training the mirror muscles.

Performance Related Benefits:

  • Increases your grip strength.
  • Works multiple muscle groups such as the calves, quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, back and trapezius leading to more strength and muscle mass gained in a shorter period of time.
  • Develops functional strength that crosses over into other sports and physical activities.

Deadlift Technique

    • Wear flat shoes or use bare feet.
    • Walk up to the bar, your feet the width of your hips, keep your shins a distance of 3 – 4 inches away from the barbell.
    • Keep your back in a flat neutral position, pull your shoulders down, keep your head in a neutral position.
    • Crouch down to grip the bar.
    • In this case, use an alternate under and over grip on the bar.
    • Keep the arms straight.
    • Breathe in through the nose.
    • Exert force by transfering strength from the floor to the heels, calves, thighs, hamstrings, core, back and shoulders.
    • Breathe out through the mouth.
    • As the bar clears the knees and reaches the middle of the thigh, execute a hip extension and lock out the knees.
    • Crouch down to lower the bar back to the floor with control.

Deadlift Dos

  • Maintain a neutral position in your back at all times.
  • Keep the arms straight at all times.
  • Use the correct breathing patterns.
  • Keep the barbell as close to the body at all times.
  • Change your alternate under and over grips for both hands.

Deadlift Don'ts

  • Rounding of the back.
  • Shrugging your shoulders at the top of the lift.
  • Lifting the bar with bent arms.
  • Lifting the bar with momentum.
  • Hyper extending the lower back at the top of the movement.
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