Deadlift: One Exercise Worth More than Seven Exercises

Deadlift is one of the best exercises that anybody can incorporate in their fitness program. To understand the benefits read below

Benefits: Deadlift is one of the most complete strength exercises, which targets your Back, Hamstrings, Quadriceps, Glutes, Abdominals, Trapezius and Forearms. As the image above shows a person performing a set of deadlifts will target more muscles than a person doing a set of Back Extension, Hip Extension, Leg Extension, Leg Curls, Crunches, Wrist Curls and Shrugs combined. Just think about how much time gets wasted in the gym.

Moreover, doing the exercises mentioned above separately, will not provide the functional benefit that deadlift will provide. To understand the functional benefit of deadlifts imagine two friends Ian and Derek. Derek deadlifts and Ian does all those other exercises. If they have to lift a heavy couch, Ian will have a much harder time in this activity compared to Derek. Deadlift is the movement that you need in everyday life such as lifting that couch from the ground. By doing deadlifts Derek has trained his muscles the coordination needed to perform this movement. Ian on the other hand trained his muscles individually so his muscles have not learned the coordination. Ironically Ian spent much more time in the gym as opposed to Derek and yet ends up being termed a sissy.

Note if Derek is doing the deadlifts at enough intensity, they also help him in strengthening that very important muscle of his body called heart. Since deadlifts engage so many muscle groups there is a great deal of cardio respiratory response needed to meet the oxygen demands of all those muscles. Do a set of heavy deadlifts and just see how your heart rate and breathing shoots up.

How to do Deadlifts: In very basic terms deadlift is the motion of safely picking up the bar from the floor to roughly your waist levels. The figure below shows how to perform it.

With the feet about shoulder width apart, bend over and grab the bar, which should be placed close to your feet. Keep your spine flat, which you can do by keeping your core tight. Pull your shoulders back and look in front. Now by pushing through your legs, start to pull the bar upwards while keeping the bar as close to your body as possible and standup. Following the same motion bring the bar down.

Why isn’t everybody doing it: The simple answer is that most people are scared of doing deadlifts.

Because of the number of muscles involved in this movement, this exercise is really exhausting. If you are the type who goes to the gym for mirror muscles, you are sure to get discouraged by the sheer intensity of this exercise.

The exercise has also recieved the bad reputation of being a back breaker. While deadlift does pose a risk of breaking your back if you are careless, if you know what you are doing, the results will be exactly the opposite. The basic rule for avoiding any injury while doing deadlifts is not to round your back. The problem is that the exercise becomes easier on rounding the back and so as we get tired or try to lift heavier weight we tend to round our back. The recommendation hence is to stop as soon as you feel that you are rounding your back. If you can follow this simple guideline, deadlift becomes one of the safest exercises, much safer than bench-press where if you fail the lift, that whole weight might choke you.

Bottom-line: If you are serious about building strength and muscle then incorporate deadlifts in your program.

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