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What Muscles Does Deadlift Work?

Written by:

Obi Obadike

Obi Obadike

Celebrity Fitness & Nutrition Expert, CFT, SFN, M.S. Founder & CEO – Ethical Inc.
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What muscles does deadlift work? A deadlift targets several muscle groups such as your hamstrings, hips, core, back, glutes and trapezius muscle.  In fact, there is a study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research where it was revealed that the deadlift exercise was better at targeting the glutes more so than the squat.

 It is a strength training compound exercise movement that uses a barbell primarily. But you can also additionally use dumbbells and resistance bands too.

 How to execute a barbell deadlift is by picking up the barbell while making sure your back are flat and doesn’t roll.  And then use your hips to push back to execute the movement.

The most important thing when trying to perform a deadlift exercise is executing it with good form. If your form isn’t good, it can negatively impact any benefit you potentially can receive from that exercise. And bad form can make you prone to a variety of different of injuries from the exercise.

If you plan on implementing deadlift exercises in your fitness routine, it is best to do it no more than 2 to 3 times a week. You can do a deadlift with the following equipment: barbell, dumbbells or even resistance bands.

What Muscles Does Deadlift Work? photo credit: iStock Milanmarkovic

A full description on how to perform a conventional deadlift.

  • Stand behind the barbell with your feet shoulder/hip width apart.
  • Keep your chest high while sinking back to your hips and while keeping your back straight. Bend forward and grip the barbell in an overhead grip.
  • While keeping a flat back push your hips forward into a standing position. Finish standing with your legs straight with your shoulders back and your knees almost locked out.
  • Return to the starting position while keeping your back straight. And pushing your hips back and bending your knees while squatting down until the bar is on the ground.

You should always try to aim for about 10 to 12 reps with moderate weight depending on your specific fitness goals. And moderate weight means 60 to 65% of your max 1 rep weight. It should be heavy enough that allows you to perform 10 to 12 reps at 3 to 4 sets.

Deadlifts isn’t the easiest exercise to do especially if you have never done it before. And if you have never done it before it is advisable to have a personal trainer show you the proper technique on how to do it. The personal trainer can show you how to do the exercise and then you can do the exercise. And then the trainer can watch you perform the exercise to make sure you are doing it correctly.

What Muscles Does Deadlift Work? Photo credit: iStock- Milanmarkovic

If you perform the deadlift exercise the wrong way you can injure your lower back and put an unnecessary strain through the vertebrae on your upper spine. That is why it is so important to have a high-quality fitness professional show you how to do the exercise the right way.

The most important demographic that should always incorporate weightlifting exercises in their regular exercise routine like deadlifting is older women. When women approach the age of 50 and start to reach menopause their estrogen levels drop. And when that happens, they are at high risk for osteoporosis and bone fractures.  So, weight-training and incorporating exercises like deadlifting will help increase bone mineral density for older women.

According to the (CDC)-Center for Disease Control about 36 million adults fall annually. And out of those falls there are about 32,000 deaths.

“If you perform the deadlift exercise the wrong way you can injure your lower back and put an unnecessary strain through the vertebrae on your upper spine. That is why it is so important to have a high-quality fitness professional show you how to do the exercise the right way.” Celebrity Fitness & Nutrition Expert Obi Obadike

The Bottom Line is Deadlifts is a great exercise to work the back, glutes, and hamstrings. Because it is a compound movement it targets multiple muscle groups at once. Deadlifts are a full body routine that helps facilitate muscle growth.

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References

  1. Hong AR, Kim SW. Effects of Resistance Exercise on Bone Health. Endocrinol Metab (Seoul). 2018 Dec;33(4):435-444. doi: 10.3803/EnM.2018.33.4.435. PMID: 30513557; PMCID: PMC6279907
  2. Center for Disease Control Keep on Your Feet—Preventing Older Adult Falls | CDC
  3. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research Hip and Knee Kinetics During a Back Squat and Deadlift : The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research (lww.com)

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