What Is Deadlifting Good For?

Medically Reviewed on 2/24/2021

Dead lift is a great exercise, especially if you want to achieve a sturdy back and good core.
Dead lift is a great exercise, especially if you want to achieve a sturdy back and good core.

Dead lift is a great exercise, especially if you want to achieve a sturdy back and good core. Dead lift and its variant workouts have diverse applications that cover improvement in health, physical performance, and rehabilitation such as:

  • Core body strengthening and muscle buildup: Dead lift strengthens many muscles of the body, especially the thigh muscles, both front and back. It can increase core strength and core stability. It engages the muscles that support your lower spine.
  • Improves physical fitness: Dead lift, squat, and bench press are basic exercises included in several training programs for physical fitness improvement, especially for athletes. They increase muscle strength in the lower limbs that is required for high vertical jump.
  • Reduces back pain: Recent studies have indicated that dead lift may be effective in lowering pain intensity for people who have mechanical low back pain (pain due to prolonged sitting or lying down). However, this must be done properly and under the supervision of a physiotherapist.
  • Improves posture: Dead lift trains most of the muscles in the legs, lower back, shoulder, hip, spine, and core. It increases the core stability and strength of these muscles. These muscles are responsible for your body posture that keep your shoulders, spine, and hips in alignment.
  • Self-guard against the injury: You will be able to prevent injuries while working out and have stronger joints, bones, and muscles.
  • Reduces belly fat: Dead lift can help burn belly fat because it involves core muscle strengthening.
  • Increases cardiovascular ability: If done at a high intensity (at least 10 reps), dead lift may increase endurance (cardiovascular stamina).

The only disadvantage of dead lift is that it can be particularly exhausting, especially for the lower back muscles.

How to perform dead lift?

Dead lift is a weight-training exercise in which a barbell or bar loaded with weights is lifted off the ground to the level of the hips keeping the torso perpendicular to the floor. It is then placed back on the ground without bending the torso. It is a powerlifting exercise such as squat and bench press. Engagement of your glutes (buttock muscles) at the end of this workout is important. Pushing your hips far forward or leaning back will not help. However, when you stand up, the bar should already be pressed against your quadriceps (quads/large front muscles of the thigh). This workout has different variants such as:

  • Stiff leg dead lift
  • Hexagonal bar dead lift
  • Romanian dead lift (RDL)
  • Sumo dead lift

What is the difference between squats and dead lifts?

Both exercises are good for the lower limb muscles and core, but dead lifts work better on your glutes (butts) and hamstrings (back of thigh) than squats. However, squats target your quadriceps (front of the thighs).

You can start with squats and gradually progress to dead lifts. Squats are gentler on the lower back muscles than dead lifts.


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Medically Reviewed on 2/24/2021
American Council of Exercise: https://www.acefitness.org/search/site-search-results/?searchsite=core&searchstring=deadlifting#gsc.tab=0&gsc.q=deadlifting&gsc.page=2

Choe KH, Coburn JW, Costa PB, Pamukoff DN. Hip and knee kinetics during a back squat and deadlift. J Strength Cond Res. 2018 Oct 17. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000002908. PMID: 30335723. DOI: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000002908

PLOS ONE: Martín-Fuentes I, Oliva-Lozano JM, Muyor JM. Electromyographic activity in deadlift exercise and its variants. A systematic review. PLOS ONE, 15(2), e0229507. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0229507