What does a deadlift do? And how to do it correctly.

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When it comes to weight lifting exercises, few are as popular as the deadlift. Trailing only behind push-ups and squats, according to One reportThe deadlift has long been a favorite of fitness trainers and bodybuilders alike.

Today, this exercise is also growing in popularity among casual gym-goers, in part because the deadlift is a great way to target a different muscle group when taking a break from cardio, arm, abdominal or chest exercises. “The deadlift is an effective exercise that can be incorporated into your workout routines,” he says. Emily Skyecertified personal trainer and founder of Emily Skye FIT.

Although exercise has many known benefits, experts warn that proper form is essential not only to target the correct muscle groups but also to avoid injury or strain.

What is a deadlift?

The deadlift is a multi-joint weight training movement that works the upper and lower body. It’s “a great compound exercise because it targets multiple major muscle groups at once,” he says. Kayla Itsinescertified personal trainer, fitness author, and co-founder of the fitness app SWEAT.

In addition to training a variety of muscle groups, deadlifts also help enhance grip strength, increase endurance for additional weight lifting exercises including resistance training, and improve strength, mobility and flexibility in everyday movements such as lifting and carrying small children, transporting groceries or… supplies, or lifting anything heavy off the ground.

How to do a proper deadlift?

Performing a deadlift correctly is thought to be more technical than other weightlifting exercises, making correct posture and form a must.

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Although there are different variations of the exercise, proper deadlift form and technique include:

  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart and your toes under the middle of your foot Iron. “The tape should be approximately above the shoelace,” explains Itsines.
  • Keeping your back straight, “bend at the hips and knees to grip the barbell with an overhand grip, meaning your palms are facing your body,” she says. Your arms should be directly outside your knees.
  • In this starting position, pull your shoulder blades down and back “to push your chest out slightly and prevent your spine from bending,” Itsines advises. She says it’s also best to keep your eyes forward rather than looking down at the bar in order to protect your neck and maintain optimal posture.
  • Using your glutes and hamstrings, push evenly through your feet to lift the bar off the floor and extend your hips and knees until you stand straight with the bar in front of your hips. “Keep your chest out and your neck in a neutral position throughout the lift to avoid any rounding of the back,” Itsines says. It’s also important not to overextend or lean back once you’re holding the bar in front of you.
  • Finally, bend at the hips to lower the bar toward the floor. “If you’re using an Olympic barbell with plates, you’ll touch the bar to the floor before starting another rep. If you’re using the bar alone, a lighter pump bar or dumbbells, you can lower the bar to your shins before starting another rep,” Itsines offers.
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In addition to using proper form, Skye recommends warming up properly and not doing too many reps at a time. “Deadlifts cause rapid fatigue, and a large repetition range can put you at greater risk for injury,” she says. She also cautions against leaving the bar away from your body during each lift. “The further away the bar is from your legs and thighs, the more stress it puts on your back,” she says. She cautions against lifting too much weight at one time.

What muscles does the deadlift work?

By practicing correct form and technique in this way, the exercise is known to target and strengthen a range of muscle groups. Loren Fishman, MD, professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation at Columbia University, explains that deadlifts work the glutes (butt), the hamstrings in the back of the thighs, and a wide muscle layer located on the lateral sides of the abdominal wall called the transverse abdominal muscles. Or basic. “Other muscles that are used when performing a deadlift are the erector quadriceps and quadratus lumborum — the large muscle groups along the back, and the trapezius muscle that runs across your shoulders and the base of your neck,” he explains.

The exercise also strengthens the arm and hand muscles.

When using proper deadlift form, one should feel strengthened in each of these areas without causing back pain or strain. “Proper deadlifting is a skill,” says Christina Thomas, a physical therapist at Intermountain Health in Salt Lake City, and sometimes specialized equipment may be helpful or recommended as well. If you’re not sure you’re doing the exercise correctly, “it may be wise to seek professional help.”

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