Are Deadlifts Worth It to Get Strong and Build Muscle?

The deadlift is the holy grail of full-body exercises. Is it worth it? Absolutely!

Deadlifting is optimal for muscle growth as it hits multiple muscle groups at the same time. 

There are various deadlift variations you can do to gain muscle mass. These include the Romanian deadlift, trap bar deadlifts, sumo deadlifts, and conventional deadlifts. Conventional deadlifts are the most repped variation in this category, followed by Romanian and sumo deadlifts.

Many powerlifters and gym-goers deadlift to improve their strength. This article will discuss if deadlifts are worth it and some of their variations. So let’s get into it!

How are Deadlifts Beneficial for Muscle Growth?

person performing conventional deadlift

Deadlifts are great for building muscle. To let deadlifts work their magic for you, it’s best to incorporate them into your strength training plan and apply progressive overload across a number of weeks and months to increase your overall strength.

If you’re wondering about how much you should be lifting, check out these deadlift standards.

Let’s look at how deadlifts benefit you.

1. Deadlifts Train Multiple Muscle Groups at The Same Time.

Even though many people believe that deadlift only strengthens your lower chain, they also train the upper half of your body. They work your lower and upper back immensely. This is in part because your core is required to support your spine while you lift the weight from the ground. All back muscles are recruited during this lift. 

It also helps you build more muscle by targeting your biceps and forearms, helping you to increase your grip strength. The trap bar deadlift is an excellent alternative to a conventional deadlift because it engages both your core and shoulders throughout the entire lift, whilst putting left pressure on your lower back.

2. Deadlifts Can Increase Leg Gains

person performing deadlift on platform

Deadlifts work your lower body, especially your glutes, quads, and particularly your hamstring. Hamstrings are sometimes taken for granted, but build them up and the result is powerful thick legs. This is similar to the way that your triceps make up the bulk of your upper arm thickness! Deadlifts are great for building leg muscle as they engage your entire lower body.

As per this study, participants who practiced deadlifts three times a week for twelve weeks enhanced the strength of their lumbar chain while increasing flexibility in knee flexion and extension. The deadlift targets the quads and hamstring, resulting in improved leg gains.

3. It Prevents Your Back From Getting Injured

Maintaining a healthy lower back is essential as we age. Many people suffer from lower back problems due to their weak core strength, heavy body weight, and leading a sedentary lifestyle. 

Performing deadlifts and incorporating them in your resistance training routine will help reduce lower back stiffness and help prevent it from returning. Many think deadlifts are bad for you and will harm their lower back, but by maintaining proper form and a neutral spine while performing the exercise, you’ll reap the benefits. 

Rounding your lower back is the most common cause of deadlift injuries and increases your chances of long-term hip and spine damage.

As per strength researchers, deadlift training may help reduce pain and impairment in particular people with low back pain.

Deadlifts are a practical weightlifting move as they aid you in performing various everyday chores. Practicing a good range of motion reduces your risks of hurting yourself while carrying heavy goods, moving furniture, and lifting heavy shopping bags from the floor! 

From a muscle-building perspective, a conventional deadlift is the full-body deadlift variation. This exercise strengthens your muscles and prevents muscular imbalances while working out both your upper and lower body.

Tip: Couple your deadlifts with a few chin-ups/pull-ups and barbell rows to get a giant back!

4. Increases Athletic Performance

Solid core strength is a good base for any sportsman – the deadlift is one of the best exercises for developing that. 

The deadlift focuses on developing the spinal erector muscles, hips, quads, glutes, and hamstring muscles. It also strengthens the pelvic hinge, a typical movement in many sports, including rugby, American football, and athletics. 

A strong core will help achieve better mobility, improving the athlete’s overall durability. 

According to studies, deadlifting is a valuable progression technique for Olympian lifters. They improve athletes’ explosive power and strength to help them thrive in competitive events.

Different Variations of Deadlifts

man doing a deadlift

Based on your goals, you can incorporate a variety of deadlift variations into your training program.

All of them activate similar muscular groups in your lower body to a lesser or greater extent. The deadlift strengthens the spine, shoulders, quadriceps, glutes, and hamstring — but some variations focus on one muscle group more than others.

1. Romanian Deadlift

Romanian deadlifts, straight leg deadlifts or simply RDLS are executed with a complete hip hinge and straight legs. As with other traditional deadlifts, bend your knees slightly to avoid unnecessary damage and pressure to your ACL.

It works your hamstrings the best and relieves tension from the lower back. Most personal trainers recommend this exercise for people who lack hip mobility.

I like to RDL with weight-lifting chalk to help take any moisture and sweaty grip out of the occasion.

2. Trap Bar Deadlift

If you have back problems or low hip flexibility issues, you should attempt deadlifts on a trap bar.

Instead of using the barbell, which puts you in danger of overstretching your hips, the hexagonal bar helps you balance your body better and correct your hips.

Furthermore, trap bar deadlifts emphasize your frontal chain — quads — more than traditional deadlifts. Lifting heavy on a trap bar can also activate the muscle fibers on your rear delts.

Aside from deadlifts, you can do many other exercises to train your entire body using the trap bar. Start with less weight and work your way up to achieve more muscle growth.

3. Conventional Deadlift

The traditional deadlift can work your back and pelvis more than other deadlift variants. Because of the narrow stance, you have to engage your spine, flexor serratus, and external rotators more than other muscle groups. 

This also allows you to train heavy and move more weight. You can also incorporate this deadlift in your muscle hypertrophy program for a solid set of hamstrings and a strong lower back. 

Try to wear a belt and always maintain proper form when lifting heavyweights.

Wrap up on are deadlifts worth it?

The deadlift is one of the best compound movements. It trains nearly every muscle in your body, from your entire posterior chain to your lower back. So there’s no point in avoiding such a great movement. 

It would be best to lift as much weight as possible while maintaining proper form.

If you are trying to lose fat, try to incorporate light cardio with your deadlift to see the best results. If your primary goal is to build muscle and gain strength in other lifts, then deadlift is the way to go. 

Happy deadlifting, folks!