Any strength training program should have an element of deadlifting.
The back-to-basics deadlift enhances the overall strength of multiple muscle groups to enable you to lift more weight and make gains in the gym.
But the deadlift can do more than this.
The truth is that the deadlift is a true all-rounder movement with many benefits. From strengthening the upper body, to building those hamstrings and stimulating the release of primary muscle-building anabolic hormones. Deadlifts are good indeed.
In this article, we will explore the benefits of deadlifting, how safe they are and the different variations you can include in your workout.
Benefits of Deadlifts For Your Training
Deadlift is good for an awful lot of things in the gym. I’ve been deadlifting for way over a decade now and it’s one of my favourite movements to do in the gym. Firstly because it’s fun to lift heavy things off the floor, and secondly for the benefits it brings to your body, and in turn your mental health.
By incorporating deadlifts into your fitness regime, you’ll actually be accessing multiple benefits you probably didn’t realise you’d be tapping into.
Here are 6 of the main benefits you get from deadlifts.
1. Builds Major Muscle Groups
There’s nothing better for building muscle fast than compound exercises. These are moves that involve multiple muscle groups at the same time.
At the top of the compound exercise tree in terms of effectiveness is the deadlift. Simply put, the deadlift is lifting up a weight from the ground to your hips. However, to do this involves multiple muscles, including all of your back, your glutes, hamstrings, biceps, shoulders and more.
If you want to build muscle mass, big movements with big weights are highly effective. This is why the deadlift is an excellent exercise if you want to make gains and create a sturdy, thick but chiseled body. You can read up on more heavy deadlift benefits here.
2. Reduces Lower Back Injuries
There are a variety of reasons that might have lower back pain or injuries. Sitting down all day at the computer and not getting your steps in are factors that will upset your posture.
Evidence-based strength training research suggests that a deadlift helps with low back pain benefits when performed correctly.
However, there is a thin line here. You must implement deadlifts with proper form and technique or risk hurting your back – I’ve been there and it’s not fun. A good idea to reduce lower back injuries is to decrease the weight and just go through the proper deadlift movement. Build it up over time to help strengthen your lower back gradually.
3. Strengthens the Posterior Chain
Linked to the above is strengthening your posterior chain.
The posterior chain is the name for the collection of muscles that run the full length of the backside of your body – think from the back of your neck all the way down to your heels. Big muscles in the posterior chain include your lats, traps, posterior deltoids, lower back, hamstring and calves.
This chain is key for lifting correctly and with power. The deadlift is one of the best exercises for strengthening the posterior chain as it hits almost every muscle alongside the backside of your body. This will benefit all your other lifts.
4. Improve Entire Body Posture
Imbalances in your body aren’t good. It’s common to prefer training one muscle group over another, but if this is done consistently over time you’re going to create an uneven body.
This can also lead to several other complications, from slouched shoulders to underdeveloped calves or glute muscles.
The deadlift is an excellent compound exercise that improves body posture through the strengthening of your muscles. It’s also one of the best exercises for building core strength, which is essential for your posture. The deadlift will help building that imaginary steel pole running throughout your body to give you great posture and confidence.
As the deadlift is a functional, natural movement, you’ll be working muscles together that are supposed to be worked together – humans have been picking heavy things off the floor for thousands of years!
5. Boosts Hormone levels
Deadlifts can be very good for boosting your muscle growing hormones.
Studies show that performing 8-10 reps of the deadlift with increasing weight, can significantly elevate your anabolic hormone levels.
So, how is a sudden boost of hormones good for you? Well, the hormones that experience this particular boost are testosterone and growth hormone.
The growth hormone produced by the pituitary gland helps promote tissue healing, maintenance and bone strength. At the same time, testosterone boosts muscle growth, fat loss, lean mass, muscle growth and muscle repair.
6. Improves Explosive Power
Activities like running and jumping require good lower body strength. Lower body strength training exercises, such as deadlifts, can help develop key muscles like your quads, hamstrings and glutes.
Research also shows that heavy deadlifts can promote vertical jump performance. This is a good attribute to have if you play sports as well as going to the gym. The ability to jump higher is akin to more explosive and dynamic power, so if you play sports such as football, rugby, basketball and more, you’ll be benefiting.
7. Helps your mental health
People don’t necessarily associate lifting weights with good mental health. However, ask any honest seasoned gym goer who’s been at it for years and they’ll tell you one of the reasons they hit the gym is to make them feel good mentally. It’s certainly one of the reasons I go.
Deadlifts are great for releasing feel-good hormones, but really all resistance training and weight lifting benefits your mental health. It’s to do with muscle fibres firing, blood movement increasing and hormones being released.
8. Burns calories!
With big movements building big muscles, they also burn big calories! The basic premise is this: the more muscles involved in a movement, the more energy (and therefore calories) you’re going to use.
I don’t know about you, but doing a set of 10 deadlifts with a reasonable weight and I’m gassing for air by the end. Maybe I need to work on my cardio?!
There’s no doubt that deadlift increases your heart rate, and in turn your cardio endurance. This is all part of how resistance training can boost metabolism and get you in excellent shape.
Are Deadlifts Safe?
Deadlifts have several benefits, from building bigger muscles to improving your entire body posture.
However, it can be risky if not done with the proper technique. So if you are new to this, get some help from a personal trainer or experienced weight lifter first.
So yes, deadlifts are safe but there is a slight element of risk as with other movements and athletic performances.
You can read much more on are deadlifts bad for you here.
The Verdict On What Deadlifts Are Good For
Deadlift is one of the ultimate movements in the gym. It can help you get the physique you’ve always wanted whilst bering many other benefits to your lifting game.
The deadlift has various benefits from improving strength, building muscle, helping with mental health and even burning through the calories!
So yes, deadlifting is a great go-to exercise.