The deadlift is an exercise which recruits a wide selection of upper and lower body muscle groups and is one of the three activities used in power lifting. Those interested in increasing body strength will likely include the deadlift, or a close variation, within their weight training routine. Bodybuilders may include the deadlift within their training routine due to the large number of muscles recruited during the exercise, which may prove useful during the off season when muscle building is the primarily goal and strength levels are at their highest.
The primary muscles worked during the deadlift include the hamstrings, quadriceps, glutes, forearms, trapezius, rhomboids and the core muscles. The deadlift can be performed with reduced movement in the legs, known as the stiff leg deadlift (SLDL). The stiff leg deadlift is commonly performed as a hamstring exercise, due to the increased stressed applied to the hamstrings in comparison to the regular deadlift variation. The exercise can be conducted with a barbell or with a pair of dumbbells. The dumbbells may allow for greater freedom of the exercise, which may prove beneficial for those new to the exercise.
Those focused on strength will likely use a lower repetition range than those aiming for muscle hypertrophy (growth). The deadlift is a sound practice for using greater loads, with many muscles recruited during the lift and relative ease at releasing the weight if the movement cannot be completed. The deadlift is one of the three exercises used in power lifting, where one repetition of the exercise is completed under standardized form using the most weight possible.
The deadlift is equally used as a strongman event, with the competitor having to complete as many repetitions as possible of a given weight. Bodybuilders may use the deadlift for exercising the back muscles, or for targeting the hamstrings (the stiff leg deadlift can be performed to shift stress onto the hamstrings). Bodybuilders will tend to use a repetition range which is more suited towards muscle growth, typically between eight and twelve repetitions.
Limited equipment is needed for the deadlift. The exercise can be performed with either a barbell or with a pair of dumbbells. Those using large poundages may seek to use proper matting to protect the ground from the large weight being used and dropped on the surface.
To perform the deadlift, stand with a barbell resting on the floor just in front of your feet so the bar is just over your toes. Have your feet shoulder width apart then squat down to grab it off the floor, now grasp the bar with each hand; either with your palms both facing in or one facing in and one facing out. This is just a matter of preference with the latter offering more security at the expense of feeling a bit awkward.
Now you need to stand up keeping your arms straight and bringing the barbell up directly in-front of you. Be careful not to bend your spine or to hit your knees on the way up. Hold for two seconds, then place it back down in the same way.
For additional help with your deadlift you should watch bodybuilding videos and be sure to train the surrounding muscles.