Understanding the Pros and Cons of Deadlift

Deadlifting is one of the most popular powerlifting exercises due to the involvement of multiple muscle groups at once. The movement has always been one that requires grit and unrivaled strength. Presently, the deadlifting record sits above one thousand pounds. Although deadlifting is a well-loved lift, it comes with both benefits and challenges.


Deadlifting comes with great grip strength, especially if you lift raw. Back, torso, and legs are all involved in the movement, meaning that a combination of muscle groups work together. The lift is one of the best hamstring and back builders that exists, to this day. The setup and drive phases include opportunities to engage virtually all parts of the back, and the explosive movement required to complete the lockout solidly engages legs. Lots of individuals report loving the movement purely due to the grit and brute strength it requires for lack of any starting momentum. Although the deadlift is a beloved movement, it does come with several considerations.


With all of that said, it becomes exceedingly easy to over-train a deadlift. The movement is hard on hips, knees, and even ankles at the same time, purely because of the amount of weight involved. Often, there is no real negative movement in a deadlift. Most people drop the weight close to the top rather than lowering it, which means less muscle engagement on the way down. Deadlifting means recovery time after the lift. Due to the benefit of engaging lots of muscle groups at once, they need some time to heal post-workout.

Additionally, a lot depends on stance. If you’re going for a traditional deadlift rather than a wider stance, it can be easier to slip a disc when you’re going for a PR. If you do decide to spread your legs further apart, the movement becomes more about legs than back. Sumo deadlifting may provide more engagement for hips, quads, glutes, and hamstrings as a way to lessen the impact on back.

The deadlift is a classic lift that provides the opportunity for serious growth with some additional considerations about form. If there is any chance that your knees or back will be sensitive to the movement, you might consider dropping weight and practicing impeccable form first, or changing the distance between feet. Conversely, you may refrain from deadlifting altogether until your joints are back in optimal condition. Listen to your body and take the time to learn how deadlifting works for you individually.

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