Feel your entire body ache after a deadlift session? Seeing stars in between sets? Don’t worry this is common when deadlifting and this post will explain.
Why Are Deadlifts So Exhausting?
Deadlifts are a full body workout that utilize your back muscles, entire legs, core, & your biceps. A lot of weight can loaded up on the bar, which will fatigue you even further.
What Muscles Are Worked During The Deadlift?
Being a compound exercise, the deadlift works many muscle groups, which is why it leaves you feeling so tired. Your hamstrings play a big role in driving the weight from the floor, as well as your quads. Your glutes extend the hips, which work at the end of the movement to get the bar tight against you. Your back and core are braced throughout the entire movement keeping your body stable. Your entire back is engaged while deadlifting.
The lower back helps you hinge the weight up and at the top of the movement your entire back is holding the weight. Your traps also get a huge workout as they help your body hold the weight up and also help support shoulder position. Your core also stabilizes your body and is worked greatly during the deadlift. Your biceps also get slighty worked as they are helping hold the bar. It should be clear now why you are so tired after deadlifting.
Perform The Deadlift Safely
I’m always a huge advocate of proper form and using lighter weight when learning a movement. Working out is very dangerous and you can seriously injure yourself if you’re not using correct form and weight. I don’t want to see you guys get hurt! But I do want you to achieve the physique goals you desire, so follow these tips.
First off, there are two different ways to perform the deadlift. Conventional and sumo. When pulling conventional, your feet are shoulder width apart and your grip on the bar is just outside your legs. You are also working your lower back and hamstrings slighty more. For sumo, your feet are in a wide stance and your arms are inside your legs, working more of your quads and glutes.
Which one do I choose?? A common question from lifters who want to try the deadlift is which type to choose and what is more beneficial for them. My answer is to do both. Do one for a month then switch to the other. This ensures that you are fully working all of your back and legs muscles in different ways and that you can build strength with both lifts. Many people strictly choose one or the other and that is fine too. However, by doing both you are getting the best of both worlds and reaping more benefits.
Back to proper form. The form is mainly similar for both styles. Your head and chest should be pressed up and out. You want to pin your shoulders back while squeezing your back muscles and pushing the bar off the floor with your feet. The barbell should be kept as close to the body as possible as it raises off the ground. Don’t lift your hips before the bar leaves the ground.
When doing a conventional deadlift, your toes should be pointed forward. While doing sumo, they should be pointed out towards the weights on the end of the bar. It’s important to engage your hips and really thrust them into the bar as you lift up. Think of yourself pushing the floor away with your feet rather than lifting the weight up.
This will allow you to incorporate your legs more and give you more drive to get the bar off the ground. One of the most important points is to have your back straight and not rounded. When the bar is above your knees, thrust forward squeezing your glutes and back. This will help with finishing the movement.
The deadlift is the compound movement where most people can lift their heaviest weight out of any exercise. This means there is a great potential for strength and muscle. However, it also makes it very dangerous which is why proper form is crucial.
Should you wear a lifting belt while deadlifting? I always recommend a lifting belt as it can help prevent from injury. I would first say that getting down form is more important. If your back is rounded, a belt will not prevent you from hurting it. If you have good form and you are going heavy, it is a great idea to try a belt.
A belt works by giving you a surface to brace your stomach into. This helps maintain your spine and prevent your back from rounding. A belt takes away from the core muscle during the lift, so I don’t recommend using one all the time if you want to strengthen your core. Just use the belt when you’re doing your heavy sets and are worried about injury.
A great rule I like to follow is that if you’re lifting 80 percent of your one-rep-max, you should have your belt on. Looking for a good belt to keep you safe for a reasonable price? “>Check this one out.
What about lifting straps? Chalk? Lifting straps are attached to your wrist and wrapped around the bar to help with grip. Have your ever got to the point where your hands are sweaty and your grip is failing as your forearms burn? Your grip strength may fail before your leg and back muscles do, meaning that you don’t get to work them as much as you could have.
Lifting straps and chalk prevent this. They give you added grip strength, allowing you to continue lifting. Chalk works similarly as it reduces your hands from sweating and allows you a better grip on the bar. Many gyms don’t appreciate having chalk battered all over their floor which is why I would suggest getting a set of straps.
They are very cheap and will provide you some extra deadlift gains! Similar to using a belt, don’t use them all of them time! They will actually prevent you from improving your grip strength if used all the time. You want to have a strong grip and forearms, so only use them near the end of the session when you notice your grip failing.
This video will give you further tips on your form during the exercise.
Is The Deadlift Worth Doing?
Let’s discuss the benefits of deadlifting. As already mentioned, it works a ton of different muscles, which is why it is so exhausting. Compared to an exercise that only works one or two muscles, the deadlift will leave you feeling a lot more drained. This means you can build different muscle groups at once just by doing one exercise.
Also, a lot of weight can be packed on the bar, leading to a lot of muscle breakdown and therefore; greater muscle growth. Strengthening multiple muscles will allow you to be stronger on a lot of other lifts. Again, leading to more overall muscle gain.
Deadlifting can also improve posture which is a problem for many people nowadays. It also helps with your grip strength as you’re holding on as tight as possible to the bar. Grip strength can assist in a wide variety of other exercises and even tasks in everyday life.
Deadlifting will give you a big, aesthetically pleasing back. It works your ENTIRE back, not to mention the added leg workout. This right here is a huge reason for many people to deadlift.
The injury possibilities of the deadlift should be taken into account. If your form is slightly off and you’re lifting 300 pounds, you can seriously hurt yourself. This is why I harp on proper form so much. And use only a weight that you can control.
If you can’t slowly put the bar back down on the floor without smashing it and causing the whole gym to stare, maybe you should lower the weight. In my opinion and many others, the deadlift is worth the risks.
Follow the safety procedures in this article and start with low weight and slowly improve your form. In a couple months your form will be down, and you can start pulling impressive one rep maxes and you’ll be noticing huge muscle gains.
What’d you think of the article? Agree? Disagree? Let me know how your deadlift progression is going or if you learned something!