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Deadlifts - What They Really Do For You

Deadlifts are one of the three exercises used by power lifters in training and in competitions. The benefits of this compound movement make it one of the best overall body strengthening exercises you can do.

Technique for DEADLIFTS
Deadlift can be done with a barbell, dumbbell or kettlebell depending on the variation you are performing. Regardless of the type of weight, it will start on the floor. Your feet should be shoulder width apart of the basic lift and your toes pointed straight ahead or slightly outward. For a barbell, grip the bar a bit outside of shoulder width using an alternate grip - one hand overhand, one hand underhand. This will prevent the bar from "rolling" and losing your grip. Keep your back straight and your head up. The easiest way to do this is to look straight ahead at all times. Your core muscles should be kept tight to remain stable during the lift. In a controlled and fluid movement, lift the weight keeping your heels pushed into the floor. Stand all the way up and pull your shoulders back. Lower the weight slowly back to the floor.

HEAVY weight deadlifts
Heavier weight will have a bigger effect on your muscle development but should be done carefully. Increasing the weight too quickly when you have not perfected the technique can lead to muscle strains and lower back issues. Those with lower back problems can use variations that put less strain on their back like the Romanian deadlifts that have the weight only go to just below the knees. General recommendation: increase the weight slowly (10%) each week and stop if you feel strained to lift the current weight.

Benefits OF DEADLIFTs
As a compound movement, several muscle groups are involved. Glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps, as well as your core, back and shoulder muscles will all be involved to some extent. Most deadlift routines involve 2 - 6 sets with low reps. Sets and reps will change depending on the training goal of power, strength or endurance. Deadlifts are a great way of developing grip strength though some people do use wrist straps when the weight starts to climb to really heavy weights. The more you try to not use them, the better your grip strength will become.

Deadlift mimic some real life movements like lifting a box off of the floor. Learning to do deadlifts will help you to lift daily objects correctly without injury.

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