Table of Contents
The Benefits of Deadlifts for Body and Life Transformation
The benefits of deadlifts can transform your body, mind, and even your life. Deadlifts are one of the best health tips for your mind and body, because the deadlift works the major muscles of both your upper and lower body. Deadlifts can keep you lean, strong and functional no matter what your age. In addition, deadlifting is a powerful tool to develop your mental and physical fitness. If you only have time for one exercise, do deadlifts!
I spent many years working out on machines. No matter how much I walked on the treadmill, swam or did machine circuits, I just could not lose weight. My doctor read me the riot act because I was an out of shape 55 year old guy, hovering around 275 pounds with a 50-inch waist. He said I had to lose weight, that I was pre-diabetic, had high blood pressure and needed to take cholesterol lowering medications.
Did I ever imagine that I would deadlift free weights? Never. Did I ever think that I would one day deadlift more than my own body weight? No way. I thought deadlifts were only for bodybuilders or powerlifters.
However, I discovered that deadlifts helped me change from a 275 pound middle-aged man to a 170 pound much fitter man. And from a 50-inch waist to a 32-inch waist, which helped me lose the painful title of fat bastard. Do not think that you are too old to start deadlifting.
Change Your Body, Change Your Life
Are you fat and out of shape or fat and depressed? Are you too fat to wear the clothes you love? Are you weary of hiding in baggy clothing and sweatshirts to cover up layers of body fat? Look in the mirror or take a selfie, are you happy with how you look and feel right now?
Deadlifts are one of the best exercises to incorporate into your life. There are some traits that we cannot change, like having black hair or no hair at all. But you can definitely transform your health, get fitter, and look and feel better, with the power of deadlifts.
If you are thinking about starting a deadlift workout program, one excellent resource I use to learn how to deadlift is the classic barbell training book Starting Strength by Mark Rippetoe. This book will help reduce your fear of deadlifts, squats, clean and press, and bench presses. You must learn to train safe and this is a good place to start strength training.
Act Today to Reap Deadlifts Benefits Tomorrow
Did you ever consider the deadlift to lose weight and/or even fight depression? Yeah, neither did I. When I wanted to get into shape, my first thought was a low carb diet and/or a lot of cardio. I never considered deadlifting, which I thought was only for bodybuilders. This is the reason that after experiencing the power of deadlifts myself, I wrote the book Z E H H U to help others learn about natural mood stabilizers like the deadlift.
Please check out my diet and exercise program for the natural treatment of depression here:
The benefits of deadlifts to help both obesity and depression was not on my radar. Your go to exercise from now on to lose weight, build muscle and get into shape fast is the deadlift. The remarkable benefits of doing deadlifts come in second to squats, if not number one. Many fitness experts, bodybuilders and fitness models confirm the powerful results of a deadlift workout program as recorded by Tom Venuto in his book Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle.
The first deadlifts that I did were first just with dumbbells. Eventually, I graduated to the Olympic bar with 10 pound bumper plates. As of today my one rep deadlift max is 205 pounds at the age of 60. You can get stronger no matter what your age is, even if you are over 50.
Deadlift Results Before and After
You can get great deadlift before and after results with a 30 minute deadlift workout. Start with a very light weight and build up gradually from there. Warm up with a few sets about 50% – 75% of your one rep deadlift max. If estimate your maximum deadlift is around 200 pounds, then do a few deadlifts with 100 pounds. Then, do 3 more sets of deadlifts with 150 pounds. This deadlift workout should not take more than 30 minutes.
Again, start deadlifting with a very light weight and build up gradually, with the best deadlift form possible. Always use great deadlift form. It is much better to obsess over perfect deadlift form, instead of how much weight you can deadlift. Seeing is believing. Check out this picture of John Stone before and after deadlifts.
The Purpose of This Article
I wish I knew the power of deadlifting years ago. So, I want to spread the word. And, as a result, you might take action to begin deadlifting if you never have. Or you might commit to doing deadlifts with better form. If you have been deadlifting awhile, you probably already know the awesome benefits of deadlifts.
This post will focus on deadlift benefits and encourage you to work harder to achieve your deadlifting goals. As a beginner, you will want to begin as soon as possible to gain the many rewards of deadlifting. If you are not a beginner with deadlifts, please comment and share your knowledge.
The 26 Remarkable Benefits of Deadlifts:
1. Great for Men and Women.
The benefits of deadlifts extend to both men and women. Some women are concerned that deadlifting will leave them looking bulky, but that is not accurate. Women have less testosterone than men and cannot build bulky muscles like a man could. A woman who adds deadlifting to her routine can expect to see the same benefits of deadlifts as men. However, women will be leaner and stronger without getting bulkier.
Watch this video of a woman deadlifting 235 pounds.
Notice that she is lean and strong, not bulky.
Here is an excellent post about the benefits of deadlifts for women: http://fitgirlsdiary.com/deadlifts-are-a-must-do-exercise-for-women
2. Deadlifts are not Just for Athletes.
I am not an athlete. However, I can tell you that people have asked me “What happened to you? Are you training for an Ironman?” The answer to that is no. But I am grateful that I could appear as if I am, and more importantly, feel like it. Eat real food, add deadlifts, squats, pushups, and your body will transform.
It will happen over six months to a year, depending on how out of shape you are now. Do not expect immediate results from the benefits of deadlifts. Think progress, not perfection.
3. Deadlifts are Powerful, No Matter What Your Age.
The truth is that the benefits of deadlifting are real no matter what your age is. You are going to be building muscle all over your body from doing deadlifts. This is because of the vast amount of deadlift muscles worked. Start building muscle now and not later, start today and not tomorrow or worse, next year. You can deadlift and get into a better shape, no matter what your age is! Do you think that deadlifting over 50 is an exaggeration, that it cannot be done?
In April of 2016, a new phenomenon hit the news cycle worldwide. Shirley Webb, a 78-Year Old Grandmother deadlifted 245 pounds in a deadlift competition. Read the deadlifting benefits for seniors and Shirley’s story here. Discover how Shirley regained incredible functional health from the benefits of deadlifts.
What is Our Excuse?
4. Deadlift Benefits are for People who Have No Time.
How much time do you have during the day to do a workout? An hour to reap the great benefits of deadlifts? Maybe you do not have an hour free. You have to commute, you have to work, you have to help the kids with homework. Or you have to take them wherever they have to go, you have errands, I get it, you are busy!
If you can get to the gym for thirty minutes, you can reap the benefits of deadlifts and squats. I include squats because I like to deadlifts right after doing squats.
- First, warm up for at least five minutes, either walking or on the elliptical.
- Then, start out with an Olympic size bar and 2.5lb plates on either side.
- This is 50 pounds of weight.
- If this is too heavy, then start with dumbbells.
Proper Deadlift Form
- First, read my review of the Starting Strength 5 step deadlift setup. This is a must and is not negotiable. This will help you make sense of the rest of this section on deadlift form.
- Keep your feet shoulder width, put your left hand and your right hand on the bar in an overhand position.
- Start out with an overhand grip.
- Keep your back straight and pick the weight up off the floor.
- Grasp the bar firmly with a strong grip.
- Keep your hips below your shoulder.
- Take a deep breath at the top and tighten your core.
- Hold a full breath into your abdominal to create more stability in your core.
- This will apply not only to the deadlift when picking up the weight, but to the squat as well.
- You must have a firm stable core to deadlift or squat.
- This is achieved by holding in a deep breath.
- Do not make the mistake of not holding your breath.
- I did that and immediately felt lower back pain, that was not good.
- Use the power in your hips, legs and posterior chain to lift the weight, not your back.
- Then lower the weight.
- Watch Mehdi from Stronglifts and learn how to do proper form deadlifts.
5. Deadlifts are Perfect for the Rules of Gradual Improvement.
Milo of Croton was a 6th-century BC Greek wrestler. To achieve his legendary strength, Milo began lifting a young bull. He continued to do this every day, and as the bull gradually grew in size, Milo gained strength to match. This story of Milo illustrates the idea of gradual improvement. Gradual improvement is central to progressive resistance strength training. As well as realizing the benefits of deadlifts and just about any other goal in life. We need to accept where we are today and then work towards a goal step by step. If we are consistent, we will reach it.
If 50 pounds was easy for you to deadlift, great. Go home and come back two days later. Do the same deadlift workout the next time. Five minutes for your warm up, but this time, add another 5 or 10 pounds to the bar. You are only doing one set of five repetitions. However, the main thing you want to focus on is using great deadlift form.
Even if you could go up twenty pounds, do not do that. It is much more effective to go up in weight gradually. Gradually Increase Deadlift Weight to See Results. Over the course of time, you will stay with one set of five repetitions, and increase your deadlift weight gradually. Imagine if you rely on the benefits of deadlifts for your main strength exercise, for an entire year. A 5 to 15-minute workout every other day, with weekends off, going up in deadlift weight gradually. Try to increase your deadlift weight 5 pounds every week. At the end of a year, you can be deadlifting 250 pounds.
A 250-pound deadlift will be very noticeable on your physique. And that is with only thirty to forty-five minutes of your time per week. Do you have less than an hour a week to invest in yourself via deadlifting? As you start to feel stronger, you can add more strength exercises, like squats and pushups. But even if you only have 15-minutes once a week, the rewards of deadlifts are too powerful to ignore.
6. The King of All Exercise.
There are others out there who are experts at losing body fat and gaining muscle at the same time. Listen to what they say about the benefits of deadlifts. Here is one quote from the fat loss and muscle building expert, Bryan DiSanto.
“In the weightlifting realm, deadlifts reign king. With the exception of squats, deadlifts are far and away the best all-around exercise that exists. They build an all-around powerful, muscular, shredded physique faster than any other exercise. It’s essentially cheating the weight-lifting system.”
“Deadlifts are equally beneficial for women. Deadlifts absolutely shred body fat, and build muscle all over your body.“
7. Benefits of Deadlifts to Lose Weight.
Anyone who is deadlifting knows that it is an intensive exercise. You also know that you will be burning calories, based on your size and exercise intensity. The benefits of deadlifts for weight loss and strength do not stop with the actual time spent doing deadlifts. In fact, the real value is in the muscle that you are building on your body.
The additional muscle will raise your metabolism change your body shape. Deadlifting requires the engagement of many large muscle groups. Therefore, deadlifting gives you a much higher return on investment than exercises which target isolated muscles. The benefits of deadlifts for weight loss are significant. Here is the recipe for amazing results: eat real food daily, add deadlifts, squats, pushups and start walking/swimming/biking/elliptical.
8. The Best Prescription for Depression, Forget Prozac.
Please share this information with anyone you know that might have given up on life. You can help them to dramatically change their life. Instead of prescribing Prozac, Zoloft et al. to handle depression, doctors should first prescribe the following:
- Maximize real food and minimize processed foods
- Train six days a week either your upper body and lower body
- On lower body days, do squats and/or deadlifts.
- On upper body days, do pushups, shoulder presses, bench presses, pull ups/chin ups and dumbbell rows.
- .Take a 30 minute to hour walk with friends/family or by yourself, get moving.
- On the seventh day, rest from working out, spend time with family and/or friends, eat whatever you want (within reason.)
9. Deadlift Benefits for Grip Strength.
I should know. Before deadlifting, I never felt like I had good grip strength. Since beginning deadlifting, my grip strength has improved. It is a good thing when you can quickly open up a jar of spaghetti sauce for your wife. She can probably do it herself, but she wants to see you do it! Recently I saw that Stronglifts.com recommends using the normal overhand grip for your deadlifts. Use the normal overhand grip until you get to heavier weights. Then, use the mixed grip where one hand is overhand and the other is underhand.
What is your opinion? How do you do your deadlifts? According to Dave Robson, deadlifting without deadlift wraps or weight lifting gloves, will strengthen your grip like no other movement. He says that it is not uncommon to work up to 300+ pounds for deadlifts. I’d like to see that day. Are you deadlifting over 200 pounds? How long did it take you to get to a 200 pound plus deadlift, any tips?
10. Blast Your Belly Fat Away.
Five years ago, I was sitting in an all-night deli on 2nd avenue. I was having a second blueberry muffin. I weighed 275 pounds and had the belly to prove it. There was no way to suck in that gut.
What I had read about the advantages of deadlifting was true, the fat burning process kicked into high gear. I could see the difference sometimes the same day from doing a deadlift workout. In less than six months, I took 18″ off of my waist. Eat real food, start deadlifting and torch your fat. Instead of the benefits of deadlifts, I’d rather say the magic your body intelligence fueled by deadlifts!
11. Develop an Attractive Physique.
I have it on record from several women that physical appearance is more important to women than men believe. I thought that women were not as fixated on physical attraction as men are. But, I was wrong. Women are just as attracted to physical appearance as men. A key benefit of deadlifts for men is that you will be physically more appealing to women. Start deadlifting and your likelihood of attracting a woman will skyrocket.
Do not believe that women could not care less if your belly is hanging over your belt. Women want us to look stronger than them, they are not craving the guy who is also a size 0. Therefore, one of the most important benefits of deadlifts for men, is to help transform your physique. Change your body from a skinny teenager or a flabby adult man, into a more muscular male.
12. Improve your Posture and Stability.
The deadlift builds core stability. The deadlift targets all the major muscle groups responsible for correct posture and core strength. Correct deadlifting technique enables you to hold your back straight in daily activities. The deadlift also strengthens all the supporting muscles of the waist, backside, hips and, of course, lower back. Core strength is important to maintain your balance, whether in sport or daily life. You will walk taller and with better posture after several months of consistent deadlifting.
Deadlift with a neutral, flat and straight back. This means to never hunch your back like a cat or arch your back. Proper deadlift form is going to help your daily posture. Poor posture is not attractive. Start to fix your posture with the benefits of deadlifting.
13. Work Multiple Muscle Groups at Once.
The deadlift muscles worked include calves, quads, hamstrings and backside. The deadlift also works your arms, core, lower/middle/upper back, traps, and shoulders. The deadlift works more muscles simultaneously than any other movement. Yes, even more than the squat. Working such a large number of muscles forces your whole body to grow. With consistent deadlifting, you will feel as if you had added an additional layer of muscle all around your body.
14. Sculpt Your Entire Core
Obliques, upper abs, lower abs, transverse abdominals (aka the inner abs, which sucks everything in tight). Sculpting is the best word I can think of at the moment when thinking about how powerful deadlifts are. Of course, you must be eating real food as well. Do not think that you are going to find your abs doing deadlifts and having french fries every day. If you weight the effects of processed food versus the results of deadlifts, processed food will win and you will stay fat.
So, do not make the mistake of thinking that exercise alone will build a better body. You need a total approach, strength training, walking and eating real food. There are few exercises that can beat the benefits of deadlifts. The power of real food always trumps processed food. Real food like vegetables, fruits, seeds, nuts and beans. Eat well and deadlift to change your mind and body.
15. Strengthen Your Posterior Chain.
Deadlifting is one of the best exercises to do if you want a phenomenal posterior.
16. Build a Powerful Back.
Some people think that the deadlift is merely a matter of lifting the weight. It is true that you are lifting, but the idea is not to lift with your lower back. Or a rounded back. That can be a disaster. The safest way to deadlift, is to engage your posterior chain, your hamstrings and your glutes. Before you deadlift, when you are in the setup position, your hamstrings and glutes are already tightened and activated. The deadlift is more of a pull or drag up your shins. As soon as you pass your knees, then you push your hips forward to stand tall.
If you keep your core tight, chest up, back neutral, and drag the bar, pull the bar against your body, you will feel how your upper back is engaged, not your lower back. Deadlifting with proper form will help you build a powerful back. How you set up for the deadlift is critical to deadlifting safely, so make sure to check out the 5 point deadlift setup here. as mentioned above.
To increase your human growth hormone and testosterone levels, deadlifting benefits have no equal other than squats. Increased testosterone is one of the key benefits of deadlifts for men. What is so important about testosterone? If you are a man and have any interest in sex and health, consider the benefits of deadlifts. As we age, and testosterone decreases, the interest in sex, and the ability to perform also decreases. Living a longer life also becomes more difficult, that is not healthy for you or those who care about you.
Testosterone enables your body to build denser bones and prevent osteoporosis. Testosterone helps you build muscle mass. More muscles help you to prevent diabetes, which is critical for good health. Testosterone helps prevent impotence. An active sex life is healthy physically and mentally and helps to prevent heart attack and stroke. Higher testosterone levels are important for weight control, energy, confidence, and ambition. Testosterone is literally what makes a man, a man, because it is testosterone that stimulates the male organs to develop.
Weight lifting has a bigger effect on testosterone than almost any other exercise. A man must keep his testosterone levels in the normal range because of it’s importance to male health. The more muscles that you use, the bigger the impact that your workout will have on testosterone. Stop squeezing handgrips and start doing deadlifts.
Deadlift Instead of Testosterone Replacement
Because of the great deadlift benefits for testosterone, keep repetitions down to no more than 4 – 6. Because with lower reps you can handle heavier weight. Lifting heavier weights has the biggest impact on raising testosterone. In fact, raising your testosterone might be the greatest benefit of a deadlift workout program. Higher testosterone levels have a positive impact on your health.
Ultimately, that is what we all want, better health. My own anecdotal evidence is that before I started to deadlift, my testosterone was not in the normal range. Low T or low testosterone is common for a man over 50. My doctor recommended that I begin testosterone replacement therapy. Instead, shortly after that check up I created and started the Fit Apprentice™ Training program. I cut out processed food. When I lost enough weight, I started to deadlift. I started to squat. I did pushups and began walking 30 to 60 minutes daily.
Ten months later my testosterone had doubled and was in normal range. The doctor said that my rise in testosterone was as good as testosterone replacement therapy. Testosterone is beneficial to your body, your mental health and your spirit.
18. Proper Form Deadlifts are Safe.
The squat puts you at risk because you bear the weight on your shoulder. On the other hand, the major risk of the deadlift is when your back is not straight. You are not at risk with a deadlift to have the weight fall on top of you. If your forearms or back give out you can bail and drop the weight safely. Deadlifting is relatively risk-free and safe to perform. If your deadlift form is correct, you will not unduly stress any of the major joints.
19. Prevent Lower Back Pain.
Proper deadlift form strengthens your back and prevents lower back pain. However, never load up the bar with your maximum one rep weight. Never attempt to do a very heavy deadlift, if you are not yet up to the task. Do not ruin the wonderful benefits of deadlifts, because you felt like showing off. Don’t worry about showing off, increase the weight of your deadlifts gradually.
20. Real Life Application.
One of the key advantages of deadlifting is that it has real life application. The deadlift will help you to lift objects in real life. The real life functionality of the deadlift comes into play when you are strong enough to lift a heavy object. For example, the ability to move furniture, while avoiding injury. Have you ever lifted a heavy TV or box off the floor? You’re doing deadlifts. Start doing deadlifts and impress your friends, or your wife. You might even impress your mother-in-law the next time you load her suitcase in the car!
21. High-Intensity Cardiovascular Workout.
Deadlifts work your heart and help raise your VO2Max. The VO2Max is your body’s ability to transport and use oxygen during exercise. This is an indicator of your level of cardiovascular fitness. Therefore, one of the unknown benefits of deadlifts is to help develop cardio respiratory fitness. Like the squat, deadlifts will severely tax the cardiorespiratory system if done with enough intensity. This obviously has positive ramifications for cardiovascular health. In fact, high-intensity deadlifts aerobically tax the body significantly. Next time you do a few sets of deadlifts with even only 5 repetitions, you will feel the workout intensity!
22. Deadlift Benefits Require Very Limited Equipment.
All you need is a barbell and some plates. Dumbbells work too. You can set up a home gym with the following squat and deadlift equipment:
David Robson of bodybuilding.com added some unique benefits of deadlifts.
23. Deadlifts are a True Measure Of Strength.
- The deadlift is a true measure of strength, because deadlifts use most muscle groups of your body. As a result, deadlifts are a better test of overall muscle strength.
24. Deadlifts Have Special Appeal.
Deadlifts have a special appeal. Picking a weight off the floor, has a special primordial appeal. Deadlifting is like ripping a gigantic tree out of the ground. Standing and holding the massive weight also promotes a feeling of immense power.
25. The Benefits of Deadlifts for Your State of Mind.
Deadlift to lift your mood. This applies to people who do not experience depression, and surprisingly to those who do. There are people who think that marinating in sad thoughts is the best they can do for depression. They think they have no other option than popping anti-depressants. I know, I thought that too. However, there is another way to get out of the rut. At least to not sink further into suicidal ideation.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, 26 percent of adults have depression. This figure translates to 57.7 million people and is higher today in 2015. If you are one of the 26 percent who struggles with depression, start a strength training program today. Full body strength exercises like squats, deadlifts and pushups can change your life. There is no guarantee that you will not need medications, you must defer to your doctor.
However, there is a good chance that you can manage your depression symptoms more effectively with the benefits of deadlifts. If without medication, the only side effect, will be a leaner and stronger body, what can you lose? Deadlift benefits can help you cope better with depression when done consistently.
26. Benefits of Deadlifts for Depression.
There are two reasons that deadlifting can help depression. First, the body strength used for deadlifts has a known effect on hormones. Deadlifts raise testosterone and endorphins. The more testosterone and endorphins you have, the better you will feel. The second reason is metaphorical, inspirational and motivational. When you deadlift heavy weight, you can imagine that you can deal with stresses in life.
Just as you are handling the physical weight, so too can you handle the stresses that weigh you down. You will have more confidence, inspiration and motivation. You will be able to overcome the challenges that you are facing in your life. Deadlifts have this special effect of giving a person a sense of power. Greater confidence is something that is sorely missing from someone mired in depression.
If you are faced with treatment-resistant depression, the benefits of deadlifts can help. Treatment-resistant depression is a scary situation. Please share this information about the benefits of deadlifts for treatment-resistant depression. They can manage their depression with deadlifts, squats, pushups and real food.
- What is the best book on how to use weight training and nutrition to fight depression without medications? In my opinion, it is ‘Zehhu: Crossing the Bridge from Depression to Life‘. I might be biased because I wrote it, but it has the information I wish I had before ever fulfilling a prescription for zoloft, prozac or effexor. I can only wish that a doctor had suggested a training program as great as Zehhu, to help me deal with depression.
But, we cannot go backwards, only forward. And the best thing I can do is save you or someone you know from the catastrophic consequences of antidepressants and depression. At least, try following the program outlined in Zehhu for a few months and see how you feel. Doctors should be prescribing Zehhu to be read and implemented, before prescribing antidepressants. Otherwise, they are doing their patients a great disservice.
Are you now convinced of the benefits of deadlifts? Do not expect to see huge results from the dead lift while eating heavily processed foods every day. Because, the secret to body transformation is to combine the power of deadlifts, squats, and pushups with real food. Then, you will start to see some awesome transformations in your body.
PS, a Warning:
Be aware that the deadlift requires the best form possible. Therefore, it is essential to warm up properly prior to deadlifting. Most importantly, you must keep your back neutral straight once you lift. Never ever arch or slouch, you must keep your core tight and back neutral. For this reason, it is important to read and watch the best resources to perfect your deadlift form. Therefore, never stop learning how to deadlift with the best form possible.
Deadlifts help you develop your entire body. Deadlifts help you obtain functional strength, and enhance athletic performance as well as avoid injuries. To date, I have included within this article 26 key benefits of deadlifts. Time is of the essence. There is no point spending more time in the gym than you have to. Clearly, the many benefits of deadlifts make it one of the core exercises you should do weekly.
In conclusion, please share this post with those you care about who want to crush obesity and/or depression and get fitter than they ever dreamed possible. Finally, please join the conversation about the benefits of deadlifts and post your experiences in the comments below.