Introduction to the Benefits of Deadlifts
The great benefits of deadlifts will help you get leaner and stronger, faster. Have you gone on diets, weight machines and the treadmill, but you're still overweight or out of shape?
I can relate. When I was desperate to lose weight and get into shape, I tried many low carb diets. And a ton of cardio.
I spent many years wasting time doing plenty of both.
But I did not change my body from fat to fit until I started to deadlift. Only then did I lose 75 pounds in 6 months as well as 18 inches off my waist.
I knew I had to share this great news with anyone else who wants to get fitter faster. And here it is – the deadlift is your best go-to exercise if you're going to transform your body quickly.
Therefore, this post highlights the most remarkable health benefits of deadlifts to change your life.
1. The King of All Exercise
’In the weightlifting realm, deadlifts reign king. Deadlifts are far and away one of the best all-around compound exercises that exists.
They build an all-around powerful, muscular, shredded physique faster than any other exercise. It’s cheating the weight-lifting system.
And they are equally beneficial for women. Deadlifts shred body fat, and build muscle all over your body.’
When you find the best, forget the rest.
2. Deadlift for Weight Loss
Deadlifts are not only to build muscle. They will also help you lose weight.
First of all, because the deadlift is an intense full-body exercise, you will burn plenty of calories.
Second, one significant advantage of deadlifts over other exercises begins after your workout. Since your body packs on muscle everywhere, your metabolism will rise, and your weight loss will accelerate.
3. Total Body Transformation
Losing weight is not enough to transform your physique. You also need to build muscle to change your body composition.
For example, six years ago, I had a 50 plus inch waist. There was no way to hide that gut. But, I did my best by wearing extra-large flannel shirts and sweaters to hide my stomach.
I had no idea back then that deadlifts help you burn belly fat by building muscle all over your body.
But, when I started to deadlift, the fat burning process kicked into high gear. I could see the difference the same day after a workout.
In less than a year, I took 18 inches off of my waist.
Start deadlifting, torch your belly fat, and redesign your body.
4. A Simple Plan for Results
- Do squats, deadlifts bench press or push-ups at least 1 or 2 times a week.
- Walk, swim, bike, or do the elliptical for 30 minutes 5 times a week.
- Avoid processed food and eat real food; it is that simple.
- You can never out-train a bad diet.
And along with the deadlift, use these simple steps to lose weight.
5. Don't Waste Your Time in the Gym
The most common weight lifting mistake is going to the gym only to do dumbbell curls, or worse, machine curls. So, do not spend 30 minutes of your precious time to work on only one muscle group.
Instead, do an exercise where the majority of your muscles work at the same time.
Focus on the deadlift, which targets the main muscle groups of your entire body, such as:
- Lower, middle and upper back
- Trapezius muscles
- Spinal erectors
- Grip strength
- Gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, gluteus minimus
Deadlifting is a total body workout. (And you do not need to lift heavy to get results).
6. Deadlift Muscles Infographic
Share this deadlift muscles used infographic:
7. Increase Testosterone (Without Drugs)
Deadlifts have no equal (other than squats) to increase your testosterone dramatically.
As you age, your testosterone decreases, as well as your interest in sex, and the ability to perform.
Living a longer life also becomes more difficult.
This is why testosterone is so vital for a man:
- Testosterone enables your body to build denser bones and prevent osteoporosis.
- Testosterone helps you build muscle mass.
- More muscle growth helps you prevent or reverse diabetes, which is critical for good health.
- Testosterone helps you prevent impotence.
- Active sex life is healthy and helps to prevent heart attack and stroke.
- Higher testosterone levels are essential for weight control, energy, confidence, and ambition.
- Testosterone stimulates the male organs to develop and is what makes a man, a man.
- Weight lifting has a more significant effect on testosterone than almost any other exercise.
- A man must keep his testosterone levels in the normal range because of its importance to male health.
- The more muscles that you use, the higher the impact that your workout will have on testosterone.
- Testosterone is beneficial to your body, your mental health, and your spirit.
As a result, stop squeezing hand grips and start doing deadlifts.
8. Deadlift Testosterone Boosting Proof
For instance, before I started to deadlift, my testosterone was not in the normal range. Low T or low testosterone is common for men over 50. As a result, my doctor recommended that I begin testosterone replacement therapy immediately.
Instead, shortly after that, check-up:
- I cut out processed food
- Had 3 – 4 real meals a day, and
- Walked or did the elliptical 30 – 45 minutes a day.
After I lost 75 pounds, it was enough weight that I could bend down easier. At that point, I started to do squats, deadlifts, and push-ups. Ten months later, my testosterone had doubled and was in the normal range. My doctor asked if I had been taking testosterone replacement therapy.
I told him no and that I switched from processed to real food and started to deadlift. The increase in testosterone shocked him. He commented that the deadlift was better for testosterone than testosterone replacement therapy.
In short, increasing low-T or low testosterone might be the greatest gift of a deadlift workout program for men.
How To Raise Your Testosterone
- Keep your deadlift reps in the 4 – 6 rep range.
- You can handle the heavier weight with lower reps.
- And lifting heavier weight has the most significant impact on raising testosterone.
- Once you get up to 6 repetitions, increase the weight by 5 pounds, and start again with four repetitions.
But remember, don't ever try to lift a weight you cannot handle.
9. Benefits of Deadlifts for Females
Some women fear that weightlifting will leave them looking bulky. However, since women have less testosterone than men, they will not build bulky muscles like a man.
Here are some of the best deadlifting benefits for women:
- Get leaner and stronger.
- Build your confidence.
- Reduce stress.
- Strengthen your bones. Studies have shown that weight lifting can prevent osteoporosis.
- Improve your athleticism (see how the deadlift helped Allyson Felix become an Olympic gold medalist in track and field).
- Best of all, have fun.
Watch this video of HangTightWMarcie lifting 235 pounds off the floor. Notice that Marcie is lean and strong, not bulky.
Here is an excellent post about the primary deadlift benefits for females.
10. No Matter What Your Age
One important purpose of the deadlift is to keep you lean, strong, and functional. No matter how old you are. Don't be discouraged if you're over 50. You are never too old to benefit from the deadlift.
Do you think deadlifting over 50 is impossible? Watch this video of Shirley Webb deadlift 255 pounds at age 80:
Before Shirley started deadlifting at the age of 76, she could not get up off the floor.
The moral of the story is – don’t wait till you are 76 to start deadlifting.
11. Look More Attractive
Do you ever wonder how to look more attractive? What can you do that will make yourself look better? Whether it is for business, romance, or yourself, the deadlift comes to the rescue. A key benefit of deadlifts for men and women is to look more attractive besides feeling better than ever.
Women are as attracted to physical appearance as men.
I have heard from women that physical appearance is more important to a woman than men believe. I thought that women were not as fixated on physical attraction as men are. But, as usual, I was wrong. Do not believe that women could care less if your belly is hanging over your belt.
Women want you to look stronger than them. They are not craving the man who is also a size zero. Therefore, a significant benefit of deadlifts for men is to help change your body to look better than ever.
Change your body from a skinny teenager, flabby adult male, dad or grandpa bod, into a more muscular man. Start deadlifting and attract (or keep the attraction of) the love of your life.
12. Look Like an Athlete
Eat real food, add deadlifts, squats, and pushups, and your body will transform. This transformation will happen over six months to a year, depending on how out of shape you are now. If you eat and train like an athlete, you will start to look like an athlete.
Do not expect immediate results. Be patient, be consistent, focus on your progress, not perfection.
The best deadlift workout routine is the one you stick with.
13. Improve your Posture
Do you need to improve your posture? Are you curious what exercise you can do to improve posture? Well then, you're in the right place. The deadlift targets the major muscle groups responsible for correct posture.
As such, you improve your core strength and stability. This enables you to hold your back straight in daily activities.
The deadlift also strengthens all the muscles of your waist, backside, hips, and lower back. Core strength is important to maintain your balance and posture, whether in sport or daily life.
As a result, you walk taller, with better posture and more confidence.
Poor posture is not attractive. Start to improve your posture with the benefits of deadlifts.
14. Sculpt Your Core
The deadlift sculpts your obliques, upper abs, lower abs, and transverse abdominis. The transverse abdominis is your inner abs. Of course, you must eat real food as well. You will not find your abs while having french fries every day.
So, do not make the mistake of thinking that deadlifting alone will build a better body.
Few exercises can beat the benefits of deadlifts. But, the negative effects of processed food will always win over weight training. Or most other exercises, and you will remain fat.
Remember – you can never out-train a bad diet.
You need a total approach; eating real food, cardio, and strength training. Think real food like vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean proteins, nuts, and beans. Eat well, do push-ups, squats, jump rope, elliptical, and deadlift to change your body.
15. Less Time For a Total Workout
Are you having trouble finding time to workout? I get it, you commute to your office, help your kids with homework, and have errands. How much time do you have during the day to do a workout? Not much, right?
You’re busy and have little free time.
But, 30 minutes is enough time for a full-body deadlift workout.
16. A Simple Deadlift Workout Routine
You can get fantastic results with a consistent 30-minute workout 1 – 2 times a week.
- Warm-up with a few sets at 50% – 75% of your 1 rep max.
- For example, let's say your one-rep max is around 200 pounds.
- First, warm up with a couple of sets of 100 pounds which is 50% of your one-rep max.
- Then, do three work sets of 5 – 8 repetitions with 150 pounds.
- This workout will not take you more than 30 minutes.
- Gradually increase the weight you lift every workout, every week or every month, depending on your strength level.
17. How to Deadlift
- Warm-up for at least five minutes, either walking or on an elliptical.
- Start with an Olympic size barbell and 10-pound bumper plates on either side.
- This is 65 pounds of weight.
- If this is too heavy, then start with dumbbells.
- Starting position – keep your feet a bit narrower than shoulder width.
- Your feet should be hip-width and the barbell over the middle of your foot.
- Start with a double overhand grip or mixed grip.
- Grab the bar with a firm grip.
- Keep your back straight and never round your back.
- Straighten your back by lifting your chest and squeezing your lats.
- Your head should be in a neutral position, so keep your chin tucked a bit.
- Your hips and knees are below your shoulders, do not hunch your back.
- Brace and keep your body tight.
- Hold a full breath into your abdominal to create more stability in your core.
- This applies to squats and deadlifts to create a firm, stable core.
- If you do not hold your breath, you might relax your body too much.
- 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.
- Think of doing a standing leg press, and when the bar gets close to your knees, drive your hips forward.
- Keep moving the bar in a straight path, up from and back down to the floor.
An excellent deadlift tutorial video from Jeff Cavalier of Athlean-X:
18. Strengthen Your Posterior Chain
From the soles of your feet to top of your head, the deadlift will build a phenomenal posterior chain. The posterior chain is the entire backside of your body. You know, the part of your body you cannot see in the mirror.
These are some of the biggest and most powerful muscles in your body. It is a shame to neglect them.
Pay attention to your posterior chain. Build your hamstrings, glutes, and back. You will get leaner and stronger than you ever thought possible.
19. Build a Spectacular Back
For building muscle thickness, check out this comparison of John Stone's back before and after deadlifts:
Lifting with proper form will help you build a powerful back. Use the 5 point deadlift setup for proper form. Never deadlift with your lower back. Or a rounded back. Lifting with a rounded back is a sure way to lower back pain.
Do you think that your back is not strong enough to lift weights? Then, read about Lamar Gant, who became a great powerlifter despite having scoliosis of the back.
On the contrary, deadlifts are great for your back, not dangerous for your back as long as you use proper form.
The safest way to lift is to engage your posterior chain, your hamstrings, and your gluteal muscles. You engage your hamstrings and glutes in a proper setup position.
The deadlift is more of a leg press push, hip drive and pull/drag up your shins than a lift. As soon as you pass your knees, you drive your hips forward to stand tall.
Keep your core tight, chest up, back neutral, and drag the bar.
Drag and pull the bar straight up, against your shins and over your knees. This way, you engage your upper back and not your lower back.
20. Prevent Back Pain
Practicing proper form strengthens your back and prevents injury like lower back pain. But, never load up the bar with the most massive one rep max weight you can handle.
Never attempt to do a heavy deadlift, if you are not yet up to the task. Do not ruin your lower back, because you feel like showing off.
Increase the weight you lift gradually and reap the many rewards of deadlifts.
21. Strengthen Your Grip
Before deadlifts, I did not have good grip strength. Since beginning deadlifting, my grip strength has improved.
It is impressive when you can open up a jar of spaghetti sauce for your wife. She can do it herself, but she wants to see you do it.
Stronglifts.com recommends using the overhand grip for your deadlifts until you get to heavier weights.
Then, use the mixed grip where one hand is overhand, and the other is underhand.
Dave Robson says that deadlifting with bare hands will skyrocket your grip strength.
And that it is not uncommon to work up to 300 plus pounds without using deadlift wraps or gloves.
22. Progressive Resistance Training
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 grew in size, Milo gained strength to match.
This story of Milo illustrates progressive resistance training and the SAID Principle.
What is the SAID Principle?
The SAID principle states that the human body adapts to imposed demands. For given stressors on the human system, biomechanical or neurological, there will be a Specific Adaptation to Imposed Demands((https://coachsci.sdsu.edu/csa/vol21/sale.htm)).
The SAID principle is a fundamental strength training concept. Your body will respond to the imposed demands of increasing the weight you lift.
You will get progressively stronger just like Milo of Croton. The deadlift is a perfect example of the classic model of progressive resistance training.
23. How to Use The SAID Principle
If 50 pounds is easy for you to lift, great. Go home and come back two days later. Do the same deadlift workout the next time. Five minutes for your warm-up as mentioned above, but this time, add another five pounds to the bar.
This is where fractional plates come in handy, 1.25 – 2.5 pounds on either side of the bar. Even if you could go up twenty pounds in weight, don’t. It is much more effective to go up in weight 5 – 10 pounds a week.
Gradually increase the weight you are lifting to see the best results.
Even if you only do one set of 5 deadlifts every workout, you will keep getting stronger. As always, make sure you focus on great form. Imagine if you rely on deadlifts for your main strength exercise, for an entire year.
A 15 to 30-minute workout every other day, with weekends off. Increase your weight 5 pounds every week.
At the end of the year, you can be deadlifting 250 pounds. The spectacular benefits of deadlifts have helped:
- runners like Allyson Felix, Olympic gold medalist
- bodybuilders, for example, Franco Columbu
- seniors such as Shirley Webb, the Powerlifting Grandma
- actors like Hugh Jackman and
- basketball players such as Stephen Curry, 2 time MVP, and 3 times NBA Champion
See this 12-week deadlift program for beginners.
24. Proper Form Deadlifts are Safe
Squats put you at risk because you bear the weight on your shoulders. Whereas, the most significant risk of deadlifts is when your back is not straight.
Unlike squats, you are not at risk to have the weight fall on top of you. If your grip, forearms or back give out, you can immediately drop the weight.
Deadlifting is risk-free and safe to perform. If your form is correct, you will not stress any of the major joints or kill your shins. There are many aspects to learn to deadlift safely; from gripping the bar, how to hip hinge and a full range of motion.
Use these 39 best deadlift tips for beginners to help you achieve the best form possible.
Remember, it is much better to obsess over perfect form than how much weight you can lift. You do not have to lift heavy weights to see results.
25. Activities of Daily Living
Another critical advantage of deadlifting is that it has real-life applications. Deadlifts will help you lift heavy objects in real life, an actual functional benefit.
For example, the ability to lift heavy furniture or luggage, while avoiding injury. 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.
26. High-Intensity Cardiovascular Workout
Deadlifts work your heart and help raise your VO2Max. Your VO2Max is your body’s ability to transport and use oxygen during exercise. This is an indicator of your level of cardiovascular fitness. An unknown benefit of deadlifting is the development of cardiorespiratory fitness.
Deadlifts will tax your cardiorespiratory system if done with enough intensity. This has positive ramifications for cardiovascular health.
High-intensity deadlifts workout your entire body. Next time you do a few sets of deadlifts with even only five repetitions, you will feel the workout intensity.
27. Lift Your Mood
The deadlift is a natural mood stabilizer. A shocking 26 percent of adults over 20 have depression. This figure translates to 57.7 million people and is higher today in 2019.
Some people think they have no options other than taking antidepressants.
But, there is another way to help depression. Deadlifting can also improve your mental health. These mood-boosting benefits is how the deadlift can help change your life.
28. Alternative to Antidepressants
Instead of using Prozac, Zoloft et al. to treat depression, why not first try a deadlift workout program?
- Maximize real food and reduce processed foods.
- Establish a schedule of 3 real food meals and a snack every day.
- Take a 30 minute to hour walk with friends/family or by yourself, get moving.
- Train six days a week alternating between your upper body and lower body
- On lower-body days, do squats or deadlifts.
- On upper-body days, do pushups, shoulder presses, bench presses, pull-ups/chin-ups, and dumbbell rows.
- Once a week, take a break, spend time with family and friends, eat whatever you want (within
There is no guarantee that you will not need medications. But, there is a good chance that you will be able to manage your depression without antidepressants.
And if the only side effects are a leaner and stronger body, what can you lose?
29. Build Confidence
Here are two reasons why deadlifting can even help treatment-resistant depression.
- First, deadlifts raise your levels of testosterone and endorphins. The more testosterone and endorphins you have, the better you will feel.
- The second reason comes from inspiration. As you successfully meet the challenge of deadlifting, so too will you better handle the stressors that weigh you down. You will be more optimistic that you can overcome the challenges you are facing in your life. Deadlifts have this particular effect of giving a person a sense of power.
And it is higher power and confidence that is missing from anyone mired in depression. See my book Crossing the Bridge from Depression to Life for more information on how to fight depression naturally.
Dave Robson added the following two unique benefits of deadlifts:
30. Classic Measure Of Strength
The deadlift is an accurate measure of overall strength because deadlifts use most muscle groups of your body. As a result, deadlifts are a better test of full-body muscle strength.
31. Special Appeal
Deadlifts have a unique 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.
32. Suicide Prevention
Did you know that suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the USA?¹
This is because deadlifts are a great way to prevent suicidal ideation and suicide.
And if your psychiatrist recommends antidepressants, appeal to your doctor to let you try a diet and exercise plan first. Depression or suicidal ideation will not fix the issue upsetting you. Of course, whatever you can do to rectify a situation, do it. But, many times, depression and suicidal ideation are the results of circumstances beyond your control.
For example, you might feel suicidal because of a broken relationship, divorce, estrangement, or job loss. The mental health benefits of deadlifts help you regain your composure and even rebuild your life.
As a result, you’ll feel stronger than ever because heaving progressively heavier weight off the ground will improve your mental and physical fitness.
Just as you get physically stronger, so too will you get mentally stronger. Most importantly, the deadlift will help you lift the dead weight of suicidal ideation out of your mind.
33. Small Area for Training
You do not need a football field to deadlift. On the contrary, all you need is a small area and minimum deadlifting gear:
- 7 Foot Olympic Barbell
- Premium Bumper Plates
- Olympic Fractional Plate Set
- Quick Release Collars
- Nike Metcon 4 Men's Cross Training Shoes – Never Squat or Deadlift Without the Right Shoes.
- Protect Your Shins With Moxy deadlift Socks. I endured too many bruises and shin scrapes until I started wearing proper shin protection for deadlifting. This is why I highly recommend Moxy deadlift socks.
- Rocktape Shin Guard Sleeves or Bear Grips Shin Guard Sleeves – For stronger deadlift shin protection or other sports like CrossFit. They also provide excellent protection for rope climbs, box jumps, cleans and snatches.
- Mava Men's Compression Long Leggings for additional leg protection, especially when you are a deadlift beginner. These pants are also useful for cross-training, football, soccer, running, walking. Cool in summer and retain heat in winter.
- Powerlifting Belt for squats and deadlifts – my current favorite which is the Hawk single prong 10mm 4 inches wide belt. This belt is excellent for beginners. It is quicker to get on or off than a double prong belt. Besides, it is sturdy, supportive, and comfortable.
- Dead Wedge Jack
- Humane Shok-Lok Deadlift Mat – to reduce deadlift noise and vibration. Here is why:
You can use either a conventional straight bar or a hex bar which has additional benefits.
See more details at the suggested tools for mind and body fitness page here.
A Deadlift Beginner Also Needs
- One Great Beginner Deadlift Workout – gets you started with the right warm-up and progression
- A 12 Week Beginner Deadlift Workout Program – following a plan leads to success
34. Are Deadlifts Good For You?
No doubt! To clarify, why are deadlifts so important? Because this powerful compound lift builds muscle all over your entire body. For this reason, deadlifts are one of the most effective exercises that you can do.
A consistent deadlift training program will change your body like no other weight training exercise. Imagine, you can get lean and muscular without spending hours in the gym. And, with every workout, you build muscle and lose fat.
Therefore, if you only have time for one strength training exercise, choose the deadlift.
35. Warning: Respect the Deadlift
A word of caution, always lift with a neutral, flat, and straight back. The deadlift requires that you practice the best form possible. You must warm-up before a workout. This means to run, walk, or do the elliptical for at least 5 minutes.
Also, you must keep your back neutral straight once you lift. Never arch or round your back, you must keep your core tight and back flat. For this reason, it is vital to continue learning how to deadlift with the best form possible.
This means never to arch your back. Proper deadlift form helps your posture. Learn to practice bracing. This means tightening your entire core. You need tension in your body to generate power.
Learning to respect the deadlift will benefit you in all your other athletic activities. Always use your best form. Never sacrifice form to lift a heavier weight. This way, you will continue to make progress without unnecessary injuries.
You can also carry over the respect of the deadlift to everything else you do in life. Use your best form. Be your best, and do your best, no matter what you are thinking, doing, or saying.
36. Train Smart, Train Safe
Like most people, if you are a beginner, you are afraid of hurting your back deadlifting. On the contrary, deadlifting will help build and protect your back, as explained above.
Learn how to squat, deadlift, squat, and bench press, the basic powerlifting lifts. Starting Strength by powerlifting coach Mark Rippetoe will help reduce your fear of deadlifts, squats, and bench presses.
You must learn to train smart and safe, and Starting Strength is a great place to begin strength training.
37. Deadlifts Are For Everyone
To sum up, the fitness benefits of deadlifts are for everyone. And not just for bodybuilders or young people. Once you know the tremendous advantages of deadlifts, you will no longer avoid the free weight area. Instead, you will abandon the machines and tackle the ‘King of All Exercises.'
Because now you know that the deadlift is a powerful multi-joint exercise that will develop your entire body. As well as give you functional strength for real daily life activities. Also, deadlifting will also enhance your athletic performance as well as prevent injury.
Even if you are over the age of 50, deadlifting will help you look and feel better than ever. And faster than you thought possible.
Last but not least, what your thoughts on the most significant benefits of deadlifts?