I often hear people say they just do not have time for working out. I hear and understand this, but I also live a quite busy life. I have a job where I work 60 plus hours each week on top of writing and building this website. Because I am a very busy man, I believe in making the most efficient use of the time I do have for getting in my exercise. Therefore, when I am working out with my weights, my concentration is placed on doing lifts that are compound in nature. What this means, is I do lifts that work multiple muscle groups with each rep and set instead of concentrating on single muscles. I simply do not have time for that and believe that compound lifts give the best bang for the buck for the time spent getting in a workout.
If I was limited to only being able to get in two different lifts in a week, the Dead Lift and Squat would be my first and only choices. This is because these two lifts work your entire body when you execute them. As you can see in the picture above, the Dead Lift leaves almost no area of your body lacking for resistance when you are pulling a heavy weight from the floor. When you build muscle from the Dead Lift, you are causing stress throughout your entire body. You are building up lean muscle mass everywhere, and not just in the highlighted areas in the above picture.
The Dead Lift provides enormous physical benefit as they not only help build lean mass but also it increases your functional strength in a manner that helps you actually avoid injury while making your life easier in the performance of daily tasks.
When correctly executed, the Dead Lift will build up your strength to lift weights, boxes and other items with proper form. The increased strength you’ll gain from this exercise may lower your odds of lower back pain and injury. You will find that a strong back is a healthy back. Another benefit from doing Dead Lifts as we age is they will also strengthen our core, which leads to improved balance.
The Dead Lift can and will promote growth of your muscle size and strength. Muscle size increases over time as the muscle fibers adapt and grow in response to the stress of the strength training. Increased muscle size contributes to strength, but the main factor is the nervous system adapting and being better able to communicate with the muscle cells which will provide you great benefit for any physical task you are ever faced with.
How to properly execute the Dead Lift.
When executed properly, the Dead Lift will strengthen every bone in your body while challenging every muscle within your posterior chain (all the muscles that run from your neck to your heels). The Dead Lift will test your grip strength and core stability to the absolute max. It will find any weakness in your body to be addressed if you ever hope to lift heavy. For that reason you should always start light, well within your means. Only consider building up your working weight once you have first perfected proper lifting form.
- With your feet flat on the floor, bend at the knees and grab the bar with hands shoulder-width apart.
- You have two grip choices: a double overhand grip or a reverse grip, where one hand grips the bar overhand and the other underhand. The reverse grip will allow you to lift heavier. Always squeeze the bar as hard as you can, especially on heavier sets, before the bar leaves the floor.
- If you struggle with your grip try using chalk or a mixed grip (with one hand facing forwards, one facing back), which will help you cling onto the bar so you can focus on your form.
- Keep your head in a neutral position by looking forwards with your eyes fixed to a spot on the ground, about 4 feet ahead of your feet. Keep your chin up so your head stays in the best position for lifting.
- Keeping your back straight and your head facing forward throughout, lift the bar using your legs and driving your hips forward. The Dead Lift should be a fast and powerful lift using your legs and glute strength. Drive upwards as explosively as possible.
- Aim to maintain a strong spine from the beginning of the lift to the end. Do this by keeping your chest up to prevent your torso hunching forwards over the bar.
- Your shoulders should remain slightly in front of your hands until the bar passes mid-thigh level, at which point you want to retract your shoulder blades for a strong and stable torso.
- Pull your shoulders back at the top of the move, then carefully lower the bar to the ground.
Programming the Dead Lift.
Higher reps generally contribute to building muscle. Most power lifters will train with anywhere from 1-8 reps, but when training specifically for strength, the general rep range is 3-5. Bodybuilders and people who want to add muscle to their backs usually stick to doing 8-12 Dead Lifts and sometimes more, it all depends on your goals and what you want out of your training and body.
Dead Lifts are a great tool in your weight loss arsenal to use during the week. Ladies, you will build muscle and strength but here are four benefits you also need to consider:
Work several muscle groups promoting high-level fat loss
Increase primary anabolic hormones that stimulate fat loss and muscle growth
Burn more calories compared to running
Increase cardio endurance if programmed properly