T Nation

Deadlifts?

hi guys, i am reading articles about the deadlift and they are saying that the way to a thick strong back is to do deadlifts, however i just read another article which says that the deadlift works the hamstrings, calves and glutes. which article should i believe and curently i am doing stiff legged deadlifts with my back, should i be doing them with my leg workout instead.

I dunno. It has been my experience between reading and talking to hard core lifters that deads are one of the best exercises for almost everything. They definitely hit the legs and back big time. I tend to feel them in my back more than the hams.

do you do stiff legged deadlifts or normal deadlifts. i just checked another site and they say deadlifts work the hamstrings and dont even mention the back

Deadlift works everything on the back side with main emphasis (for me, anyway) in the low back, behind and hamstrings. However the lats are activated to a degree, as are the traps, rear deltoids and even your chest. I use 'em on lower body days myself.

I alternate the main lower body movement each workout between the squat and deadlift (or variations)and that seems to work pretty well without completely wiping me out. Support work is glute/ham raise and maybe calves.

Stiff legged deads are great hamstring and low back builders but it’s hard sometimes not to round the back as the set goes on.

They are listing primary muscles used. In stiff legged or regular you are using your hamstrings, and glutes, with regular you use alot of quads also.

Just because they are primary does not mean that they are the only muscles used. Without strips you are using alot of forearms, specially as you go up in weight and width of the bar.

The back is used to support you gripping the bar, core(stomach lower back obliques) re used to stabilize you as you come up. Generally your entire upper body will be flexed, so they are all getting a workout. Then the amount of weight that you can do with a deadlift is generally the most weight your body will feel, so it gets it thicker.

skidmark if you want a good strong back would you do stiff legged or normal deadlifts or do normal deadlifts just basically do the same for your back except the involve the legs more

Well - I really like stiff-legged deads because I can’t cheat and wiggle around to get the weight up. Having said that I have to admit that I don’t do them anymore. I’ve moved to sumo deads/conventional deads or good mornings, depending on how spry I’m feeling. But I started with stiff legged deadlifts. I believe that they really helped my squat in the beginning and put a bit of meat on my backside.

Really though, you’ve got the resources of some of the finest experts on training on this site. Look at any article having to do with leg/hamstring and lower back work from these authors and you’ll get a better answer than I could give.

OK, no 2 ways about it done correctly deadlifts hit everything from the neck to the ankles. Now I have been doing them for more years than I care to admit. Oh hell I will did my first deadlift when LBJ was president. Anyhow, th initial drive is like pushing your feet thru the floor, the hips, glutes, quads, hams are all firing with the lower back engaged.

Your driving on your heels and feel the strain, the arms stretch, the shoulders and upper back are holding the damn weight. While the lower body muscles strain driving, the abs are pushing against your belt. You get the weight to your knees, and really engage the hips, lower back to straighten up, shoulders and traps and upper back square off the body and then the knees lock and you hold the weight up there having defeated gravity. It feels great and the whole body gets hit.
Relish in the pain and feel the weakness leave your body.

are you talking about stiff legged ones or the ones where you bend your knees and kind of squat down. i do stiff legged ones and i am trying to find an article explaining the difference between the two and the benefits of each one

This post was flagged by the community and is temporarily hidden.

The stiff-legged deadlifts will hit the hamstrings more because they’ll be pulling from the fully stretched position. Basically, the SLDL puts you in the weakest possible mechanical position to pull something off the floor, so all the muscles involved have to work harder. The weight pulled is not usually as impressive as a conventional deadlift, but the strain is…:slight_smile:

Apart from almost working the entire body (as everybody mentioned), the wonderful thing about the deadlift is the amount of weight you can use, which usually is the heaviest of all your lifts.

Deadlifts are the best all around lift. Hamstrings, glutes are the primary muscles used and low back is secondary if your form is good. Arch your back hard and drive with your heels. The bar should scrape your shins. It’s a PULL not a lift.

[quote]enzo59 wrote:
hi guys, i am reading articles about the deadlift and they are saying that the way to a thick strong back is to do deadlifts, however i just read another article which says that the deadlift works the hamstrings, calves and glutes. which article should i believe and curently i am doing stiff legged deadlifts with my back, should i be doing them with my leg workout instead.[/quote]

All of the above. In fact, it also works the traps, shoulders, lats, biceps and forearms. Basically, it’s a total body exercise. The key is to go heavy enough to stimulate all those bodyparts. Get up to around 2X’s bodyweight and you will feel it everywhere.

[quote]pushharder wrote:

What is it about this exercise that is so exhilarating? I feel it every time I pull. It’s the one exercise I absolutely look forward to all the time.[/quote]

I have no idea what it is about this exercise but I agree with you, I look forward to doing deads like no other exercise.

I’m sitting at my desk right now smiling just thinking about doing them tonight. I can’t freakin’ wait.

Maybe because it’s such a primal lift. Nothing fancy, just bend over a pick up something heavy from the floor. That’s it.

Of course the form is more technical than that but you get my drift.

It also doesn’t hurt that I’m a long limbed bastage and deadlifting is my best lift.

To become familiar with the muscles trained by the deadlift, see the link below (my apologies for the gif with the shirtless guy performing the movement).

http://www.exrx.net/WeightExercises/ErectorSpinae/BBDeadlift.html

[quote]Senseial wrote:
OK, no 2 ways about it done correctly deadlifts hit everything from the neck to the ankles. Now I have been doing them for more years than I care to admit. Oh hell I will did my first deadlift when LBJ was president. Anyhow, th initial drive is like pushing your feet thru the floor, the hips, glutes, quads, hams are all firing with the lower back engaged.

Your driving on your heels and feel the strain, the arms stretch, the shoulders and upper back are holding the damn weight. While the lower body muscles strain driving, the abs are pushing against your belt. You get the weight to your knees, and really engage the hips, lower back to straighten up, shoulders and traps and upper back square off the body and then the knees lock and you hold the weight up there having defeated gravity. It feels great and the whole body gets hit.
Relish in the pain and feel the weakness leave your body.[/quote]

What he said, plus, although I do not know how true it is, I have read the big lifts such as deadlifts cause a release of muscle building hormones that help your overall size increase.

thanks for all your advice guys, i also love deadlifts and while reading a popular bodybuilding site about the deadlift this is what it said

Romanian Deadlift

Exercise Data
Main Muscle Worked: Hamstrings
Other Muscles Worked: Quadriceps, Calves, Glutes
Equipment: Barbell
Mechanics Type: Compound

i tried posting the link but i guess its a no no becaue they took it out of my post, so this why you can see i was confused as to what it exactly works. do most of you guys do both types of deadlifts, i have just being doing stiff legged and i am wondering if it would be benificial to do both types. just so you know, i am 47 186 lbs and my fourth set of the deadlift is 295lbs for 6 reps but i have to use straps.

[quote]enzo59 wrote:
hi guys, i am reading articles about the deadlift and they are saying that the way to a thick strong back is to do deadlifts, however i just read another article which says that the deadlift works the hamstrings, calves and glutes. which article should i believe and curently i am doing stiff legged deadlifts with my back, should i be doing them with my leg workout instead.[/quote]

If your concerned with upper back around the scapula, deadlift works these mainly as more of an isometric function. You’re not performing a row with the weight. The main function for upper back is just to hold and support the weight, keeping your scapula back and set in proper position.

With that in mind, the version of deadlift that hits your upper back hardest is the version that has your upper back supporting the most weight. So this means regular deadlift are probably better because thy’re higher weight.

One other possibility is snatch-grip deadlift. This will be lower weight overall than a regular deadlift, but it puts your upper back at a greater mechanical disadvantage to support the weight, so it hits your upper back harder.

[quote]enzo59 wrote:
hi guys, i am reading articles about the deadlift and they are saying that the way to a thick strong back is to do deadlifts, however i just read another article which says that the deadlift works the hamstrings, calves and glutes. which article should i believe and curently i am doing stiff legged deadlifts with my back, should i be doing them with my leg workout instead.[/quote]

Regarding where in a workout it should be, this exercise is like squats in that it works a ton of muscles throughout the whole body; probably more than any other, with the exception of maybe a Clean and Jerk.

Depending on the rest of your program, it could go one of many places.

I personally have two lifting days:
1.)A full body “pushing” day, with quad-dominant legs (squats, lunges) and upper body pushing exercises (bench, military, etc.)
2.)A full body “pulling” day with Olympics, deadlift variations, all manner of rows, pull-ups, etc. Just hitting everything in the posterior chain.

If you have something like an upper-body push, upper-body pull, and leg day, then deadlifts would be on your leg day. Although various forms of deadlifts will hit upper back too, so maybe keep your leg and upper body back days spaced apart a bit if possible.