T Nation

Deads: What, Where and When?

I’ve been meaning to pose this question to Testosterone readers for some time. Do you consider Deadlifts (NOT stiff legged for hams, BUT conventional/Sumos) a BACK, LEG, “overall mass builder” or “all of the above”? With what other bodyparts do you pair Deads with and where do you fit them in your overall program?

I consider deads to be a compound movement that targets the hams, glutes and lower back. The posterior chain is the proper term, I think. When done properly, I mainly feel the movement in my hams and glutes. I always set up my training program on a 4 day split a la Ian King, where one day is a hip dominant day that begins with the basic deadlift, or variations thereof. Sometimes I will throw shoulders in with hams, or just leave hams by themselves.

I tried Ian King’s retracted scapula dead lifts the other day. I haven’t had that kickass “day after you can tell they’re working pain” in a while. You can really feel them working the back muscles. I tend to dead on back day. Lata.

“MB Eric: Your favorite new skool American psychopath since 1980.”


I put it on back day but suspect the king split may be better if you watch overlaps/make sure you give each muscle worked on a day 2-3 days rest. In addition to Hhosers listed muscles, I feel like my rhomboids and traps get some benefit from the heavy loads.

They work the legs and the Back. However, the upper back is used in a supporting role. In contrast, the legs are used in a dynamic role.

I consider them more of a back movement. But also an overall mass and strength builder.