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Does Deadlift Work More Back or More Legs?



Maybe it depends on the person, but any science of whether the deadlift works the back or hams the most? Im not sure if I should do it with legs or back



thx - so I guess its back just as much as legs


The type or deadlift you use also plays a role.

Conventional powerlifting deadlift (high hips start) works mostly back and posterior chain

Sumo deadlift works the quads a bit more (the hips are lower in the start position) and bit less the lower back (because you torso angle is more upright)

Clean deadlift (the lowest hip position while still having shoulders slightly in front of the bar) involves the quads more than conventional deadlift (again because the knees are bent more in the starting position)

Snatch deadlift involves the quads even more because your hips are even lower than in the clean deadlift because of the wider grip. The wider grip also make the upper back work harder

Romanian deadlift hits the lower back, hamstrings and glutes more

The Dorian deadlift (https://www.t-nation.com/training/tip-master-the-dorian-deadlift ) involves the upper back a bit more while still hitting the lower back and hamstrings


The Dorian deadlift looks a lot like a Romanian in Pauls video, are there any coaching cues to follow that differentiate the two?

I think I’m seeing a bit more knee bend for the Dorian than the “soft knee” in a Romanian.


its more about focusing on letting the scapula open a bit when you go down, then retracting theme forcefully when you go up


Ahh I see, thanks!


wow nice reply thx man! So basically if I want do it for back improvement, the conventional powerlifting would be my go to?

I know I have to do other forms of deadlift too, but makes most sense to do the power deadlift on backday?


Yes it makes sense to put it on back day. But if your goal is only back hypertrophy I might suggest the sweeping deadlift:

Here I’m doing a snatch deadlift, but the same technique can be used with the powerlifting deadlift


thx! Will try it out!


Is the hex/trap bar also more back dominant?


It depends on hips position. Lower hips = more quads, higher hips = more posterior chain/back. But because of the position inside the bar, the trap bar works the back less.

So low hips with a trap bar = more quads
Higher hips with trap bar = more glutes/hams


okay thx you helped me out A lot!