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How Much Do Deads Work the Back?

How much does deadlifting work your upper back? I’ve read that it works your traps and lats, but I only barely feel it in these muscles. Does deadlifting build those muscles just as much as lat pull downs or rowing?

Note: I plan to keep doing deadlifting because it’s a great leg exercise. I’ve just always wondered how much upper back mass it really does add.

Deads are great for the entire back, lats, rhomboids, traps, erectors, you name it. Sure they are good for the legs too, but if you have a good load on the bar, you will feel it in your upper back. Just keep adding weight to the bar and you’ll get your answer.

And throw in some pullups or chins if you can, rather than just doing the LPD’s. Good luck.

I don’t believe that deadlifts really work your lats that well. As far as traps are concerned, deadlifts are a great exercise for making your neck disappear…perhaps the best.

I suppose the lats do play an important supporting role in keeping your shoulders in the correct position for doing deadlifts but if you’re designing a workout, you shouldn’t count deadlifts as a lat exercise.

I think depending on how much volume you do that makes your lats activate more. Normally i wouldn’t feel sore after a day of deadlifting in my lats, but for the brief time that i incorporated the smolov cycle for deadlifts, i felt it in my lats a little more, a lot less than in my lower and middle back though.

[quote]FightingScott wrote:
I don’t believe that deadlifts really work your lats that well. As far as traps are concerned, deadlifts are a great exercise for making your neck disappear…perhaps the best.

I suppose the lats do play an important supporting role in keeping your shoulders in the correct position for doing deadlifts but if you’re designing a workout, you shouldn’t count deadlifts as a lat exercise. [/quote]

Try a snatch grip.

[quote]Bonn1997 wrote:
How much does deadlifting work your upper back? I’ve read that it works your traps and lats, but I only barely feel it in these muscles. Does deadlifting build those muscles just as much as lat pull downs or rowing?

Note: I plan to keep doing deadlifting because it’s a great leg exercise. I’ve just always wondered how much upper back mass it really does add. [/quote]

I would never rely on deadlifts for the majority of any mass built on my upper back. That would mostly come from shrugs and rows. I don’t have anything against deadlifts, I just don’t see them as necessary and know way too many people much smaller than me who focus on that one exercise to their own detriment as far as making more physical progress.

I think it can benefit many people IN ADDITION TO those other exercises, but I get a feeling that popularity and mass following have overhyped just how necessary that one exercise is.

I would personally rather do T-bar rows, shrugs, lat pulldowns (or pull ups depending on what stage of training you are in…as if that really needed to be re-written) and seated rows.

I feel it in my traps a lot, but not at all in my lats. As well as my spinal erectors up to about my shoulder blades and hamstrings. People also say that it’s an awesome move for your glutes, but I don’t feel it at all there. The only ones I really feel in my glutes are deep squats and lunge variations.

[quote]Professor X wrote:
I would never rely on deadlifts for the majority of any mass built on my upper back. That would mostly come from shrugs and rows. I don’t have anything against deadlifts, I just don’t see them as necessary and know way too many people much smaller than me who focus on that one exercise to their own detriment as far as making more physical progress. [/quote] The dead lift can be addictive. That’s how so many people get into them. As a back exercise, it’s plain silly. Spinal erectors don’t make a majority of muscle mass on your back, and thus, the dead lift should be an accessory lift. Once a month, the week you de-load your spine from back squats.

[quote]I think it can benefit many people IN ADDITION TO those other exercises, but I get a feeling that popularity and mass following have overhyped just how necessary that one exercise is.

I would personally rather do T-bar rows, shrugs, lat pulldowns (or pull ups depending on what stage of training you are in…as if that really needed to be re-written) and seated rows.[/quote]
Agree, as if you need my validation, right?

[quote]PF_88 wrote:
I feel it in my traps a lot, but not at all in my lats. As well as my spinal erectors up to about my shoulder blades and hamstrings. People also say that it’s an awesome move for your glutes, but I don’t feel it at all there. The only ones I really feel in my glutes are deep squats and lunge variations.[/quote]

To get it to work your traps, just go wide with your grip. Outside the stripe. To activate your glutes, go sumo style.

Personally, deadlifts, rowing, and chinning form the core of my back workouts. I believe all 3 are needed for complete back development. Just rowing and chinning doesn’t “complete” my back look as adding in deadlifting.

Now, I’m not advocating doing all 3 in one’s back workout. What I do is train back 3 times a week, each time with only one of the big 3 back movements. This has truly been outstanding for me.

[quote]kroby wrote:
Professor X wrote:
I would never rely on deadlifts for the majority of any mass built on my upper back. That would mostly come from shrugs and rows. I don’t have anything against deadlifts, I just don’t see them as necessary and know way too many people much smaller than me who focus on that one exercise to their own detriment as far as making more physical progress. The dead lift can be addictive. That’s how so many people get into them. As a back exercise, it’s plain silly. Spinal erectors don’t make a majority of muscle mass on your back, and thus, the dead lift should be an accessory lift. Once a month, the week you de-load your spine from back squats.

I think it can benefit many people IN ADDITION TO those other exercises, but I get a feeling that popularity and mass following have overhyped just how necessary that one exercise is.

I would personally rather do T-bar rows, shrugs, lat pulldowns (or pull ups depending on what stage of training you are in…as if that really needed to be re-written) and seated rows.
Agree, as if you need my validation, right?

[/quote]

Totally disagree.
I don’t think one “back” movement (deadlift, chins, rowing) are better than the other…but in my opinion ALL 3 are needed to be done to cover the back development basis. Yes there is overlap in the movements, but overlap CAN be a good thing. It is for me.

While I wouldn’t call deadlifts an essential lift, I wouldn’t use them once a month during my deloading week either. I do them once a week and continulously feel my lower to mid back, my traps, glutes and hamstrings. Using them as a way to beef up your back is stupid. But they do contribute and building lower back strength is very important for impact sports.

Alot. lol. I actually think of it as a full body exercise rather then a back or leg exercise. My back is huge because of deadlifts so of course its MY opinion that deads are the best back exercise.

deadlifts decimate my upperback and traps. people tell me all the time i have big traps but never do shrugs only deadlifts, various rows, and chins

[quote]buffd_samurai wrote:
kroby wrote:
Professor X wrote:
I would never rely on deadlifts for the majority of any mass built on my upper back. That would mostly come from shrugs and rows. I don’t have anything against deadlifts, I just don’t see them as necessary and know way too many people much smaller than me who focus on that one exercise to their own detriment as far as making more physical progress. The dead lift can be addictive. That’s how so many people get into them. As a back exercise, it’s plain silly. Spinal erectors don’t make a majority of muscle mass on your back, and thus, the dead lift should be an accessory lift. Once a month, the week you de-load your spine from back squats.

I think it can benefit many people IN ADDITION TO those other exercises, but I get a feeling that popularity and mass following have overhyped just how necessary that one exercise is.

I would personally rather do T-bar rows, shrugs, lat pulldowns (or pull ups depending on what stage of training you are in…as if that really needed to be re-written) and seated rows.
Agree, as if you need my validation, right?

Totally disagree.
I don’t think one “back” movement (deadlift, chins, rowing) are better than the other…but in my opinion ALL 3 are needed to be done to cover the back development basis. Yes there is overlap in the movements, but overlap CAN be a good thing. It is for me.[/quote]

I really don’t think I stated that just one exercise is better than any other. Doing them all is the best recipe for success. Doing deads alone will not develop a back like doing many exercises for the back. Does that clear things up? For instance, I did conventional and sumo deads yesterday. Today, I did barbell rows, widegrip pull downs, cable rows and dumb bell rows.

Tomorrow, I’ll do some horizontal lateral raises. That, my friend, is a back assault.

[quote]Professor X wrote:
Bonn1997 wrote:
How much does deadlifting work your upper back? I’ve read that it works your traps and lats, but I only barely feel it in these muscles. Does deadlifting build those muscles just as much as lat pull downs or rowing?

Note: I plan to keep doing deadlifting because it’s a great leg exercise. I’ve just always wondered how much upper back mass it really does add.

I would never rely on deadlifts for the majority of any mass built on my upper back. That would mostly come from shrugs and rows. I don’t have anything against deadlifts, I just don’t see them as necessary and know way too many people much smaller than me who focus on that one exercise to their own detriment as far as making more physical progress.

I think it can benefit many people IN ADDITION TO those other exercises, but I get a feeling that popularity and mass following have overhyped just how necessary that one exercise is.

I would personally rather do T-bar rows, shrugs, lat pulldowns (or pull ups depending on what stage of training you are in…as if that really needed to be re-written) and seated rows.[/quote]

i think many elite strength athletes and bodybuilders would disagree

[quote]Skrussian wrote:
While I wouldn’t call deadlifts an essential lift.

Using them as a way to beef up your back is stupid. [/quote]

Possibly the dumbest statements i have seen on T-Nation in a very long time

[quote]BIG_DAWS wrote:
Professor X wrote:
Bonn1997 wrote:
How much does deadlifting work your upper back? I’ve read that it works your traps and lats, but I only barely feel it in these muscles. Does deadlifting build those muscles just as much as lat pull downs or rowing?

Note: I plan to keep doing deadlifting because it’s a great leg exercise. I’ve just always wondered how much upper back mass it really does add.

I would never rely on deadlifts for the majority of any mass built on my upper back. That would mostly come from shrugs and rows. I don’t have anything against deadlifts, I just don’t see them as necessary and know way too many people much smaller than me who focus on that one exercise to their own detriment as far as making more physical progress.

I think it can benefit many people IN ADDITION TO those other exercises, but I get a feeling that popularity and mass following have overhyped just how necessary that one exercise is.

I would personally rather do T-bar rows, shrugs, lat pulldowns (or pull ups depending on what stage of training you are in…as if that really needed to be re-written) and seated rows.

i think many elite strength athletes and bodybuilders would disagree[/quote]

Disagree with what specifically? That I don’t credit deadlifts for the majority of the mass on my back but credit that to various rows, pulldowns, pull ups, and shrugs? Disagree that it is a combination of ALL of those exercises that leads to complete development? Disagree that it is overhyped? Do you even know what they would disagree with?

I have a large back and large traps. That came from everything I mentioned. I don’t do deadlifts currently even though they may get added in at some point in the future. If my development was suffering, you might have a point.

In terms of overall back development, be sure to hit regular dealifts, trap bar deadlifts, rack pulls off the pins from varying heights, DB Rows, BB Rows, Cable Rows variations, Pulldowns variations, Chin up/Pull up variations, BB Shrug variations, DB Shrug Variations. If you are hitting some form of all these movements with some progression and intensity, the back development will come.

I have a friend with a freaky gigantic back. He’s got trophies from bodybuilding shows all over his house, yet he never does deads (though he does SL deads for his hams). I also built a big back and I rarely did deads but I did pull downs wieghted pull ups, barbell rows with up 315lbs and all sorts of other shit. For the lower back, squats and heavy rows were good enough. I never felt that deads worked my lats just my traps a bit and definitely my lower back.