T Nation

Tim Henriques' Article on the Deadlift


Hey guys,

I read the article and I am curious on what do you think of it.

Personally, I agree with Thibs who says that the deadlift is basically a leg press (with a hip thrust at the end). If you are extending the legs to lift the bar, then the legs (in this case the hamstrings and the glutes) are the agonist muscles

The Westside Barbell guys seem to agree with me as their training system combines the squat and the deadlift into the same session. The back simply adds stability to the movement, like in the squat (especially low bar).

What do you think?


I think Tim is right.


Vjoe - I have no issue with people disagreeing with me about what is happening in certain exercises, however I think you might be misinterpreting Westside's view on the subject. They way Westside suggests squatting, and all deadlifts, those movements are posterior chain dominant (which is the erectors, glutes, and hamstrings). Westside and Louie Simmons do believe that deadlifts hit the erectors pretty hard, here are two quotes from him in an article he wrote about how to train the deadlift:

"Squatting with a bar held in various ways will place the stress on the erectors, hips, and glutes; the primary muscles that deadlift."

"If you do all deadlifting, it is a matter of time before your deadlift will stall, or even worse, injury will stop all progress. Why? No ones body will equally distribute the work evenly between the lower, mid, and upper back. If the lower back takes the major role in deadlifting, which is most often the case, eventually an injury will occur."

Westside combines those movements because they have a carryover effect on each other and because the muscles are pretty similar, separating them out would be too much for one to recover from especially since their philosophy is train each movement twice a week. Hope that helps.


I could be totally off base here (as I usually am), but it seems that while the back may be the limiting factor for many people, the weight is actually being moved mostly by the legs and hips, which is where the issue of semantics comes in. A more extreme example to demonstrate the point would be fingertip pushups. You're moving yourself with your triceps, shoulders, and pecs, but it's really a finger exercise.

So forgetting terminology, the primary muscle in the deadlift would be the back, despite it not being mainly responsible for the upward motion of the bar. From what I can tell, both Tim and vjoe may agree with that.


EDIT: Just looked at the other thread about this article and this point was already brought up. So nevermind, I guess.