Deadlifts are The KING!

All hail the ?

Put down your EZ bar and learn to deadlift correctly. Lifting stuff off the floor is about as real world and applicable as it gets – a basic human movement. Deadlifts are the king and here’s why you should be doing them.

Deadlifts. Nothing tests your strength like Deadlifts. Challenging every sinew in your body from your calves to your fingers. You can half squat a weight or hit a sweet bench press with a little help or bouncy action but You can’t cheat a Deadlift. You either lift it or you don’t.

Aptly named the king of exercises. The Deadlift will build strength and muscle like no other move. No other single exercise works as many muscles (engaging up to 75% of your muscles). It’s the simplest test of strength too. The Deadlift is going to engage your glutes, traps, lats, Erector spinae muscles, hamstrings, quads, your forearms and even some bicep and calves. They’re going to help you get extremely strong in the back and hips which means performing day-to-day activities like lifting your kids, moving furniture or reaching for your shoes effortless and pain-free.

Here’s the most I’ve lifted to date. Keep in mind it was in a competition format as the last event so my technique was not good, definitely don’t hitch the weight.

The number one thing for me about the Deadlift is that if there’s something up with you, your mobility or strength then you’ll soon find out when performing the lift. The nature of the movement dictates that A LOT needs to be correct. I know what you’re thinking – really? It looks so simple. You’re not far from the truth, you bend down and pick something up from the floor. But it’s a lot harder than it looks because you need to have tension throughout the whole body to lift it correctly. I emphasise the word correctly. There is a huge difference between lifting 200kg with a rounded back and hitching VS lifting 200kg with textbook technique.

You need to have strong grip to hold the bar through the movement, you need to have a strong core to keep you from rounding, you need strong quads to lift off the floor, you need strong glutes to finish the lift etc.

Before you say they’re bad for your back. If you experience back pain of any kind whilst performing the Deadlift or just day-to-day life, it probably isn’t the Deadlift at fault, it’s you. Common issues causing back pain include weak glute muscles which aren’t firing as they should, a weak core or just posture related issues stemming from being sedentary and seated most of the day. People will unfortunately walk into a Deadlift with years of sedentary history with posture issues and assume it’s the one set of Deadlifts which has messed them up. At the very most the Deadlift has only highlighted what was already wrong with your mobility and posture. 

Generally I’d say anyone can benefit from the Deadlift (minus people who have disc issues of course). Even then there is sumo stance dumbbell Deadlift variations we can do to try to strengthen the glutes and pulling muscles.


Some examples of my recent Deadlifts:

5 sets of 7 with 145kg –

A set of 3 with 200kg –

Whether you’re looking to increase your sporting performance by running faster or jumping higher, get leaner, pack muscle on or become a powerlifter, the Deadlift will not only help you, it’ll make you BADASS. 


Other great reasons to deadlift:

  • You’ll be better at hip thrusting (your partner will thank you)
  • You’ll be stronger as you get older (less knee pain, less back pain and stronger grip too)
  • Your entire posterior will be stronger meaning great posture benefits
  • You’ll feel amazing because you fought gravity and won
  • You’ll actually look like you lift from the side and rear (not just the show muscles on the front of your body, the entire posterior chain is referred to as the go muscles 😉

Despite the common notion that it’s a very dangerous lift it’s actually pretty much one of the safest (if performed correctly). If in doubt you can just drop the bar as opposed to being stuck with the same weight on your shoulders in a squat. Another benefit is that it can be performed anywhere with just a barbell, some plates and a solid floor/platform.


My tips:

  • If you want to build forearms then throw away your straps.
  • Always lift with overhand grip until you can no longer, that’s what builds grip. Use hook grip when normal gives out.
  • Use chalk all of the time.
  • Always lift dead weight, that means resetting on the floor each time, we don’t need a bounce to aid us.
  • Push your hips through, don’t lean back. Lock out knees and hips together (this shows you are synchronised and well-balanced).
  • Unless you have bumper plates in your Gym then you’ll need to start at 60kg / 135lbs (the reason for this is the bar height you’re pulling from)
  • If you’re struggling to get into a position where you back is straight then actively think about sticking your ass out and back whilst you slide your hands down your thighs. Once low enough then grip the bar, drop the hips slightly to get tight and pull. You could always get a trainer or strength coach to check over your technique (I’d be happy to check it out, send me DM’s, YouTube links etc).
  • If you’re slow off the floor then perform deficit Deadlifts, snatch grip Deadlifts, front squats and GHR.
  • If you’re slow on the lockout then perform stiff leg Deadlifts, hip thrusts and Pendlay rows.


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