The dead lift is an all-time favourite exercise of mine, and according to the British tabloids, seems to be all the rage with celebrities right now (puzzling - why now?!). It's clear why; deadlifts are fantastic for core and overall strength
, they tone/firm/round the butt
like nothing else, and they target multiple muscles simultaneously
in a manner that encourages calorie burn long after the session's over
. Here are just 7 reasons why I love them so much, as do the likes of Kelly Brook and Naomi Campbell!
1. CORE BLIMEY
- when executed correctly, deadlifts will strengthen the supporting and surrounding muscles of the upper back, hips, waist and lower back, helping to develop your entire core holistically.
2. GRIP LIKE YOU HAVE TALONS
- the deadlift will strengthen the forearm 'crush grip' (the one you'd use to squeeze a can), thanks to the heavy weight involved, improving associated grip-based exercises (e.g. pull-ups).
3. BUILD BROAD MUSCLE MASS
- the deadlift targets the hamstrings, glutes, lower back as well as some of the stabilizer muscles, quads, lats, traps, and forearms. Working this wide combination of muscle groups will allow you to lift heavier next time. They also really help to develop the upper back's musculature - indeed, one of the surefire ways of crafting a larger, more muscular upper torso is through growing your shoulders and upper back. A fundamental barbell deadlift is thought to be one of the finest and most efficient lifts to improve Trapezius mass. Which brings me to my next point......
4. GET FUNCTIONALLY STRONGER
- by engaging all the muscles used to lift a weight off the floor, it simulates motion you'd typically carry out on a daily basis - you'll bend down to lift your baby up, or to pick up something you dropped on the floor. Strengthening the deadlift-group-of-muscles renders you less likely to sustain an everyday injury.
5. IT'S CARDIO TOO
- with proper form, and performed to the right intensity, deadlifts can really work the cardio-respiratory stamina. It is remarkable how puffed-out they can (and should) make you feel! Plus, the calorie burn shreds
6. SOME EXPLOSIVE STRENGTH
- this big compound motion starts from a totally stationary stance, and is therefore epic when it comes to building your general explosiveness. It's all about reaching your maximum muscle pressure in the shortest amount of time possible, in order to develop practically useful strength; enhancing this 'Rate of Force Development' is a superman-creator, enabling you to run quicker, throw further, jump higher, and generally excel in sports activities! Maybe even get smarter? Cook better? Well perhaps not those two...
7. A DEADLIFT A DAY KEEPS THE DOCTOR AWAY
- deadlifts enhance the general stance and posture, encouraging fewer injuries throughout an active life. Through strengthening abdominals and lower back, deadlifts are one of my favourite ways to naturally enhance the 'placement of the spine' - a great number of people slouch at their desks with shocking posture all day long. These exercises build muscle strength into the posture and help keep you more ergonomically positioned.
HOW TO ???
Dead lifts (as per above split-picture) - Focus on tempo!
Targets: the lower back, hamstrings and glutes + arm/trapezius strength gripping / lifting the heavy weight.
Grasp the bar using an overhand grip.
Stand up straight, legs narrow/shoulder width apart. Keep knees slightly bent.
Slowly lower the bar over the top of the feet, bending at the hips.
d) Maintain a straight back throughout, as per the pictures above
. You should feel a stretch along you hamstring.
Slowly return to starting position and thrust the hips forward, engaging the glutes and pull your shoulders back. Repeat.
Attention: I'd suggest starting with a lighter weight and performing higher repetitions to safeguard the lower back. It’s always better to do more ‘light’ reps than to slip a disc! Squats are high risk-reward; they can get your body in shape, but they can also wreck it if the form is corrupt. Take care!