The deadlift is one of the most common exercises among all sports disciplines. It is actively used in powerlifting and CrossFit and is also a good auxiliary exercise for increasing the overall strength and power of an athlete, so fighters of mixed martial arts, boxing, and oriental martial arts fans also do not bypass it, thereby increasing the overall athletic potential.
What is a deadlift?
What is this exercise – deadlift? In short, this is lifting the barbell (or another burden) from the floor, performed by working the muscles of the legs and the back. This exercise perfectly contributes to a set of muscle mass, an increase in power indicators, since here we can work with serious weights while using almost all the muscle groups of our body. The deadlift is considered to be a classic basic exercise, which no athlete can exclude from his program.
Beginners, as well as experienced athletes, it is strongly recommended to start training deadlifts with a thorough warm-up and stretching. The movement should be powerful and synchronous, each muscle should be included in the work exactly when it is necessary, and it is unlikely that you will be able to perform deadlift technically correctly without the proper preparation of our muscles and the articular-ligamentous apparatus for heavy strength work.
There are 3 main types of deadlifts: classical, sumo and Romanian. Each of them is complemented by a different variation of the weights (barbell, kettlebell, dumbbells, Smith machine, trap-neck, etc.)
The difference between them lies in the position of the arms and legs, due to which the load more falls on the back or legs. There are also several additional types of this exercise that are of no less interest to us, for example:
- deadlift on straight legs (Romanian draft);
- deadlift in Smith’s machine;
- deadlift with trap neck;
- deadlift with dumbbells.
Which muscles work
When performing a classic deadlift, the load on the muscles is distributed as follows:
Main working groups:
- Back muscles. The main load is on the extensors of the spine, especially their lumbar part. Also, part of the work goes to the broadest back muscles.
- Legs and buttocks. Exercise makes active biceps hips, big glutes, and quadriceps. It is worth mentioning that the classic style of running the camp gives less pressure on the buttocks and the back of the thighs, respectively, it is more suitable for men, but, for example, Romanian traction and standing on straight legs are traditionally considered a more suitable option for women.
Additional load receive:
- Forearm and hand. Keeping the weight heavy is not an easy task for your hands.
- Trapezius muscles.
- Abdominal muscles (straight and oblique). They stabilize your body, helping to maintain the correct safe position.
- Calf muscles, inner thighs.
Gear for deadlift
The conversation about the deadlift will be incomplete, if not to mention the current records in this movement. The deadlift can be performed without the use of the equipment and with equipment. The question is: what can be considered as equipment? Overalls? Straps? Or even a belt? We share the most conservative position in this matter, namely: equipment is what increases your result, therefore straps, overalls, and knee bandages can be safely attributed to the equipment division.
The belt is a slightly different story. Of course, the athletic belt helps to lift a little more weight when performing deadlifts, but its original function is to protect you from the occurrence of an umbilical hernia or lumbar injuries, so its use is acceptable and often even necessary in powerlifting, and the federation rules do not contradict it.
Types and technology of execution
Next, we dwell on the types of deadlifts, of which there are significantly more than an unsophisticated athlete might think. Let’s start of course with the classic version.
The classic version of the deadlift, perhaps, is most common in CrossFit, power extreme, and powerlifting. There is no exact information about the sports discipline in which it originated, but most likely it was weightlifting — the first part of the push is this movement. So, how to do the deadlift step by step (execution technique):
- With the classic deadlift, the athlete takes up the neck at the width of the shoulders, the legs are slightly narrower, the feet are parallel to each other.
- The neck of the rod is as close as possible to the lower legs, therefore it is recommended to use leggings when performing deadlifts.
- The shoulder blades and shoulders are set back slightly.
- The movement begins with the movement of the legs – the bar must be “torn down” by the effort of the quadriceps and buttocks. When the bar has passed 20-30% of the amplitude, the athlete should begin to move his back, fully straighten up in the lower back and lock into the final position.
Most of the workload in the classic backup lays on the back muscles (namely, the extensors of the spine and trapezius muscles), so this option is recommended for athletes who have back muscles prevail over the leg muscles. There are also a number of anatomical features of the structure of the organism (for example, long arms or a short torso), for which it is necessary to perform exactly classical cravings.
The main mistake of newcomers here is rounding the back when lifting (thrust “hump”). By doing so, you risk getting a serious back injury and forgetting about sports longevity.
Pay careful attention to working out the correct technique exercises, the only way you can get the most out of this movement.
When the sumo becomes a load, the load is more shifted to the quadriceps and the adductors of the thigh. The widest back muscles, extensors of the spine, and abdominal muscles carry the more static load since the extension in the lumbar region is much smaller here than in the classical version.
When sumo athlete takes up the bar a little bit shoulder level, and legs – on the contrary, puts wider. How widely depends on the level of stretch. It is clear that the wider the legs are, the shorter the amplitude will be, and, consequently, the higher the result will be, but if you do not have enough stretching, if you set your legs too wide, you risk stretching or tearing of the adductors. Therefore, it is recommended to start with the average setting of the legs (slightly wider than the shoulders) and gradually increase it, while not forgetting to pay particular attention to stretching.
Movement in the lower back with sumo minimum, we do not need to “straighten up” with the rod, as in the classic version. We need to lift it with the maximum effort of the leg muscles, without rounding the back and not falling forward.
The most common mistake for newbies when doing a sumo thrust is a big movement in the back. At the lowest point, they lean over the barbell and tear it off with the simultaneous effort of the back and legs. This is fundamentally wrong: with sumo we only put our back into work at the top of the amplitude (approximately the last 20% of the movement), working with serious weights. If it is more convenient for you to transfer part of the load on the lower back, it is better to do deadlift in the classic version, pay enough attention to working out the technology, and personal records will not take long to wait.
Sumo deadlifts are more suitable for athletes with well-developed legs and buttocks. Great for athletes with a long torso and short arms.
Deadlift on straight legs (Romanian draft)
Romanian deadlift has nothing to do with powerlifting, but it is an excellent isolated exercise for the development of the buttocks and biceps of the thigh. The movement is performed on straight legs and with a fixed back due to the abduction of the buttocks back. Working in such an amplitude, the bicep of the thigh is perfectly stretched in the positive phase of movement and reduced in the negative phase.
In this exercise, the neuromuscular connection is primary, rather than the weight being lifted, so I do not recommend doing the pull on straight legs with a lot of weight unless you feel an accentuated load on the right muscle group. In addition, working with a large weight, there is a risk of damaging the hamstrings, which stretch as the pelvis retracts. This can stop your progress in squats and deadlifts since recovery will take at least several weeks.
Deadlift in Smith’s machine
This is not the most common exercise, however, and it has obvious advantages. Smith’s machine gives us the opportunity to work on a trajectory given by the hinges, so it is easier for us to focus on the biomechanics of motion and “catch” the contraction of the desired muscles.
In addition, in Smith, it is very convenient to set the limiters to the desired level and work at the expense of this in a shortened amplitude (performing some kind of thrust from the skirtings). The shortened amplitude allows us to get used to working with a large weight, improve the grip strength and prepare a good foundation for increasing the power indices in the deadlift and other basic exercises.
Deadlift traction with trap-neck
If your gym is equipped with a mop, rejoice! This trap-neck allows us to work in a slightly different amplitude and increase our power indicators. Trap-neck has a diamond shape, inside of which there are handles for grip. The palms are parallel to each other, and the handles themselves are at the level of the body, due to which it is much easier to keep your back straight during the ascent, which many do not have when doing the classic deadlift.
Here is a detailed description of the execution technique of a deadlift with a trap neck.
Deadlift with dumbbells
An obvious plus in working with dumbbells is a longer amplitude since the barbell of the barbell will be located below the bar. Therefore, the deadlift with dumbbells is quite possible to be in the training process of a CrossFit athlete, since it is convenient to combine it with push-ups from dumbbells or thrusters.
In addition to the similarity of the classic traction, there is an exercise called “Pie-squat”, popular among many girls who are fond of fitness. The movement is similar to deadlift in sumo style, but we do not put dumbbells on the floor and work without stopping in the upper position in a shortened amplitude, keeping the thigh muscles in constant tension. The back should be kept straight throughout the exercise, the weight of the weight is chosen individually, but it should be borne in mind that in such isolated exercises it makes little sense to work less than 10-15 repetitions.
Here we are working on target muscle groups, rather than setting power records.
What can replace the deadlift? At once I will say that the following information is intended for those athletes who can not perform cravings due to medical contraindications but want to work out the target muscle groups with the help of other exercises.
For everyone else, the answer is NOTHING.
The deadlift is a multi-joint exercise involving almost all the muscles in our body. And the effect that it has on our strength and muscle mass is unlikely to be replaced by hyperextension, tilting with a barbell, or exercises for the adductors of the thigh. Therefore, if you cannot perform deadlift because the axial load on the spine is contraindicated to you, include the following exercises in your training process:
- Pull-ups on the crossbar are probably the best exercise in the world for gaining muscle mass in the back and giving a V-shaped silhouette. It is important to try to carry out the movement by reducing the broadest muscles, while reducing and spreading the shoulder blades, minimally including the forearms and biceps. So you will get the maximum efficiency from this exercise. Perform other exercises on the broadest where the axial load is minimal (thrust of a vertical block with a wide grip, the thrust of a horizontal block with a narrow grip, a pullover from an upper block, thrust in a Hummer, etc.) in order to put more stress on the muscles and create prerequisites for muscle growth.
- Hyperextensions – an exercise that perfectly develops the muscular group that works with the classical deadweight – the extensors of the spine. It is noteworthy because the axial load in it is almost zero, so it is strongly recommended to be performed not only as an alternative to a deadweight, but also as an addition to it, and as a general prophylactic exercise, and as an exercise aimed at rehabilitating the injured lower back.
- Reverse hyperextension – a type of hyperextension, where the athlete performs the reduction of the target muscle group by lifting the legs, not the body. The load here is more directed to the lower part of the extensors of the spine, the maximum flow of blood receives the area of the sacrum.
- Leg flattening and breeding sitting in the simulator – exercises, with the help of which you can separately load the adductors of the thigh and buttocks without axial load on the spine. Therefore, if you are contraindicated stanoi sumo, you can easily include these two exercises in your arsenal.
How to improve the power performance in the breach?
Your result in the deadline, whether classic or sumo, depends on two aspects:
- acceleration you give to the bar;
- observance of the correct equipment on the maximum scales
The more acceleration you set when the boom breaks down, the easier it will be for you to complete the movement. Therefore, special attention should be paid to the explosive strength of the legs and back, and the following exercises should be included in your training process, which will help you to make cravings more explosive and quick:
1. Squatting with a pause at the lowest point;
2. Jumping on the box;
3. Starting with a bar from a Sedo;
4. Squats with a barbell on the bench;
5. Push pull-ups.
6. Stanal thrust with a pause at knee level.
As for the correct technique, it is solely a matter of time and experience. It is necessary to separately work out deadlift in full, shortened, and extended amplitudes.
Working in a shortened amplitude (thrust from the skirting), we can perform the exercise with a large weight, shifting the load on the entire array of back muscles. In addition, we develop the power of grip and psychologically get used to the maximum weights.
Working in the extended amplitude (thrust from the pit), we work with a slightly lower weight, but we do the movement, emphasizing the load in the quadriceps. This will inexorably lead to an increase in the power indices in the stanza in full amplitude, since the draft from the pit, of course, will be harder, both physically and psychologically.
In addition, there are several conditions for good traction.
The first one is stretching. This is especially important for those athletes who perform traction in the style of sumo. You need to pay special attention to the fascia of the adductor muscles of the thigh and the quadriceps – they must be flexible and mobile, following the variations of twine that are most convenient for your structure. So you will save yourself from possible injuries and will be able to work in the optimal amplitude without experiencing any discomfort or pain in the muscles and tendons.
Do not forget about stretching the torso, perform various exercises aimed at stretching the broadest, chest, lower back, or abdominals, from different angles, not a single muscle of your body should be “wooden”, then the deadlift will be comfortable and completely natural for you in terms of anatomy and biomechanics movement.
Equally important is the isolated work on target muscle groups working on a deadweight. For example, you should perform pull-ups, thrust barbell or dumbbell in the slope, hyperextension, “boat” to keep your back muscles ready for strength work. Do not forget about our “foundation”. In addition, strengthen the muscles of the legs, squat with a barbell, do leg presses, sitting extensions, and other exercises for the quadriceps and thigh biceps.