Nothing screams “Turn me into an absolute god!” like the good old Deadlift.
There’s not many other exercises I can name that have the potential to build muscle, improve strength and absolutely smoke calories for fat loss! Not to mention they’re also an extremely functional exercise, crossing over into hundreds of daily lifting tasks. The movement itself is primarily a posterior chain movement working the hamstrings, glutes, lower back and middle back. It also works the forearms, core and traps.
Starting from the top and working our way down, the way we set up at the start of the movement will determine how we perform during it. Take a look at this infographic for a guide on how to and how not to set up.
With the correct set-up you’ll load into the glutes and hamstrings and to a certain extent – eradicate the lower back burn. Ok, so now you know how to set yourself up and perform the movement, lets go through my favourite variations:
1: Conventional deadlift
Ofcourse the conventional deadlift takes the top spot. It’s literally moving the bar from the floor to the fully extended position. Remember feet should be around hip width apart with spine neutral and core engaged.
2: Sumo deadlift
The sumo (pictured above) is much like the conventional deadlift however you take a much wider stance with feet rotated slightly out. This slight tweak makes for a great movement to target the abductors and glutes more effectively. Due to slightly more leverage you can also usually handle heavier loads with this variation too.
3: Rack pull
The rack pull is basically the top half of a deadlift. You simply perform a conventional deadlift with the bar elevated higher on blocks or on a rack. It’s a great lower back strengthener and due to the shortened range you can again handle heavier loads. I particularly like this variation for coaching individuals into a full range deadlift.