What Are Deadlifts?


Quick Answer

Wikipedia explains that deadlifts are weight-lifting exercises in which a barbell is lifted from the ground to the hips and back again. The name refers to the fact that the weight being lifted is "dead," that is, not moving at the start of the exercise. Deadlifts are one of very few weight-lifting exercises in which dead weights are used.

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Full Answer

According to StrongLifts, the deadlift is one of the most important weight-lifting exercises to master because it works many of the body's muscles using the heaviest weights possible. Technique is crucial in performing a deadlift, both to protect the spine and to get the maximum benefit from the exercise.

StrongLifts describes proper technique for performing a deadlift by saying that the exercise must start with the weight resting on the ground. The feet go under the center of the bar and are slightly less than shoulder-width apart. The next step is to bend at the waist and grasp the bar in an overhand grip, followed by bending the knees until the shins actually touch the bar. With the shoulder blades now directly over the bar, the next step is to lift the chest, keeping the spine straight without squeezing the shoulder blades. The actual lift occurs as the person stands up, keeping the bar close to the body and rolling it past the knees and thighs. The deadlift is finished when the hips and knees are locked and the bar is at the height of the hip. It is important not to lean back at the finish of the movement.

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