The deadlift is a weight training
Weight training
Weight training is a common type of strength training for developing the strength and size of skeletal muscles. It uses the weight force of gravity to oppose the force generated by muscle through concentric or eccentric contraction...

 exercise where a loaded barbell
A barbell is a piece of exercise equipment used in weight training, weightlifting and powerlifting. Barbells range in length from to although bars above 7' in length are used primarily by powerlifters and aren't commonplace...

 is lifted off the ground from a stabilized, bent over position. It is one of the three canonical powerlifting
Powerlifting is a strength sport. It resembles the sport of Olympic weightlifting, as both disciplines involve lifting weights in three attempts. Powerlifting evolved from a sport known as 'odd lifts' which followed the same three attempt format but used a wide variety of events akin to Strongman...

 exercises, along with the squat
Squat (exercise)
In strength training, the squat is a compound, full body exercise that trains primarily the muscles of the thighs, hips and buttocks, quads , hamstrings, as well as strengthening the bones, ligaments and insertion of the tendons throughout the lower body...

 and bench press
Bench press
The bench press is an exercise of the upper body. For bodybuilding purposes, it is used to stimulate the pectorals, deltoids, and triceps. While on his or her back, the person performing the bench press lowers a weight to the level of the chest, then pushes it back up until the arm is straight...



Deadlift refers to the lifting of dead(without inertia) weight, such as weights lying on the ground). It is one of the few standard weight training exercises in which all repetitions begin with dead weight. In most other lifts there is an eccentric (lowering of the weight) phase followed by the concentric (lifting of the weight) phase. During these exercises, a small amount of energy is stored in the stretched muscles and tendons in the eccentric phase. However, the deadlift is solely a concentric movement, beginning at its most difficult point and without stored elastic energy, and is therefore considered by some to be a more true test of total strength.

World records

  • The record for a raw deadlift (a deadlift performed without the aid of a deadlift suit, where only a weight belt is allowed) is 460.3 kg (1,014.8 lb) by Benedikt Magnússon
    Benedikt Magnússon
    Benedikt Magnússon , known by his nickname "Benni", is a strongman and powerlifter from Iceland.-Strongman and powerlifting:...


  • The record for an equipped deadlift (a deadlift performed using a deadlift suit using a standard bar and plates where straps are disallowed) is 457.5 kg (1,008.6 lb) by Andy Bolton
    Andy Bolton
    Andy Bolton is an English powerlifter and strongman who was born in Dewsbury, Yorkshire. Andy is best known for being the first man to lift a 1,000 lb...


  • The record for the tire deadlift (in which Hummer
    Hummer was a brand of trucks and SUVs, first marketed in 1992 when AM General began selling a civilian version of the M998 Humvee. In 1998, General Motors purchased the brand name and marketed three vehicles: the original Hummer H1, based on the Humvee; and the H2 and H3 models that were...

     tires are used as weight) under Strongman rules (in which lifting straps are allowed) is 504 kg (1,111.1 lb) by Lithuanian strongman Zydrunas Savickas
    Žydrunas Savickas
    Žydrūnas Savickas is a professional strongman and is widely considered one of the all-time greatest athletes in the history of the sport...

     at the Arnold Strongman Classic 2011.

  • The record for a one handed deadlift is 330kg or 727.5lbs by Hermann Görner
    Hermann Görner
    Hermann Görner, was a famous German strongman. Görner performed in various countries and achieved feats of strength rarely matched to this day, most notably in lifts requiring exceptional gripping strength.-Early years:...

    , who also lifted a 734.5 lb (333.2 kg) block of sandstone in similar fashion. Both lifts were done with a hook grip
    Hook grip
    Hook grip in weightlifting defines the method in which an athlete grips the Barbell, which is first gripped with the thumb, then the remaining fingers grip both the thumb and the Barbell. It can be used in multiple weightlifting events Hook grip in weightlifting defines the method in which an...

     to allow more weight to be used, a common practice with one handed deadlifts.

  • The world record under eighteen years old, body weight under 181 pounds, 233.6 kg (515 lb)is held by Renaud Cardinal.

Muscles involved

The deadlift is a compound movement that works a variety of muscles groups:
  • The grip strength (finger flexors) and the lower back (erector spinae
    Erector spinae
    The Erector spinæ is a muscle group of the back in humans and animals. It is also known as sacrospinalis in older texts. A more modern term is extensor spinae, though this is not in widespread use. The name of the muscle is pronounced e-rec-tor speen-aye, or e-rec-tor spinae-ee.It is really not...

    ) work isometrically to keep the bar held in the hands and to keep the spine from rounding.
  • The gluteus maximus and hamstrings work to extend the hip joint.
  • The quadriceps are stressed less compared to the squat, but contribute significantly by bringing the hips lower relative to the knee.
  • The adductor magnus works to stabilize the legs.

The deadlift activates a large number of individual muscles:
  • Torso
    Trunk or torso is an anatomical term for the central part of the many animal bodies from which extend the neck and limbs. The trunk includes the thorax and abdomen.-Major organs:...

    • Front
      The chest is a part of the anatomy of humans and various other animals. It is sometimes referred to as the thorax or the bosom.-Chest anatomy - Humans and other hominids:...

      • Abdomen
        • Rectus abdominis (under aponeurosis
          Aponeuroses are layers of flat broad tendons. They have a shiny, whitish-silvery color, are histologically similar to tendons, and are very sparingly supplied with blood vessels and nerves. When dissected, aponeuroses are papery, and peel off by sections...

      • Obliques
        • Abdominal external oblique muscle
          Abdominal external oblique muscle
          The external oblique muscle is the largest and the most superficial of the three flat muscles of the lateral anterior abdomen.-Structure:...

        • Abdominal internal oblique muscle
          Abdominal internal oblique muscle
          The internal oblique muscle is the intermediate muscle of the abdomen, lying just underneath the external oblique and just above the transverse abdominal muscle.-Structure:...

    • Back
      - People :* Adam Back, British cryptographer* Charles Back, South African winemaker* Chris Back , Australian politician* Ernst Emil Alexander Back , German physicist* Frédéric Back , Canadian animator...

      • Iliocostalis
        The iliocostalis is the muscle immediately lateral to the longissimus that is the nearest to the furrow that separates the epaxial muscles from the hypaxial...

      • Intertransversarii laterales lumborum
        Intertransversarii muscle
        The Intertransversarii are small muscles placed between the transverse processes of the vertebræ.-Cervical:In the cervical region they are best developed, consisting of rounded muscular and tendinous fasciculi, and are placed in pairs, passing between the anterior and the posterior tubercles...

      • Latissimus dorsi
        Latissimus dorsi muscle
        The latissimus dorsi , meaning 'broadest muscle of the back' , is the larger, flat, dorso-lateral muscle on the trunk, posterior to the arm, and partly covered by the trapezius on its median dorsal region.The latissimus dorsi is responsible for extension,...

      • Levator scapulae
      • Longissimus
        The longissimus is the muscle lateral to the semispinalis. It is the longest subdivision of the sacrospinalis that extends forward into the transverse processes of the posterior cervical vertebrae.-Longissimus thoracis:...

      • Quadratus lumborum
      • Rhomboideus major
      • Serratus posterior superior
      • Serratus posterior inferior
      • Splenius cervicis
      • Teres Major
      • Trapezius muscle
        Trapezius muscle
        In human anatomy, the trapezius is a large superficial muscle that extends longitudinally from the occipital bone to the lower thoracic vertebrae and laterally to the spine of the scapula...

  • Legs
    Human leg
    The human leg is the entire lower extremity or limb of the human body, including the foot, thigh and even the hip or gluteal region; however, the precise definition in human anatomy refers only to the section of the lower limb extending from the knee to the ankle.Legs are used for standing,...

    • Quadriceps
      • Rectus femoris
      • Vastus lateralis
      • Vastus intermedius
      • Vastus medialis
        Vastus medialis
        The vastus medialis , often called the 'teardrop' muscle, is a medially located muscle of the quadriceps.-Function:The vasti appear to act largely in a co-ordinated manner throughout the control of knee extension...

    • Hamstrings
      • Biceps femoris muscle
        Biceps femoris muscle
        The biceps femoris is a muscle of the posterior thigh. As its name implies, it has two parts, one of which forms part of the hamstrings muscle group.-Origin and insertion:It has two heads of origin;...

        • long head
        • short head
      • Semitendinosus
      • Semimembranosus
  • Hips
    Hip (anatomy)
    In vertebrate anatomy, hip refer to either an anatomical region or a joint.The hip region is located lateral to the gluteal region , inferior to the iliac crest, and overlying the greater trochanter of the femur, or "thigh bone"...

    • Gluteal muscles
      Gluteal muscles
      The gluteal muscles are the three muscles that make up the buttocks: the gluteus maximus muscle, gluteus medius muscle and gluteus minimus muscle.-The gluteal muscles:...

      • Gluteus maximus
      • Gluteus minimus
    • Piriformis
    • Superior gemellus
  • Forearms
    • Flexor digitorum profundus


Romanian deadlift: Unlike a standard deadlift, which begins from the floor with a concentric movement, this variation begins from the top. For this reason it is not technically a deadlift. Starting with an eccentric phase and incorporating a stretch reflex
Stretch shortening cycle
A stretch-shortening cycle can be defined as an active stretch of a muscle followed by an immediate shortening of that same muscle.-Research Studies:...

, it eliminates most of the quadriceps contribution, putting more emphasis on the hamstrings and glutes. It is performed by standing with barbell held in front of the body with knees unlocked and bending at the hip while keeping the back straight, then extending the hip to lockout.
  • Sumo
    is a competitive full-contact sport where a wrestler attempts to force another wrestler out of a circular ring or to touch the ground with anything other than the soles of the feet. The sport originated in Japan, the only country where it is practiced professionally...

    is a variation of the deadlift whereby the legs are spread far apart to the sides (arms reaching down inside of legs), mimicking a sumo stance, hence the name. This variation changes the emphasis of the lift to the legs instead of the back. The sumo deadlift is purported to be easier for those with large waists as well as those with relatively long torsos and shorter arms, and is mainly used by powerlifters to increase the amount of weight lifted, rather than as a training tool.


Deadlifts can be performed using dumbbells or barbells, with one hand or two hands & with one leg or two legs. Variations are only limited by the athlete's imagination. Other variations are the side deadlift or suitcase deadlift, deadlift from a box, rack pulls, deadlift lockouts, and "Kuck pulls."

The archaic "dead weight lift", or "dead weight lift with lifting bar" involved a T-bar with weight loaded on it while the lifter stood on sturdy chairs or other such platforms. A remarkably heavy amount of weight could be lifted in this manner due to its short range of motion; the main limitations are in the grip. This lift is similar to the modern day rack pulls, where a heavy amount of weight is lifted deadlift style a short distance in a power cage or squat rack.


Typically, there are two grips used: overhand, or pronated, and a mixed overhand-underhand (supinated) (sometimes called "offset," "staggered," "alternating", or "mixed") grip. Depending on forearm strength, the overhand grip may result in the bar potentially rolling about. Some argue the mixed grip is capable of neutralizing this through the "physics of reverse torsion." The mixed grip also allows more weight to be used for this reason.

In order to prevent the bar from rolling out of the hands, some lifters have been known to use an Olympic weightlifting technique known as the "hook" grip. This is similar to an overhand grip, but the thumbs are inside, allowing the lifter to "hook" onto them with the fingers. The hook grip can make it easier to hold heavier weights using less grip strength, and keeps both shoulders and elbows in a symmetrical position. While it theoretically takes much of the stress off of the joints which might be created by the twisting of a mixed grip it has the disadvantage of being extremely uncomfortable for the thumbs, something which those who advocate it says will pass once a lifter becomes accustomed to it. Another, but rarely used method is a combination of the mixed overhand-underhand grip and the hook grip, preferred by people who lift heavier weights than their grip can handle, but who don't want to rely on lifting straps or other supportive gear.

Many powerlifters adopt the overhand grip for their lower weight sets and move to the mixed grip to lift larger weights so they can achieve their one rep max.

The trapbar deadlift is a variation of the deadlift using a special U-shaped bar (a trapbar). This allows more clearance for the knees to pass "through" the bar. To perform the trapbar deadlift, one loads the bar, steps inside the hollow portion of the bar, bends down, grasps the handles, stands erect, then lowers the bar to the ground in the exact opposite path. Proponents of trapbar deadlifts include Hardgainer Magazine, Bob Whelan, the Cyberpump website, and Dr Ken Leistner
Ken Leistner
Ken Leistner is an American strength training writer, personal trainer, strength consultant for the National Football League, and chiropractor. He is often known as "Dr. Ken"....

 and iron-game writer Paul Kelso.

Further reading

  • Mark Rippetoe
    Mark Rippetoe
    Mark Rippetoe is a national-level, American strength training coach and author. He is one of the few strength athletics authorities to publish both peer-reviewed articles as well as books for the lay population...

    with Lon Kilgore, Starting Strength, The Aasgaard Company Publishers, 2005, ISBN 0-9768-0540-5
  • Frédéric Delavier, Strength Training Anatomy, Human Kinetics, 2001, ISBN 0-7360-4185-0

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.