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What muscles are worked in deadlifts

In recent years, bodybuilding exercises have become increasingly popular, and among them the deadlift has gained great relevance. This not only gives you the opportunity to demonstrate your strength and endurance, but it will also help you build a solid base for other sporting activities, since it works several of the most important muscle groups.

In today's blog we will try to explain a little more about the deadlift, its benefits , the ways to practice it and we will give some tips to perform the exercise correctly.

Girl practicing deadlift

What is the deadlift for?

The deadlift is a very complete exercise with several purposes and applications , including:

  • Development of muscle strength: This exercise is one of the most complete and effective for developing muscle strength throughout the body, as it involves more than one muscle group. Using the deadlift we lift significant amounts off the ground, activating muscles of both the lower and upper body.
  • Strengthening the back : When lifting the bar from the floor, one of the parts of the body that does the most work is the back, strengthening muscles such as the trapezius or rhomboids. Deadlifts, performed correctly, help prevent back injuries , improve posture, and provide a solid foundation for some everyday movements and activities.
  • Improved stability and coordination : The deadlift requires great stability and coordination when performed correctly. By practicing this exercise we will gradually improve, strengthen our stabilizing muscles and our coordination .
  • Activation of multiple muscle groups : The deadlift is one of the most complete strength exercises that can be performed today, if not the most. As we have already mentioned, it not only helps us work the muscles of the lower body, but also those of the upper body, which makes it an ideal exercise to train the entire body in one session.

Strengthening back muscles thanks to deadlifts

Benefits of deadlifts

As we have been saying throughout the post, the deadlift is a very complete exercise and therefore offers a wide range of benefits for health and physical performance, among which we can highlight:

  • Strength and power development : The deadlift is essential for strengthening muscle strength and power throughout the body. Lifting heavy loads helps muscle growth and adaptation, leading to a comprehensive improvement in strength and the ability to generate explosive force .
  • Improved sports performance : Beyond the benefit for the sport itself such as powerlifting or physical conditioning, athletes from all walks of life can benefit from an exercise such as the deadlift. Thanks to the work of so many muscles and explosive strength, it is key in sports such as athletics or basketball.
  • Stimulation of muscle growth: The deadlift is a strength exercise that creates a high demand on the neuromuscular system , and as such, stimulates muscle growth.
  • Improvement of body composition: it is a very demanding exercise on a muscular and cardiovascular level, since it requires a large amount of energy. Therefore, deadlifts can contribute to calorie burning and fat loss, increasing the percentage of muscle mass and reducing body fat .
  • Functional benefits in everyday life : The deadlift also has practical applications in daily life. It will allow us to stay healthy at a muscular level and face the small challenges of daily life more easily , such as carrying shopping bags or carrying your children on our shoulders, in addition to preventing back injuries .

Man carrying his son in his arms

Muscles involved in the deadlift exercise

Several muscle groups are activated during deadlifts. As there are different types of deadlifts, the muscles that are worked the most may vary slightly depending on the type of deadlift performed, but in general we can highlight:

Back muscles:

Back muscles worked with deadlifts

The back muscles are the most important when doing deadlifts. Some are located in the spine and help maintain stability and coordination during lifting the bar. Among all the muscles of the back, the following stand out: the spinal erectors , the trapezius , the latissimus dorsi , the rhomboids and the deltoids .


Glutes worked with deadlifts

The gluteus is the one that finishes the deadlift movement, locking the body in the final position, with the back leaning slightly backward. The gluteus maximus has special importance, which is the one that does most of the work.


Hamstrings worked with deadlifts

The “ hamstrings ,” located at the back of the thigh , are also significantly activated during the deadlift. The hamstrings assist in hip flexion and knee extension, which helps generate the force needed to lift the bar.


Quadriceps worked with deadlifts

The quadriceps , located in the front of the thigh , work to extend the knee during the lift, as do the hamstrings. Body stabilization is achieved through the quadriceps during lifting the bar.

Muscles of the hind leg:

Rear leg muscles worked with the deadlift

As we have been saying throughout the post, thanks to the deadlift you will be able to activate many muscle groups, larger or smaller but no less important, such as in this case the calves or the soleus , which will give us support when lifting the bar.


Core muscles worked with the deadlift

The core muscles, including the abdominals and the muscles of the lower back , help maintain and protect the spine during lifting.

Gripping muscles:

Gripping muscles worked with the deadlift

We have already talked about the main muscle groups, but the arms and forearms also perform fundamental work throughout the exercise, being the first point of strength in lifting the bar.


How to do the deadlift

These are the steps to follow to perform the conventional deadlift correctly and that will allow us to avoid the most common injuries:

  1. Starting position: Stand in front of the bar with your feet shoulder-width apart and hold your breath a couple of times before grabbing the bar.
  2. Bar Grip : Bend your knees and squat down to grab the bar with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Make sure you have a good grip on the bar before you start lifting to avoid injuries or falls.
  3. Body position : The most important thing during the deadlift exercise is to keep your back straight . Look forward and keep your abdomen contracted so that the spine is protected from any lack of stability.
  4. Lifting the bar: Control your breathing in the moments before starting the exercise and when you release the air, begin the lift with the muscles of the lower body. Keep the bar in line with your legs as you rise. When the bar goes up, always keep your back straight to avoid any damage to the spine.
  5. Final position : Once you are completely standing, with your hips and knees extended, breathe out again and stay in that position for a few moments, ending the movement with your glutes . Keep in mind that you have to have full control of the bar before you start descending.
  6. Controlled lowering : To lower the bar, bend your hips and knees while keeping your back straight . Lower the bar in a controlled manner, maintaining contact with your legs until it touches the floor again.

Step by step of how to do the deadlift

Types of deadlifts

There are different variations of the deadlift that suit different goals and skill levels . Next, we will mention some of the most common types of deadlifts:

Conventional deadlift:

It is the classic variant of the deadlift and the one we have explained above. Being the most common and best known, it is the one used in competitions. In this exercise the muscle groups that are worked the most are the glutes , hamstrings , quadriceps and back muscles.

Man performing conventional deadlift

Sumo deadlift:

In this variation, the bar is gripped with much tighter hands and the feet are placed wider than in the conventional deadlift. The sumo deadlift works the glutes and adductors of the legs more than the conventional deadlift.

Woman performing sumo deadlift

Romanian deadlift:

During the Romanian deadlift exercise, the legs and knees remain slightly bent and the bar does not touch the ground on the way down, but remains a few centimeters away. This exercise is focused on strengthening the hamstrings and glutes .

Man performing the Romanian deadlift

One leg deadlift:

Also known as pistol deadlift, it involves performing the exercise with the support of only one leg , allowing us to improve stability and all the leg and core muscles.

Man performing one leg deadlift

Kettlebell deadlift:

Getting started directly with the deadlift with a barbell is difficult, which is why we recommend starting to perform the deadlift with the Kettlebell as a reference. The technique is the same as the conventional deadlift .

Man performing deadlifts with kettlebells

As in all sports, technique is essential , but it is even more so in exercises in which a high weight is carried, such as the deadlift. During the practice of these, if we do not perform the exercise properly we may suffer serious injuries in vital areas of the body such as the spine. Always remember to perform the exercise with proper technique and start with loads appropriate to your skill level to prevent injury.

Ultimately, the deadlift is an essential exercise in any strength training program due to its ability to work multiple muscle groups and develop strength throughout the body.

Regardless of your goals, incorporating deadlifts into your routine will help you improve your strength, stability, and body composition.

At Sportech Fitness we have all the necessary equipment to work on strength, with discs and bars of different weights so that people of all levels or profiles can perform exercises tailored to their needs. Call us and get to it!
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Gracias Leonardo!

Sportech Fitness



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