The squat is consider by many as the King of Exercises, that’s fair. But if that is the case, then the deadlift is one better – the Emperor of Exercises and the deadliest gym move.
The deadlift has been around for decades, the true alpha weightlifting move. However, of late it has re-emerged as a favorite exercise in gyms, rising from behind the shadows of the beloved squat. Gym-goers and personal trainers alike are beginning to realize the greatness of this lift and all of the benefits that come with it.
Squats begin in a more advantageous standing position and the first part of the squat is the eccentric lowering phase. Whereas, with the deadlift you are thrown straight in at the deep end. The deadlift is unlike any other lift in terms of employing major muscle groups all over the body – the ultimate compound lift.
All serious weightlifters should include deadlifts in their exercise regimen because of the testosterone and growth hormone release they produce. Studies have proved that heavy compound lifting, like deadlifting, use the most muscle groups and release the most amount of these crucial hormones.
Posterior Chain and Core
Two underworked areas of the body are the posterior chain and the core – essential for athletic performance. The posterior chain and core are also essential for everyday well-being. The posterior chain is made up of the muscles located on the back of the body (hamstrings/ glutes etc). Due to their location, these muscles are often neglected because they cannot be seen in a mirror. Deadlifts effectively activate the posterior chain and the core muscles, including the rectus abdominis and obliques, which is important for overall body composition and posture.
Strength and Size
If your aim is to pack on some muscle or increase strength gains, then the deadlift is here to help. As already mentioned it works more muscles than any other exercise and it is one of the easiest lifts to train near-maximal loads with no danger. Hypertrophy is brought on by deadlifting because you recruit the highest-threshold motor units by lifting such heavy loads.
Strength is synonymous with the deadlift. In a powerlifting context the lift is associated with the true measure of strength. The lift requires an iron grip, robust arms and a killer back in order to perform, which is why this compound lift is the most common traditional lift for strongman competitors.
Even if you are not a bodybuilder and simply want to lose weight, it is still beneficial to perform deadlifts. As mentioned, the deadlift works almost every single muscle in your body so it burns an enormous amount of energy and calories. Due to the lift working so many muscles, the amount of oxygen used by your body in post-workout recovery, known as EPOC, raises your metabolic rate. The release of hormones caused by deadlifting can also positively affect fat burning.
Other General Advantages
Alongside the benefits of the Emperor of Exercises as mentioned above are numerous other general advantages to deadlifting. It is an exercise that can be applied in everyday life, such as lifting objects from the ground, playing with your children and moving furniture. In that sense, it is a very functional move. It is a very basic lift, which requires minimal equipment and no fancy gadgets. Your general health, such as your spine strength and posture, can be positively affected by deadlifting. It's highly recommended that you protect your back during your workout routine, a posture corrector would help. A benefit that will stand you in good stead as you age.
By no means is this article in existence to belittle the squat, it is rightly the king of exercises. However, the deadlift, sometimes forgotten, is an imperative exercise that is worthy of its new role at the helm of the gym – the Emperor.