The Deadlift is probably my favorite exercise of all time. Let’s be honest, is there anything more visceral than lifting as much weight as you possibly can straight up off the floor? Not really. Further, the deadlift is absolutely amazing in what it will do for transforming your body AND your mind. Want to be mentally tough? Strap hundreds of pounds barbell and lift it off the floor. The same thing goes for the squat, of course. Throw some weight on your back, squat down, stand up, repeat for the next 10 years. Enjoy being strong AF.
- Your ENTIRE body gets strong
- You enhance neuromuscular function and motor control
- You build explosive power, which is hugely overlooked in the fitness community
- you develop mental fortitude (deadlifts are hard, go figure)
Want to have legitimate strength? I think Alan Thrall (if you don’t know who this guy is and you’re even remotely into strength training, you should) says it best:
“If you can deadlift 400 lbs, you will not be weak. If you can squat 300 lbs, you will not be weak.”
This quote is easy to overlook, but there is a ton of truth to it. In terms of developing your entire body, there are no better movements than the deadlift and the squat. Additionally, many people aren’t truly aware how much technique there is to performing these exercises CORRECTLY. However, the deadlift works a TON of muscle groups:
- Gluteus Maximus: (Butt)
- Quadriceps: (Upper Front legs)
- Adductor Magnus: (Inner Thigh)
- Soleus: (Smaller part of your calf muscle)
- Hamstrings: (Upper back of legs)
- Gastrocnemius: (bigger part of your calf muscle)
- Erector Spinae: (lower back)
- Trapezius, upper: (upper neck muscles)
- Trapezius, middle: (middle neck muscles)
- Levator Scapulae: (the muscle from your jaw to your shoulder)
- Rhomboids: ( upper inner back muscles right below your neck)
- Rectus Abdominis: (abs)
- Obliques: (side abs)
In other words, for the low price of ONE MOVEMENT, you get to work:
- ENTIRE back (traps, upper, lower)
Arm Day Is Bad, So Get Rid Of It
in terms of efficiency, there’s really no better bang for your buck than deadlifting. If you go to the gym and you think about curls, tricep extensions, or crunches as your main exercise, sorry but you dun goof’d! Don’t be the guy who looks like this:
Please, just please don’t. This doesn’t look good, I doubt you feel good with the crazy upper/lower body muscular imbalance, and you’re missing out on SO much athletic performance if you neglect deadlifts. You’re literally neglecting half of your body.
Deadlift Benefits: Developing Mental Strength
Among the many deadlift benefits, developing mental toughness is probably my favorite. While mental toughness has nothing to (directly) do with your physical performance, the mental aspect of lifting is just as important. If you aren’t mentally tough, you won’t stick to a routine. If you aren’t mentally tough, you might have poor programming. If you aren’t mentally tough, I doubt you’re able to stick to a difficult diet when push comes to shove. The list goes on and on…..but the point is that developing your mental toughness will reap huge benefits in so many aspects of your life.
“Why does deadlifting develop mental toughness?”
Because deadlifts are hard as hell to do correctly! It’s an exercise that:
- is extremely demanding on your central nervous system
- requires you to be able to recruit a TON of muscle fibers given how many muscles are working to move the weight
- requires a very high level of focus to ensure good form throughout the lift
It’s the reason most people in the gym stick to curls, the occasional treadmill jog, or a few crunches here and there. By repeatedly doing something that is very difficult, you train your mind to cope with stress just as much as your body. Developing mental strength is what will allow you to have great programming, stick to your routines, and see real results. Therefore, if you want to be truly strong, you need to deadlift more. A lot more.
If you couple good weight programming (I.E. doing deadlifts and doing them consistently) with good DIET programming, I think you’ll be astounded by the results you see.