I told you a while back that the king of all weight training exercises is unequivocally the squat. I won’t pedal backwards on that declaration.
That said, if you aim to build power, speed, strength and athleticism, you’ll want to incorporate dead lifts. As an ancillary benefit, if you go hard enough, your back will look like a cobra’s.
Most folks think the dead lift is a lower body exercise, and it is, but it might be the best possible move for your upper body as well. In actuality, it’s a total body performance perfectly capable of building power from the soles of your feet and up. From powerlifter and strength coach, Andy Bolton:
The deadlift is an amazing exercise and one that you should include in your strength training routine if you want to add slabs of granite hard muscle to your body from head-to-toe, strengthen your posterior chain, and increase athletic performance. In fact, there may be no better exercise for working the hamstrings, glutes, entire back, and grip, and for making you bigger, faster, and stronger.
We often talk around here about the various factors responsible for building confidence. I can’t speak for women, but for men, strength is a substantial contributor. Every seven days, as part of my 5 x 5 program, I deadlift twice. On the days when my power is on point, I leave my sessions feeling invincible.
Think back to when you were a kid. How did you put your physical strength on display? You likely picked up a heavy object, or your little brother, and beamed with pride. That’s precisely what the dead lift is. It’s picking up the heaviest possible object and owning it.
Now, those who can pick up the heaviest objects can also physically negotiate life more seamlessly. We can grab shit and move it around with ease, whether it be boxes or suitcases or other humans.
This is a lifestyle site, read by professional athletes. As such, I often write for them. Gentleman (and ladies), performing dead lifts powerfully will make you a better baseball player, boxer, basketball player or sprinter. From stack.com:
Few exercises are simpler than the Deadlift. The move essentially mimics squatting down and picking something up off of the floor. Yet, it’s acclaimed as one of the best exercises for athletes who want to get stronger, faster and more powerful.
Almost all fundamental sports skills, like running, jumping, throwing and tackling, start when you put power into the ground. The power travels up through your core and into your upper body. So, the more force you put into the ground, the better you will perform the skills for your sport.”
Perhaps you’re not an athlete. You just want a more muscular physique and are perpetually hunting a V shape. No judgment there; you’re human. We like to think logically around here. Which of the following options will more likely inspire your back muscles (think cobra) to expand and become denser? Sitting down at a machine and utilizing a pulley to lift a stack of say, 200 pounds, assisted? Or, bending down and lifting 500 from the floor, unassisted? Exactly.
Deadlifting is the base upon which back strength is built. Deadlifts stress every major muscle group in the posterior chain, from the base of the erectors to the top of the traps.
Whatever your gender or profession, if you can choose only two exercises for athletic and physique development, choose the squat and the deadlift. Oh, and read a book, muscle-head.