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Deadlifting is an important exercise for all athletes and it’s importance even trickles into the lives of everyday people. There only a few exercises that target both the upper and lower body and deadlifts are among the best. Executing the proper form for deadlifts is paramount and the risks are crucial.

Deadlift Phases

Pull, Drive and Lockout

The deadlift has 3 main phases of the lift which are the pull, drive and lockout phases. During each phase your body transitions into blasting another muscle group. For example, the pull or initial phase of the lift targets your back, and butt muscles more. Then during the drive portion your back and butt muscles are still engaged and your leg muscles begin driving the weight. Finally, for the lockout phase of the deadlift you must lockout the weight by slightly thrusting your hips forward and contracting your abs.

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The five muscles to strengthen are your back, gluteal, hip, leg and core muscles.

Back Muscles

Lower Back, Traps, Rhomboids, Lats

The best exercises to build a strong back are bent-over rows, shoulder shrugs, seated rows, lat pull downs, upright rows, hyperextensions, pull up and chin ups. These exercises not only build strong back muscles but increase the functionality needed to perform good deadlifts.

Glute, Leg & Hip Muscles

Hamstrings, Quadriceps and Glutes

The best exercises to build lower body strength and muscle are squats, deadlifts, good mornings, leg extensions, leg curls, leg press and power cleans. These movements build explosive strength and raw power that are necessary to increase your max deadlift.

Core Muscles

Abs, Lower Back and Obliques

We covered how you can strengthen your lower back earlier but your core also houses your abdominal muscles. Abs are important for helping you deadlift more weight, full contraction and abdominal strength are the keys.

The best core strengthening exercises are leg raises, planks, russian twists, sit ups, crunches and side bends.

Deadlift Variations

Just like many other exercises, deadlifting has alternative variations like the sumo, stiff-legged, single leg and romanian deadlift.

With each variation comes a different style that you can apply. These styles are: how and where you grip the bar, whether you or the weight is at an elevation and what type of equipment you use.

Knowing that, it’s fairly simple to apply new styles of deadlifting once you get a feel for your weaknesses throughout each phase of the lift.

All deadlift variations play a role in developing strength that increases your deadlift.