The deadlift is one of the most popular weightlifting exercises used in gyms and training centers. It is performed by fitness experts and other people who want to improve muscle mass and their athletic abilities. The One-rep max deadlift calculator gives you an estimation of how much you can deadlift. When you perform a true one-rep max test the risk of injuries is severe. By using lighter weights and more repetitions we can estimate what your max deadlift could be.
But, how is this exercise performed, and where does the deadlift come from?
In today’s post, we’ll be answering these questions in detail. You’ll learn the history of the deadlift, how to perform it, the benefits of this exercise, and who holds the world records for the deadlift. Keep reading to find out everything you need to know!
The History of The Deadlift
The deadlift has a long history, but its origins are not entirely clear. Multiple iterations of the deadlift have cropped up in the last 300 years. And the way we perform the deadlift has evolved and improved in recent years.
Before the 1700s, though, less is known about how the deadlift came to be and who created this exercise. This is because there was not a standard name for the deadlift in its early history.
Possible Roman Origins
There are some interesting clues that can tell us more about this exercise. In particular, many experts believe that the deadlift had its origins in the Roman Empire. During the height of antiquity, Roman soldiers fought and won many battles, but they needed a way to deal with corpses that littered the battlefield.
Some historians believe that lifting techniques were taught to soldiers. This way, they would not hurt their back, picking up dead bodies. This could very well be the start of the deadlift and why this exercise is called the deadlift.
Possible Greek Origins
Other historical speculations point to Greek origins. Looking at artifacts from ancient Greece during the 6th century BC, there is evidence of men performing an exercise similar to the deadlift. A stone inscription on a Greek island describes a man lifting a boulder over his head and another man lifting his friend over his head in a deadlift-like motion. This could be another possible starting point of the deadlift.
Deadlifting in The 1700s
The earlier history of the deadlift is a little murky, but we know that the deadlift became more popularized in the 1700s. This was when strongmen and lifting competitions started to take place in public. In particular, the creation of the modern deadlift is credited to a British strongman.
Thomas Tophman was a well-known public figure who often lifted a heavy amount of weight in public for entertainment purposes. He also used harnesses and utilized a deadlift-like motion to lift upwards of 1800 pounds!
Deadlift in The 1800s
Silver dollar lifts were the next iteration of the deadlift that came around in the 1800s. Strongmen would lift barrels filled with silver dollars. The barrels were connected with a bar and look somewhat similar to modern weight bars. This lift is still seen in current weight lifting competitions.
Another 1800’s variation that was popular was called the health lift. With this type of deadlift, individuals stand on a raised platform. Then they hold a bar that is attached to weights with a string and lift the weights. George Windship was the first person to use this deadlift technique.
Deadlifting in The 1900s
In the 1900s, deadlifting became more modernized. German strongman Hermann Goerner became widely famous for his acts of strength. This included deadlifting close to 800 pounds. Many people consider him to be the father of deadlift since he made this exercise so popular.
And, from 1900 and on, deadlift records and other feats of strength were seen in competitions around the world. Weight lifting also became more popular at the Olympic Games, with people continuing to set even more impressive records in the 21st century. We’ll talk about this more in the final section of the post!
How to Perform A Deadlift The Right Way
The deadlift is a simple yet effective way to strengthen your body and grow your muscles fast. But, you want to be performing this exercise correctly. We’ll go over the steps for this exercise right here.
1. Approach You Bar and Position Your Feet
The first thing you want to do is approach your bar and position your feet correctly. Your feet should be hip-width apart and planted firmly in the ground. And you want your toes to be pointed outward. Your midfoot should also be under your weight bar, but you don’t want your shins touching your bar.
2. Have The Right Grip
The grip you hold your bar with is important, but there are a few variations of grip that you can try out. We recommend using an overhand grip to hold both hands out on the bar with the palms facing down. Your hands should be shoulder-width apart.
3. Don’t Forget to Bend Your Knees
Next, you are going to want to bend your knees. Bending your knees will save you pain and stress on your body. Bend as low as you can so you can really use a lot of force to project up. And your shins should be close to the bar but not touching it.
4. Lift Your Chest Up
After, start to straighten your back out. This can be done by lifting your chest up and keeping your butt down.
5. Prepare to Lift
Then, you just need to take a deep breath and prepare to lift the bar. Tense your muscles in your core, lock your elbows and flex your glutes.
6. Lift Your Bar
To lift your bar, you want to push from your feet and lift up the bar. Once you have gotten the bar past your knees, use your hips to drive forward and get the weight over your head. You should be fully standing by the end of this step.
7. Drop The Bar
To drop the bar, you want to do the opposite motion and let the weights lower down to the ground.
Common Mistakes and How to Fix Them
There are a few common mistakes that people make when they deadlift, and you want to avoid them by reading our tips here:
1. Using the Upper Body Too Much
Many people don’t bend their knees enough or don’t bend them at all. This can lead to major strain on your upper body. So bend your legs and make sure your shins are close to the bar but not touching the bar.
2. Arched Back
An arched back during a deadlift can be dangerous. So, make sure that your spine is neutral and straightened out. Again, you want to lift your chest up to avoid this mistake.
3. Not Creating Enough Momentum
When you deadlift, you need to have more dynamic motion and explosion. You are not simply pulling the bar up; you have to use your legs and hips to push away from the ground and bring the bar above your head. Bending your legs well and using your leg muscles will help you find more power.
4. You Keep The Bar Too Far Away
You want your bar to stay as close to you as possible. To do this, lift your bar vertically, and don’t let your bar push out in front of you too much.
5. Lift and Drop Your Bar At The Same Speed
It’s tempting to just drop your weight bar on the ground after you lift it. But, you can benefit from lowering your bar at the same speed you lifted it.
To correct this mistake, be more mindful, pay attention to the speed you are lifting and dropping, and try to match it. Gradually building up weight can also help you lower your bar with more ease.
Benefits of The Deadlift
1. It’s Not Complicated to Learn This Move
One of the biggest benefits of deadlifts is the simplicity of this move. Anyone who wants to get into strength training can use this move to improve their muscular mass. Use the right form and build up your weight. This can be highly beneficial for your skeletal and muscular development.
2. You Can Target Your Glutes
If you are looking to improve your glute muscles directly, this is the exercise for you. The deadlift targets and improves this large muscle fast!
3. Improves Back Pain
Deadlifts might not seem like an ideal form of exercise for back pain. However, if you strengthen the muscles in your back, this can lead to less pain over time and can even give you more back mobility and flexibility.
4. Burns Tons of Calories
Finally, deadlifts burn a ton of calories. If you do this exercise right, you can even burn more calories than running. This is because your body continues to burn fat after you have performed a deadlift.
Muscles Engaged By The Deadlift
The deadlift engages many different groups of muscles. This includes areas in both the upper and lower body. We’ll talk about the specific muscles groups impacted by this exercise here:
– This exercise first hits the gluteus maximus, which helps shape the buttocks and parts of the hip.
– Then, the deadlift starts to work on your quadriceps femoris, which goes from the hip to the front of the knees.
– For the final group in the lower body, the deadlift will strengthen your hamstrings which consist of three muscles that help flex your knees.
-For the upper body, this deadlift will strengthen your trapezius muscle which is located near the top region of the back.
– It also affects the latissimus dorsi, which is located below the trapezius and covers most of the lower back.
– Finally, this exercise will target the erector spinae. This muscle lies along the spinal column and helps you rotate your back.
World Records For The Deadlift (Men & Women)
Deadlift Records For Men
- Standard Equipped Deadlift (with a deadlift suit and straps) – (1,105 lb) held by Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson
- Standard Raw Deadlift (no deadlift suit or straps)- (1,014 lb) held by Benedikt Magnússon
- Elephant Bar Deadlift (with straps) – (1,045 lb) held by Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson
- Hummer Tire Deadlift (with straps) – (1,202 lb) held by Jean-Francois Caron
Deadlift Records For Women
- Standard Raw Deadlift (no deadlift suit or straps) – (672 lb) held by Becca Swanson,
- Elephant Bar Deadlift (with straps) – (622 lb) held by Andrea Thompson