Technically the king of all back exercises, the barbell deadlift, is much more than simply a back exercise. It is a full body exercises and the ultimate compound body movement. Working practically every muscle group from the calves to the traps, the barbell deadlift is essential for any back program when you are looking to build both size and strength in the back. Most deadlift variations are also great choices to strengthen your bone structure in addition to the back muscles.
Outside of all of the muscular benefits that the barbell deadlift provides, it is one of the most functional exercises out there. It replicates a basic movement of pulling something off of the ground.
The deadlift is also an exercise that requires little equipment. The movement can be performed with simply a barbell and some free weights. If even that basic equipment is not present, dumbbells can be used as can kettlebells or any various heavy objects.
Barbell Deadlift Instructions
Approach a barbell on the floor with your feet hip-width apart and the bar centered over your feet.
Bend at the hip to grab the bar at shoulder-width apart and allow your shoulder blades to protract.
Grip the bar with a standard grip or an alternate grip (preferred).
Take a big breath, lower the hips and flex the knees until the shins touch the bar.
Look forward while keeping the chest up and bark arched.
Drive through the heels to move the weight upward.
Once the bar passes the knees, pull the bar back by pulling the shoulder blades together while driving the hips forward into the bar.
Lower the bar by bending at the hips and return the bar to the floor.
Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.
Barbell Deadlift Variations
Quad-Dominant Sumo Deadlift
Hip Dominant Sumo Deadlift
Romanian Deadlift (Stiff Leg)
Trap Bar Deadlift
Snatch Grip Deficit Deadlift