What are the Main Muscles Active During the Deadlift?

See a full description of the lifting technique for the deadlift. The deadlift is actually a total body exercise. In other words, to some extent, every muscle in the body becomes involved. It would be impossible to accurately outline the contribution of every single muscle group during the deadlift, especially since this can change as the weight on the bar is increased and the lift becomes more challenging. However, comparisons can be made to another core lift, the back squat. And the main active muscles groups can be listed.

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The Dynamic Barbell Row: A Semantic Exercise

Dynamic rows, according to whom you ask, are the same thing as the "Pendlay Row" or the "JS Row" both of which are apparently the same exercise. A deloaded row, this version of the barbell row is deemed to "activate" the latissimus dorsi more than a regular barbell row and allow you to lift heavier weights. Although there are many iterations in technique for this, which are not worth my time to try and outline, the basic gist is as follows:

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One Legged Deadlift? What is That? And What Does it Do for your Strength Training?

I am seeing enough one legged deadlifts or "single leg deadlifts" that I am compelled to make a point about how something becomes a deadlift. For something to become a deadlift, you must lift if from a "dead stop" off the floor. Why off the floor? Because if you only say "dead stop" as a way of categorizing a lift you end up in a goofy world where exercises in which the bar "stops" can be called a deadlift. A deadlift is not a category of lifts…it is simply one lift with some variations that are similar but not technically "deadlifts."

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March 28, 2012: Huge Exercise List And High Blood Pressure

Although there is a lot of talk about "GUS training" or "GUS workouts" I always try to emphasize that Ground Up Strength is not a brand but a source of information. That may go against the tenants of good marketing but it keeps GUS from being added to the pile of problems. However, there are a few characteristics of a GUS "way" of doing things that tend to take trainees by surprise and even get them a little concerned. One of the biggest sources of fear is when we immediately start asking a trainee to prioritize his or her training…to prick a few primary lifts that will be placed up front in training and focused on more aggressively than other lifts and of course more than secondary exercises.

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Rubber Band Hand Extensions

All muscle groups have corresponding antagonist groups and the muscles of grip are no exception. While the gripping of objects is a performed by the flexion muscles of grip, the opposite action, opening the hand, is performed by the extensors. Perform grip training but make sure to also spend some time exercising the extensors of the hand. These muscles are exercised simply by opening the hand against resistance. There are several effective methods, such as opening the hand after pushing it into a bucket of sand, but banded hand extensions are by far the easiest to use, and there is absolutely no need to buy expensive elastic band to do them.

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Should I Push or Pull for Deadlifts?

I see this all the time. Should I just call this blog the "false dichotomy" blog? However, if there is one thing I hate more than people always preaching one of two extremes in strength training it's people teaching the deadlift that don't know what they are doing.

Verbal cues become mental cues. Mental cues slowly morph into mental imagery. Mental imagery becomes a visual mental schema of the lift. What am I saying in plain language here? I am saying that the words people use will eventually affect the way you "look" at an exercise with your mind's eye. It will 'become' that word. If I say "wet" to you then you visualize water. You don't think about the concept of "wetness" in some abstract way. Well, the same thing goes for most everything, whether you wish it or not.

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What Muscle Should I Feel Working When I Do Deadlifts and Why Do I Feel It Mostly in My Back?

One of the most common questions about deadlifts is what muscle group you should predominantly feel working during the deadlift. Also related to this is where you should expect to get DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) after you deadlift.

These questions occur because many trainees have been told, rightly, that the deadlift is not a "back exercise" but a hip dominant exercise that utilizes the entire posterior chain. So, when trainees feel that most of the work seems to be centered in the lower back, they become concerned that they are not performing the lift correctly.

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Deloaded Barbell Rows

Deloaded Barbell Rows are rows requiring the resistance (or weight) to be deloaded onto the floor after each repetition performed. Therefore, every repetition performed is done so from a dead stop and the bar is picked up off the floor or a raised platform (if required), unlike a regular barbell row in which the bar remains suspended above the floor and tension is maintained in the body, shoulders, and arms.

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Pinch Grip Dumbbell Deadlifts

The video below is self-explanatory so I'm going to list some small tips which make this exercise more efficient:

  • Learn to apply grip tension while keeping your entire arm loose and un-flexed. The challenge is to be able to make a tight fist while keeping your upper arm and shoulder loose.
  • Progress by adding weight. After a point you will need to branch off into something else (once it becomes too difficult to pinch the dumbbell).

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Rope Pull-ups

The video below is plenty helpful - I won't go putting it all into words. I am going to list some tips/suggestions:

  • Remember this is a Grip Training Exercise.
  • Progression is via adding weight to your body or adding reps or sets. Basically you have total load, volume and workload to play with.
  • When you grip the towel remember to have it rotating in a cross counter fashion in terms of hand-to-hand. What I mean is, for example if you're rotating the towel in a counter clockwise direction with your left hand, you should be rotating/twisting the towel in a clockwise direction with your right hand.

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Unilateral Lat Pulldowns

Exercise Description with Video: Unilateral Lat Pulldowns

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Unilateral Press With Lunge

Exercise Description of the Unilateral Press with Lunge

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Dumbbell Lunge Press (aka Dumbbell Lunge and Press)

Also called a front lunge press, the dumbbell lunge press is basically a lunge combined with an overhead press. It can be performed with dumbbells in one or both hands and with a front or reverse lunge. This exercise is not only a great stability challenge and a full body strength exercise it is a great conditioning challenge and perfect for incorporating into conditioning days. Heavy weights are not required to make this exercise demanding.

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How to Perform the Front Squat Exercise (Barbell)

The barbell front squat is a squat carried out with the barbell positioned in the clean position, the bar resting on the lifters front deltoids. Front squats allow a more upright torso position than barbell back squats and are an excellent alternative or adjunct exercise. This article is meant to be basic technique instruction for the lift, followed by a discussion of the clean grip, which is the preferred grip for the front squat. Then follows many very useful tips and other information.

Although the clean grip is recommended this article assumes that the trainee is using the front squat as a stand-alone exercise and not as part of the development of the Clean or the Clean and Jerk. As such there will be no need to actually clean the bar to the shoulders.

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Front Planks

Front Planks are a core exercise - which means they target your core muscles: the abdominal muscles and the lower back with the structural supporting muscles kicking in as well. This works the stabilization function of the abdominals and back and a co-contraction of these muscle groups is necessary to maintain the plank position. Front squats, in this way, are also an example of two sides of the body functioning in tandem rather than as agonist/antagonist.

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