Move Over Squats, Deadlift is King!

deadlift

There has been much debate as to whether squats or deadlifts are better for building muscle. A recent study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that deadlifting twice a week for 10 weeks improved speed and power by to 49% during explosive movements. In terms of power and strength, deadlifts are one the best exercises that can help take your training from average to above average. What makes deadlifts so special is that the movement produces total body strength due to the amount of muscle activation that takes places when properly performing the exercise. If you’re serious about adding strength and making improvements in your training, deadlifts are the way to go for both men and women.

erectors-glutes-hamstrings

Muscles activated while deadlifting:

  • Gluteus Maximus
  • Back (erector spinae)
  • Quadriceps
  • Adductors
  • Hamstrings
  • Trapezius
  • Forearm
  • Abs

* Many other smaller muscles activate to increase stabilization throughout the movement, making deadlift a movement that produces fast results

See below to read more about the study:

What’s more, “improving maximal force output with large muscle mass exercises is likely to have carryover to other dynamic movements such as sprinting and box jumps,” explains study author Matt Stock, Assistant Professor in the Department of Health, Exercise & Sport Sciences at Texas Tech University in Lubbock—which is great news if you’ve been working to master plyometric moves.

Performing a deadlift isn’t just good for putting some power behind your next sweat session. “It has huge allover benefits,” says Faheem Mujahid, owner and master trainer at Influence Atelier in Miami. “Not only does the majority of the exercise isolate and target the glutes and the hamstrings, but the quadriceps are involved as well, by helping to extend the knee joint. Plus, it is one of the few exercises that works the adductor magnus, which helps provide leg stability.”

Stock adds: “It is particularly useful because it relies heavily on our often forgotten about muscles of the ‘posterior chain’—the hamstrings, glutes, and spinal erectors. Ignoring these muscles within an exercise program has potentially dangerous consequences, particularly as we age and for knee health during sports.”

Effective as they may be, deadlifts can wreak havoc on your back if done incorrectly. The key to getting them right: Really working to engage the transverse abdominis muscles. “If that’s not happening, all the pressure will hit the spine, which is a big no-no,” says Mujahid. “When the transverse abs are engaged properly, it automatically engages the thoracic lumbar fascia [muscle in the lower spine] at the same time, which offers spine protection.”

How do you know if you’ve got a handle on your core? Try this trick that Mujahid uses with his clients: “I tie a piece of yarn or a pair of shoelaces in a knot around my client’s waist. Whenever the core isn’t engaged, my client will feel pressure from the string,” he explains. “Feeling that contraction against the core gives them a little reminder to pull in that belly button.” Via news.health.com

Photo: Muscleandfitness.com

Ilen Bell is a certified fitness professional and co-founder of Black Fitness Today. His passion for community advocacy, producing relevant stories and providing tools and resources that cater to the underserved African American community remain at the forefront. His credentials include advanced education in exercise science and internet marketing, the fitness industry highly-respected certified strength and conditioning specialist certification, and multiple web fitness series on top websites LIVESTRONG.com and eHOW.com. He is focused on further building explosive, dynamic and approachable brands to help the African American man and woman feel empowered, valued and identified in the global health and fitness industry.

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