The following was written by PTDC coach Dean Somerset. It originally ran on his site deansomerset.com and is reedited and republished here with permission. Thanks to the awesome community at thePTDC’s Facebook page for contributing pictures to use in this post.
Featured in the images used here with permission are: Kory Allen, Crisaldo Santos Carasig, Thomas Cole and his purple sock, Lindsay Aceto, Natalie Allport, Gabriella Laster, Arlin Lagendijk, Caleb Thomas, and Jacob Beermann.
Why the Deadlift Exercise is the Best of All Time
1. Most back pain comes from weak glutes. The best glute exercises is and will always be deadlifts.
2. Most back pain also comes from weak spinal erectors that cannot maintain a specific position. Deadlifts train the spine to remain stable while exposed to stupidly high shear forces, and thus making you Superman.
3. Chicks dig guys with strong powerful glutes
4. Guys dig chicks with strong powerful glutes
5. (Some) guys dig guys with strong powerful glutes
6. (Way more) chicks dig chicks with strong powerful glutes
7. Deadlifts are a total body exercise, working muscles from your toenails to your hair follicles.
8. It gives short guys a way to feel superior to tall guys.
9. It gives tall guys another reason to hate short guys.
10. No matter how many times you’ve done it, you can always do it better.
11. 2 words: Zercher Deadlifts
12. Very few people qualify to be able to do a deadlift as the required mobility from the hips, thoracic spine and ankles is incredibly high. This means I’ll be kept busy for a very long time teaching and fixing people who pull stuff like this.
13. Your testosterone will spike with each 1 rep max, roughly 13246% your regular walking around levels, which means you’ll be more likely to impregnate casual observers with nothing more than an icy stare, disrupt gang fights with your mere presence, and become the next supplier of Red Bull by bottling your urine.
14. Squats don’t have the same effect on the scapula and rotator cuff in terms of their stability and ability to withstand distraction forces. This makes deadlifting a great rotator cuff exercise, while requiring a lot from the lower body.
15. The most enjoyable things in life require triple extension from the hips, knees and ankles. In the most pure form, we could say deadlifts are Darwinian, rewarding those who have exceeded in developing strong hip extension capacity.
16. The endorphin release from 1 rep of deadlifts is on par with runner’s high, meaning you can get the same fix with 1/100 the amount of time investment, and you can wear way cooler clothes too.
17. I would argue with anyone that your lats are the most important muscle group in your body. Deadlifts work the hell out of them in multiple planes.
18. Every athlete can improve at almost every dimension of their sport by becoming better at deadlifting.
19. “My back is weak/sore” is a reason to do deadlifts, not a reason to avoid them.
20. No crunch could train the abs to work as hard or to become as hypertrophied as learning how to breathe and brace for a max pull.
21. Your back gets shredded!
22. Every pushing movement requires hip extension, whether you believe it or not. Hence deadlifting can increase your bench press.
23. Women can deliver babies easier by having control of the creation of intraabdominal pressure, a strong pelvic floor, and can survive the rigours of delivery with fewer soft tissue injuries by having a strong deadlift prior to third trimester, and those who are very strong prior to conception will likely deliver a baby that slaps the hell out of the doctor and changes their own diapers. That’s science.
24. No matter how awesome you think you are, you need to deadlift with chains.
25. Growth hormone release is at its’ highest following maximal resistance training exercise that encompasses the greatest amount of muscle mass.
26. If you’re a guy who has trouble adding muscle, heavy deadlifts will help you out due to the testosterone and growth hormone alterations, which play on muscle hypertrophy.
27. Sorry ladies, you don’t have enough testosterone to get big from doing heavy deadlifts alone. Female body builders need a lot more than heavy deadlifts to gain size.
28. Bruce Lee did deadlifts with Franco Columbu. Chuck Norris did the Total Gym with Christie Brinkley. That is why Chuck Norris is now a series of jokes, and why Bruce Lee is no joke.
29. Kim Kardashian went to Gunnar Peterson. He said she had to do deadlifts. Then she went to Tracy Anderson who said she didn’t have to do deadlifts. At that very point in time her series was renewed on television. Hence, deadlifts could have saved us from another season of “Keeping up with the Kardashians.” This is reason enough.
30. Short lifters can develop more strength due to higher degrees of torque through shorter levers, whereas taller lifters can develop more velocity due to higher bar speeds at the same relative speed if measured in degrees per second at the hip joint, due to their longer levers.
31. Chicks dig long levers.
32. Marathon runners need to do deadlifts to develop a kick and to improve velocity, efficiency, stride length, and sprinting power, all things important to running fast and to make your body more efficient.
33. Biceps are incredibly active during deadlifts, as they keep your elbow from distracting itself apart, and provide anterior shoulder stability. If you want arms, lift something heavy.
34. Deadlifting helps you poop better. You want to poop better. Trust me.
35. The development of intra-abdominal pressure helps train pelvic floor muscles and stimulate the colon to produce peristaltic wave contractions, which helps you to poop. Told you.
36. Power and strength are the two defining characteristics that, when lost, determine function on old age. Losing power and strength limits your ability to do everything, from standing and sitting on the toilet to getting in and out of a car, to climbing stairs, and even breathing. Heavy deadlifts, when done properly, can help retain and even gain strength and power through the entire body, which improves functional outcome measures in old age, which promotes independence.
37. It’s totally more functional than anything you could ever hope to do on a bosu unless you could find a way to pull a max weight deadlift on a bosu — which is impossible.
38. To paraphrase Charlie Weingroff, a perfect deadlift is a mythical beast that you can’t really define unless you see one. It’s sort of like a unicorn. What is a unicorn? A horse with a horn sticking out of its’ head. What is a deadlift? A heavy-ass weight pull of the floor to standing. You’ll know a perfect one when you see it, and you really know an ugly one when you see it.
39. No other exercise has potential side effects like massive nose bleeds, reddened eyes, and possible projectile vomit.
40. Nothing builds muscle thickness and density more than heavy deadlifts. This feature is what gives people the long-yearned after “tone.”
41. Deadlifts have a greater affect on cardiopulmonary health than common cardio exercise, much in the same way that building a high-rise tower to withstand a 7.0 earthquake also helps prevent damage during a moderate windstorm.
42. Side raises with 15 pound dumbells won’t build deltoids in anywhere close to the same scale as when those same deltoids are screaming in your ear as they try to prevent your shoulders from ripping out of their sockets.
43. Contrary to popular belief, heavy deadlifts are not bad for your low back. Piss-poor deadlifts, be they heavy or light, are demonstrably destructive to your low back.
44. The ability to develop strength and stability through the lumbar spinal muscles is one of the primary factors in preventing lumbar discogenic issues, as it helps buffer shear forces the disc is exposed to, which if left unchecked could result in a bulge, herniation, or even spondylolisthesis.
45. Deadlifts build the strength and stability of lumbar spinal muscles.
46. Lifting heavy weights through a stable and static base of support lets the core muscles work a lot harder and become more stable than any unstable surface could ever hope for.
47. Crunches can’t work the entire core the way deadlifts can, nor can you ever look cool doing them. Also, you’re not relegated to the corner of the gym to do them. You get to hang out in the cool kids area.
48. A powerful deadlifter has the hip mobility necessary to do the splits.
49. If you expect your milkshake to bring all the boys to the yard, you’d better have some deadlifts under your belt to give them a reason to walk on the grass.
50. One of the only exercises that can develop depth and thickness to the upper traps and mid back is heavy deadlifts.
51. Fat burning capability is dependent on the metabolically active tissue, as well as the rate of activity within that tissue. By having extra muscle mass and by having it cranked up to high neural activity means you have a greater chance of burning fat and getting lean if you lift heavy.
52. I had clients deadlifting bodyweight after abdominal reconstructive surgery. This helps to reduce the risk that they may have any follow-up issues, and will reduce their risk of re-injury and more surgeries.
53. Max weight lifts help you see God. After each set you see a bright light, and are usually tempted to walk towards it. That’s what this guy did.
54. Sitting in the groove of a flawless deadlift is like being in the Matrix. It doesn’t feel real, and everything is kinda tinted green.
55. Seriously, why are you still reading this and not deadlifting?? Grab the bar and make like you’re in Oz and you got the top bunk.
OWN THAT WEIGHT!!!
UPDATE: How to Do a Deadlift
Here’s a great tutorial for doing a deadlift without busting your shit up from Dean: