Why You Should Love Deadlifts (and How to Do Them Correctly)

If the deadlift isn't part of your regular routine, it should be. While the move's name may conjure images of meaty bodybuilders, the exercise is an amazingly effective move for your lower body, especially your glutes, hamstrings, and quads. Not only that, it's great for your core muscles, too. "The act of keeping the core tight while the load is trying to pull you forward is extremely beneficial," says Tim Rich, a personal training manager at Crunch. Basically, the deadlift is a great exercise for just about anything.


Another reason to love deadlifts? It's the ultimate functional fitness move. "The deadlift is a must-have skill to keep your independence," Tim says. "Proper loading of the spinal column will keep you active and mobile in the later years. You will always have to pick things up for the rest of your life." Regularly doing deadlifts also does wonders for your posture, so if you spend a lot of time at a desk, you should be doing this move.

Ready to add deadlifts to your workout circuit? Read on for tips on how to do a deadlift correctly.

Before you even start thinking of how heavy you should go, Tim recommends that you first make sure you're doing the move correctly (just use a barbell without weights added or practice at home with a broom). "For some people, getting into the right position and holding for 10 seconds with a broomstick will be a workout," Tim says. "Once proper position can be accomplished, it's time to add weight."

Here's how to do a perfect deadlift:

  • Holding the barbell (or two dumbbells at your side), keep your arms straight and knees slightly bent.
  • Slowly bend at your hip joint, not your waist, and lower the weights as far as possible without rounding your back, which should remain straight. Make sure you keep your spine neutral with a natural low-back arch, with shoulders down. Looking forward, not at the ground, will help you avoid rounding your back.
  • Keep the barbell close to your legs, almost touching them.
  • Squeeze your glutes to pull yourself up at a quicker pace than it took to bend down (Tim recommends that beginners take four seconds to bend down and two seconds to pull up). Don't use your back and do not round your spine.
  • You should be using a weight where you can do three sets of 12 to 15 reps before fatiguing your muscles — but remember that you should be able to still do the move correctly on your last rep.