Many people do deadlifts because they want to be strong and be more functional in daily life. 

Deadlifts are one of the best ways to build total body strength. Not to mention the strength that is built in the deadlift (in terms of the muscles used), is transferable to a whole range of different exercises and daily activities. 

Now, deadlifting is primarily going to make you a better deadlifter as it’s a skill, however as I shared above it will improve the muscle size and strength of your quads, glutes, hamstrings, grip, lower back, and more. 

These are all muscle groups that most people want to enhance and make stronger. 

Another reason so many people do deadlifts is because knowing that you are able to lift heavy things creates a lot of confidence. 

If you’re wondering if you should deadlift heavy or light, check out this other article I wrote about it.

It means that whatever comes up in daily life in terms of needing to lift, you will be able to do it. 

Additionally, when you train hard it fortifies your mind. You get used to doing hard things so that even when you don’t want to do something you’re able to push through and get it done. 

Table of Contents

    Key Takeaways

    • It is okay to not deadlift if it doesn’t fit your fitness or training goals.
    • Deadlifting is popular as it’s very easy to learn
    • Deadlifts aren’t any better than squats at building muscle. Choose whichever one, or both.

    Why is deadlifting so popular?

    Deadlifting is so popular because it’s a very easy-to-learn movement, works for most major muscle groups, and doesn’t require much equipment. 

    It is a great exercise for building strength. Even if you only deadlifted your lower body, grip strength, and back would be quite strong. 

    Is it okay to not do deadlifts?

    It’s not really necessary to do deadlifts. 

    While it’s my personal bias to prescribe deadlifts for most of my clients, if they aren’t feeling it and really dislike them then I will usually program a different exercise that targets the lower back, glutes, and hamstrings.

    There is not some magical spell that is cast when you do deadlifts and there are plenty of other exercises that you can do to derive the same benefit. 

    You’re also not a morally inferior person if you don’t deadlift, so no need to worry about that! 

    The gym bros might disagree, but, what do they know, really?

    Does deadlifting have any long-term effects, positive or negative?

    Yes, if more muscle mass and strength are what you’re interested in, deadlifts will do that for you!

    There are no long-term detrimental effects to deadlifts. 

    People often worry about injuring themselves with deadlifts if they are doing it for the first time but, if you start low and slow (low weight and control the movement), this risk largely goes away. 

    Deadlifts are very safe as I’ve discussed in previous articles.


    Is A Deadlift Better Than Squats?

    military guy deadlifting

    A deadlift isn’t better than squats, it’s slightly different. 

    If you look at the biomechanics (how the body moves), of the deadlift vs. the squat, the joint angles and muscles used are very similar. There are slight differences but it’s really quite similar. 

    If you want to get better at deadlifts you should deadlift more often. Similarly, if you want to get better at squats you should squat more often. 

    “Is it better,” needs to have the additional context, “for what.” This is like asking is a Ferrari better than a Toyota. For what?

    Sure, a Ferrari is better than a Toyota at moving fast, but a Toyota gets better gas mileage. 

    Our questions should always allow for context. 

    Do Some Gyms Not Allow Deadlifting?

    I’m not familiar with any gyms that don’t allow deadlifting. There are some gyms, like planet fitness, that request that their members try and keep the volume of weights slamming to a minimum, out of respect for their fellow gymgoers. 

    At other types of gyms, like powerlifting gyms, if you aren’t making lots of noise with slamming weights, do you even lift?

    If my goal during the activity is to build the most amount of muscle and strength there is a time and place for controlling the weight the entire way. This creates more time under tension for the muscles being worked and is a major stimulus for muscle growth. 

    If I’m just focused on a one-rep maximum, slowly lowering the weight back down during the deadlift is not necessary. 

    Again, context.

    When did deadlifts become so popular?

    As early as the 1700’s but it’s unclear. I’m not going to recreate the wheel, as BarBend has already written an excellent article on the topic. 

    You can read that, here

    Will deadlifts give you abs?

    Diet gives you abs. Yes, you can increase the size of your abdominal muscles by performing direct abdominal exercises however if you have a layer of fat over them it doesn’t matter how strong they are, you won’t see them. 

    For men, you can usually start to see your abs between 12-15% body fat. For women, it’s a little bit higher. 

    I’m not sure if there’s been a specific study on this, so please send it to me if you find it.