Dissecting the Deadlift

Good Morning!

It’s almost the weekend! Yay! I’m heading down to Florida sometime on Friday or Saturday…I can’t wait! ๐Ÿ™‚


As I mentioned earlier, I am incorporating more regular weight training into my weekly workouts.ย  (Click here to see my tips on weight training and weight training goals!)

One of the main exercises that I like to include in my weight training routine each week is the Conventional Deadlift.

Conventional Deadlift

This is not to be confused with the stiff leg deadlift, which is a different exercise (but also a great one!)

Stiff Leg Deadlift

The Conventional Deadlift Dissected

The Conventional Deadlift is such an important exercise, yet I feel a lot of girls do not incorporate this movement in their training programs for fear of “bulking up” or simply not knowing how to execute it.

Information about the Conventional Deadlift


Muscles Worked

The Deadlift is a compound exercise targeting several muscle groups including the latissimus dorsi, trapezius, erector spinae, gluteals, hamstrings, quadriceps, and psoas (hip flexors). Your forearm muscles, which are involved in gripping the bar, are used to a lesser degree, as well as muscles involved in trunk stabilization such as your obliques.


The Deadlift has many benefits. As a compound exercise, the movement spans three joints with extension occurring at the hip, knee, and ankle joints, thus utilizing several large muscle groups.

When compared to isolation exercises (such as a bicep curl), compound movements that involve larger muscle groups elicit a hormonal training response that results in greater strength gains.ย  The dynamics of the lift itself may also lead to greater gains in hypertrophy (muscle growth)

The Deadlift also has possible rehabilitation benefits. It has been hypothesized that the moderate to high hamstring activity elicited during the Deadlift may help to protect the Anterior Cruciate Ligament during rehab.

The movement of the Deadlift translates well into real life as it mimics bending and lifting. Anyone who has a toddler is quite familiar with the motion of the lift already.

Today, I am going to show you how to complete a deadlift

*Note: Before I show you, understand that if you have any underlying back issues, you should check with your doctor before performing this.ย  Also, a proper warm up is crucial.ย  Never attempt a heavy lift without first warming up with a lighter load. *

Beginning position

  • feet should be flat on the floor about shoulder width apart in the conventional style, and slightly farther apart in the sumo style
  • grip bar with a closed, alternate grip
  • legs should be flexed as in a squat position
  • bar should be as close to the shins as possible
  • back posture should be straight

Warm up with just the bar

Beginning Set Up with Weight

Upward movement

  • begin pull by extending at the knees
  • the hips and shoulders should move at the same rate, keeping back posture straight, with the shoulders above or slightly in front of bar
  • at the end of the concentric phase, thrust hips forward and abduct lats. The hip and knee joint should be fully extended

Downward Movement (Not shown)

flex hip and knee joints to slowly lower bar to the floor, ending in the squat position

Result? A sweaty mess!

Remember to adapt this exercise to YOUR body.ย  If you are new to deadlifts, you can do a lighter weight by using dumbbells or even just your body weight to get the movement down.ย  For more important key points, go here!


Do you do deadlifts?

What is your favorite weight training exercise?

27 responses to “Dissecting the Deadlift

  1. YES and I LOVE them! They are always makes me hurt so good the next day!!!

  2. I typically do the stiff legged or single leg deadlifts to be honest. For some reason the Romanian (or conventional) scares me. I know that’s silly. I don’t have a barbell though so I am worried about my form using dumbbells.

  3. Look at you go girl!! Good for you! I am so glad that you are going to start incorporating more weight training into your workout. I can’t wait to hear about the awesome results you are gonna get! I am a HUGE fan of weight lifting, but I don’t do many deadlifts to be honest. I do a lot of stuff with either the machines, or just dumbbells or stability balls.

  4. It was a “legs” day for me today and I did some stiff leg deadlifts, love them. I have never done a conventional deadlift actually. I’ll have to try it sometime!

  5. see the second to last photo? your hamstrings are INCREDIBLE. i love deadlifts. i always do stiff legged ones. fun post!

  6. I”m still getting back into the swing of things with the gym. I’ll keep these in the back of my mind! Do you have any good arm tips for me?

    • I don’t train my arms specifically, I can’t stand bicep and tricep exercises to be honest! I hit my arms by doing push ups, rows, lat pull downs, bench press, and shoulder presses ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. We do deadlifts (both kinds) in body pump. Love them.

  8. Thanks for all the tips!
    I’m in love with BodyPump right now, which incorporates deadlifts too. Love me my BodyPump!
    (P.S. – I answered your questions today!) ๐Ÿ˜‰

  9. I have a love/hate thing with deadlifts. I admit that I don’t do conventional ones often enough since I tend to opt for SLDL. Great info on them.

  10. ur so hardcore.. that weight is like 10 times ur size lol haha love it โค

  11. flowyogilates

    Your post has reminded me to do deadlifts more often ๐Ÿ™‚ I mostly do weight training with body weight resistance (donยดt know if you would say so in english but so we say in german) …. doing push ups, dips…..but I like conventional weight training too

  12. I love doing deadlifts! It feels like you aren’t doing much when you actually do them but the next day, ohh boy!
    I love these workout posts!

  13. YES! Love deadlifts.
    And, I have to ask- where are you heading in Florida?? Looks like it’s going to be a great weekend here!

  14. Very cool post! I like dead lifts, even though I have lifted in a bit ๐Ÿ™‚

  15. Can I go to FL??! ๐Ÿ˜‰
    And don’t do dead lifts hah! …but I wish I had your drive!

  16. I only do stiff leg deadlifts. Uh oh! I better start these. And, my favorite is anything for my shoulders. LOVE sexy shoulders!

  17. I think deadlifts are one of the BEST exercises for hamstrings, glutes and the ham-glute tie-in! I don’t have my clients do them very often, but when I do it’s very challenging getting them to understand that they shouldn’t round their backs. I know you can easily hurt yourself doing them (esp if you use too much weight) but man do they ever provide great results! ๐Ÿ™‚

  18. traynharder23

    love deadlifts. i think they’re one of my favorites along with kb swings and hang power cleans/or hang squat cleans

  19. Do conventional deadlifts impact your quadriceps?

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  23. I’m glad I found this!! I like to incorporate deadlifts into my routine, but I never really know if I’m doing it correctly! I don’t have a mirror in my basement and nobody is around to tell me if I’m doing it correctly. Thanks for the tips!! ๐Ÿ˜€

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