What muscles are deadlifts working

Deadlift: The King of Basic Exercises?

Is the deadlift the king of basic exercises?

At first glance, the chances are not bad:

  • A barbell makes a great scepter.
  • The squat already bears the title “Queen” and the two make a really good pair.

In my opinion, there is no better exercise for building a foundation of strength in your lower back - for sport and for everyday life.


Once you've learned to deadlift a barbell cleanly, moving your next bulky moving box becomes a walk in the park.

Peter Böhm, natural bodybuilder and founder of Aesthetics-Blog.com is an expert in deadlifting with the barbell and introduces you to the king.

I hand over to Peter.

The deadlift with the barbell

A strong lower back is not only fascinating, it is also an important prerequisite for good performance and safety in many sports.

The back muscle is one of the largest in our body and therefore attention should be paid to it accordingly. There are tons of back exercises, from lat pulldowns to barbell rows, rack chins, pull-ups, and pull-ups.

No wonder so many of us ask the question, which is the best of all back exercises? Which one brings me the greatest success and which one makes me a broad and strong athlete?

My answer is always the same: one of the best back exercises is missing from an estimated 90% of gym goers - the deadlift.

Deadlift: “Hate Exercise” or Favorite Exercise?

In my experience, the deadlift is a "hateful exercise" for many athletes.

The reason: deadlifts are very demanding.

With this exercise you will push your limits and with the right execution and the right weight you will get your muscles to burn while deadlifting AND let your circulation run at full speed.

But it is precisely this feeling that brings you the success you want!

And here we are with the favorite exercise. Now, deadlifting has become one of my all-time favorite exercises, followed by pull-ups.

It was only when I worked intensively on the right technique that I was able to achieve excellent results with this exercise.

The deadlift stabilizes my whole body, my neck got bigger, my legs got stronger and my back got a well-defined shape.

Which muscles do I deadlift?

With this basic exercise, the whole body is trained, but the following muscle groups are particularly strong:

  • The back extensor,
  • the lower back muscles,
  • the gluteus maximus (buttocks),
  • the thigh muscles,
  • calves,
  • the neck muscles and
  • the grip strength.

Why Deadlift?

With this great exercise you train a lot of different muscle groups, which is why deadlifts should not be missing in any training plan!

It is worth doing this exercise simply because it saves time. Because neck training - or explicit training of the lower back - is no longer necessary after a hard workout with deadlifts.

Perfect technique: the alpha and omega of the deadlift!

Deadlifting has a reputation among some athletes for damaging the back. But that's wrong!

When performed correctly and the right weight is chosen, the deadlift is a healthy exercise that is also used in rehabilitation.

However, the correct execution can in part be a science in itself.

I think this video shows very clearly what the perfect technique should look like.

Checklist: Correct Deadlift Technique

How to get the best deadlift results and avoid mistakes:

  • Keep your back in every position always straight, this is very important to avoid serious injuries.
  • Make sure you have the right footwear. It should be sports shoes with a straight sole.
  • Only use pulling aids and belts if you are heavier - not suitable for beginners.
  • From the crouched position, make sure that the legs are always straightened before the upper body is straightened.
  • The shoulders should be straightened backwards for the last third of the exercise.
  • Maintain body tension throughout the exercise.
  • In the final position, the body is straightened up - the back is up Not hyperextended backwards.
  • Choose weights so that at least 4 - 6 repetitions are possible.
  • To increase the grip strength, the double grip can be used, that is, one hand encloses the bar in the instep grip, the other hand in the comb grip.


The deadlift is a great exercise and a must for anyone who is serious about building muscle.

From my own experience, I know that no other back exercise can achieve such results in such a short time as the deadlift.

Peter Böhm is a fitness expert and founder of the successful weight training and bodybuilding blog Aesthetics-Blog.com. Peter is himself a successful strength athlete and was able to build up more than 20 kg of muscle mass within 3 years. On Aesthetics-Blog.com Peter reports on his successes and experiences in this sport.

Question: What is your favorite muscle building exercise for the (lower) back? What experiences have you had with the deadlift with a barbell or dumbbell? Write a comment.

Photos in the article “Deadlift: The King of Basic Exercises”: “Lisa deadlift 230 #” by Amber Karnes (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) via Flickr.

Category: Muscle buildingTags: basic exercises, basic exercise, strength training, strength training, strength exercises, muscle building training, muscle growth, back muscles, back muscles, back extensors, exercises, lower back