What Muscles Do Deadlifts Work Out?

It is a well-known fact that the deadlift exercise is one of the many strength exercises for bodybuilding. However, the main question is what muscles do deadlifts work out? Unlike other bodybuilding exercises out there, a deadlift primarily focuses on multiple muscles. It is one of the few exercises that target both the upper body muscles and the lower body muscles.

So, if you are curious whether the deadlift is the right exercise for you, then you’re in luck. This article tackles about the specific muscles that the deadlift works on, its benefits, and as well as its basic movements.

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What Muscles Do Deadlifts Work Out?

Choosing the right type of workout that best suits your needs is a crucial decision that many often tend to overlook. Self-assessment is a primary key; knowing your body’s capabilities and limitations will determine what kind of workout is suitable for you.

Certainly, the deadlift is not for everyone. So, if you are planning to engage yourself in any bodybuilding workout routine, it is best to know which muscles it specifically aims.

The deadlift exercise mainly focuses on the back muscles, glutes, leg muscles, and even certain muscles in your abdominal area. If you have been suffering from back pain, obesity, lack of strength, hormonal, and fitness problems, then the deadlift is a wonderful exercise to try.​

Back Muscles

The main muscles that will initiate the movements during the deadlift are the lower back muscles. There are three muscles on your lower back that a deadlift mainly works on. These are the longissimus, the iliocostalis and the spinalis.

The main movements of your neck and torso are made by the erector spinae muscles only. When you do the deadlift, then these muscles extend your torso and also pull the spine back once you come back to the standing position.

Glute Muscles

Gluteus maximum, which is commonly known as the butt muscles, are also targeted when doing the deadlift. This muscle goes through the centre of your body to the outside of your thighs.

It is attached to the sacrum and pelvic bone while the other end is attached to the thigh bone. The extension of your hip will be the responsibility of the gluteus maximus as it will move the top part of the pelvic bone when you try to stand up during the exercise.

Leg Muscles

All the parts of your thigh will be affected during the exercise. There is not much role of the hamstrings here; they merely work as stabilizers when you perform the deadlift. The primary movers are the quadriceps muscles.

From the top of your thigh to the bottom of the leg, there are four main muscles that are targeted. It also targets your tibia, a bone that is present in the lower part of the leg. It helps you extend your knees and straighten the knee joint while standing up during the exercise.

Movements to Perform Deadlift

Ideally, the deadlift incorporates the use of a barbell, but if you don’t have a barbell, then you can use dumbbells as well. When using the barbell, just follow these deadlift movements below to avoid injuries and accidents.

  • Set the barbell on the floor and stand in front with your mid-feet under the bar of the barbell
  • Position your feet slightly apart from each other.• Grab the bar in parallel to your shoulder width
  • Bend your knees until the bar touches your shins
  • Lift your chest. Remember to keep you back straight when executing this particular step
  • Pull the barbell as you stand up straight
  • Don't forget to keep the bar close to you body, so you might want to place it against your legs
  • Lastly, lock your hips and knees, and hold the barbell for a few seconds.

Advantages of Deadlift Exercise

Deadlift may seem like a difficult exercise to try, but once you get the hang on if, it will be just a piece of cake. To sufficiently motivate you to give the deadlift a try, here are some of its benefits that will surely amaze you.

Improves Posture

The overall body posture improves after doing the deadlift workout, especially the lower back area. People having a weak lower back tend to have a bad body position, and they also experience all sorts of pains in the lower back area. Doing the deadlift improves the lower back area and enhances the position of the spine.

Unmatched Strength

The muscles that are worked out during the deadlift help enhance your grip strength. The core strength is also built with this exercise, especially the abs, waist, lower back, and hips. The level of force also significantly increases once properly executed.

Cardiovascular Health

I think the best thing about the deadlift exercise is that it is great for bolstering the cardiovascular system. If the right amount of intensity and effort is put up, then this exercise will definitely do wonders to your health. It activates the aerobic system of the body; thus, you get a good supply of oxygen, which helps enhance the health of your heart.

Lesser Chances of Injuries while Picking Heavy Objects

People who do the deadlift are supposed to pick the heavy objects from the ground up to the waist height on a regular basis. This thing helps them carry out the chores quite easily. Plus, it is a real test of your body’s strength. After just a couple of weeks of doing the exercise, you’ll notice that it is much easier to lift heavy objects as compared before.


This exercise is a combination of leg press, full-back tension, straight-armed pull-down, and leg curl, all of which are performed simultaneously. Since the deadlift aims the major muscles of your body, this also results in improving your overall physical stability.


There is no denying that the deadlift exercises offer a great way to get rid of the multiple health problems such as obesity, lower back pain, lack of fitness, and strength. It requires a lot of practice and the right amount of dedication for the results to show.

As long as the proper deadlift movements are executed in the right way and at the right intensity, then you are on the right track. However, if you think you are doing it the wrong way, consult a bodybuilding coach immediately for professional advice. Remember, your overall body condition and structure reflects the kind of lifestyle you are living.

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