Perhaps you have already bought into the hype of performing deadlifts and constructed a deadlift program for strength. You might believe it is the best routine to power up your strength and increase your muscle mass. The question is, have you adequately incorporated the deadlifts in your workout plan? Have you chosen the correct deadlift variations to help you attain this fitness goal?
Many people resort to deadlifts without taking the time to master the correct technique. As a result, they end up up injuring themselves or continue giving it their all in the gym for little to no results.
This article will shed light on how to craft the best deadlift program for strength. We will discuss the best deadlift variations for beginners and provide some safety tips to help you take the most from your deadlift program. Let’s dive right in!
What Is A Deadlift?
A deadlift refers to an exercise that requires you to lift some deadweight (any weight without momentum) off the floor (3). It has become one of the most popular weightlifting exercises as more and more people try to increase their muscle strength. Performing a deadlift can do more than improve your muscle strength.
It can also improve your posture. Experts acknowledge that deadlifts strengthen a weak lower back that tends to cause stooped shoulders. It also increases bone density and improves grip strength (4).
Deadlifts are also deemed practical exercises to increase your range of motion in the hips and knees and enhance your joint stability (9). Since this exercise also involves core muscle strengthening, it can help you get rid of stubborn belly fat (8).
These exercises target majority of your body muscles. These include your quads, hamstrings, glutes, trapezius, hip, ab, back, and leg muscles (9).
Read More: Deadlift Variations To Boost Your Full Body Workout Routine
The Best Beginner Deadlift Program For Strength
A deadlift workout program can be the best routine for any beginner looking to build mass and strength. Such a routine can pose a lot of risks, especially for beginners who do it incorrectly.
Again, it can also be injurious and non-effective if it is not designed correctly. So, if you are a beginner looking to bust through a strength plateau, the first thing you ought to do is master how to deadlift.
Do not be fooled by how easy it appears when performed by fitness gurus or workout fanatics in the advanced levels. This exercise has many technicalities that you must be familiar with if you want to revolutionize your strength and muscle mass.
Again, you are advised to start the deadlift program by performing the traditional deadlift as a beginner. Avoid all other deadlift variations, primarily if you have not performed the standard deadlift before. They may result in injuries or various pains. Instead, start by completing the traditional or standard deadlift and then progress to different variations, as recommended by your trainer.
How To Deadlift?
Many people give in to the deadlift program craze and start it without enough knowledge of this exercise. After a few training sessions, they report injuries, most of which are caused by performing the deadlift incorrectly.
If you do not perform a deadlift correctly, the last thing you should be worried about is completing the program. You will most likely put too much stress on your lower back, leading to constant and unbearable back pain (4).
Here is a step-by-step guide on how to perform a traditional deadlift. Follow this guide to the latter if you want to reap the listed benefits by the time you are completing your deadlift program.
- Start by choosing a comfortable weight. Most individuals prefer to use the standard 45-lb barbell. You do not have to use this weight, especially if it is too light or too heavy for you.
- Engage and tighten your abdominal muscles and keep your chest open.
- Let your arms hang down naturally by your sides.
- Stand with your feet at least shoulder-width apart.
- Slightly bend your knees. It protects straining your knees and further helps target your hamstrings.
- Bend forward and grasp the barbell.
- Firmly press your feet on the floor and start to stand while holding the barbell just below your hips. Keep your back straight throughout this movement. Hold this position for some seconds.
- Return to the starting stance by squatting down to slowly place the weights on the floor.
- Try to do three to five sets, each containing six repetitions.
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The Best Deadlift Program For Maximum Gains
Perhaps you believe that the best deadlift program to help you increase muscle mass and strength fast incorporates various deadlift variations. You may be thinking of switching up your deadlift workout program and adding some deadlift variations in light of this.
Before you consider a different variation, talk to your doctor and fitness coach. They will teach you the proper technique of each deadlift variation. More so, they will tell you if your variation of choice can help meet your goals.
Remember that the best program will allow you to meet your goals without resulting in any harm or injury. With that said, evaluate if your deadlift workout program will enable you to build muscle strength safely and efficiently. If it does, then stick with it. However, if it does not, talk to your trainer and let them craft a more suitable deadlift regimen.
Deadlift Variations To Boost Strength
Although beginners are advised to stick to the traditional deadlift, individuals in the advanced levels may be asked to consider different variations. Below are some recommended deadlift variations for people looking to increase muscle mass and raw strength:
The Romanian Deadlift
The Romanian deadlift helps develop strength in your posterior chain, including your gluteus maximus, erector spinae, adductors, and hamstrings (2). The focus is on working the muscles extending the hip and knee from the posterior in this deadlift variation.
Like with any other deadlift exercise, you will start by picking weights or a barbell. You might be tempted to bite more than you can chew when you are choosing these weight plates. Remember that increased weights do not help you build strength overnight. Instead, they only result in injuries as they are strenuous. So, pick comfortable weights.
If you are using a barbell, use a squat rack to place your barbell and at a thigh-to-waist height (2). After this, follow these steps (2):
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart and maintain a slight bend at your knees. Firmly grip a barbell and let your palms face down and be at least shoulder-width apart.
- Lift your chest and drop your shoulders blade to maintain the extension of the spine before hinging at your hips. Start to slowly lower the barbell towards the floor while keeping your back straight. Lower to a comfortable point or until you feel some tension in the back of your thighs. In most cases, you will lower to about your knee or mid-shin height. Hold this position for at least five seconds.
- Push both heels into the floor to allow you to return to the standing position. As you do this, try to push your hips forward and pull back on the knees while still keeping your back straight. Remember to also maintain a slight bend in your knees throughout the movement.
- Repeat and complete at least three sets, each with eight to ten reps. Remember to also rest for one minute in-between sets.
Read More: Deadlift vs. Squat: Pinning Down The Real Winner Of This Long-Standing Debate
The One-Leg Deadlift Variation
The other deadlift variation that you can incorporate in your deadlift program is the one-lift deadlift. The added advantage of doing this exercise variation is that it activates your gluteus muscles (7). However, this is only if it is performed correctly. Below are the steps to help you do a one-leg deadlift correctly (7):
- Stand on your right leg with your hands by your sides. You can hold onto hand-held weights if you want to increase the intensity of this exercise.
- Stretch your left leg behind. As you do this, your upper body will lower towards the floor. Try as much as possible to keep your back straight and shoulders back.
- Lean forward from the hips until you feel your hamstrings stretch. Try not to let your chest lower below the hips.
- Slowly return to the starting position and repeat severally before switching sides.
The Best One-Week Deadlift Program For Strength
Some people argue that you can increase strength and muscle mass in a week if you perform other deadlift variations. Remember that such a routine may be working for others and might not work for you. Again, remember that we all build muscle mass and strength at different rates. These rates are influenced by our body composition, body fat, age, and hormones (5).
For some, it may take weeks or months of consistent weight lifting before you notice changes in your muscle strength and mass. It does not mean that you now do your deadlift workout program every day or every morning and evening to maximize your gains.
It will not work. Instead, you will only report pain, soreness, and injuries. Medical News Today recommends that adults starting such a muscle-strengthening program at least perform it twice a week (5).
Safety Tips When Following A Deadlift Program For Strength
A deadlift workout program is effective for any strength-building plan. It can help you increase strength in various muscle groups. However, what’s more important is learning how to accurately execute the program instead of finishing it on the last day.
Like any other exercise program, if it is improperly done, it will cause serious injuries. Take note of the following safety tips to help you complete your program with no injuries:
You need to always perform various warm-up exercises before you start performing deadlifts. These exercises increase your body temperature, loosen your joints, and help your muscle contract quickly as they continue getting warmer (1).
However, you do not just warm up with any other exercise. You have to choose warm-up exercises that align with your deadlift workout program. If the warm-up exercises do not fit the program, they might hinder your performance (1).
Similarly, warm up for a reasonable duration to allow your muscles to warm and pick less vigorous warm-up exercises. Remember to also rest for a short time between your warm-up and deadlift program (1).
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Maintaining The Correct Posture
The goal is to perform the deadlift for improved strength. For this to happen, you will have to maintain the correct posture. Follow the provided step-by-step guide to help you learn the proper deadlift technique.
You may feel the need to quickly lower the bar or barbell, especially if the weight is too much to bear. Remember that every movement in this exercise poses a risk. Quickly lowering the weights can make you arch your back, leading to back pain or problems. So, maintain controlled movements both when lifting and lowering the bar or barbell.
Remember that you need to rest to allow your muscles to recover and grow. So, create some resting days when you are crafting your deadlift workout program. Mayo Clinic recommends you perform such strength training exercises at least two times every week (6).
You can also get 150 minutes weekly of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise for extra gains (6).
Gradually Increasing Reps
The thought of increased strength and muscle mass can tempt you to increase your reps every other day. However, this does more harm than good. You might end up sustaining numerous injuries because your body cannot handle the strenuous activity.
You are always advised to walk yourself up the ladder no matter the exercise. Start by doing a few reps and then gradually increase them over time. Again, consider also increasing your weights if you feel you are approaching a fitness plateau. Remember to consult with a professional making these and other changes to your deadlift program for strength.
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on for decision-making. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- Benefits of Warm-Up Exercises (2020, webmd.com)
- Best Leg Exercises for Men (2020, webmd.com)
- Electromyographic activity in deadlift exercise and its variants. A systematic review (2020, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Give yourself a lift (2020, health.harvard.edu)
- How to build muscle with exercise (2020, medicalnewstoday.com)
- Slide show: Weight training exercises (2020, mayoclinic.org)
- The 12 best ways to lose butt fat (2020, medicalnewstoday.com)
- What Is Deadlifting Good for? (2021, medicinenet.com)
- What is the difference between Romanian deadlift and deadlift? (2021, medicinenet.com)