What Muscles Do Deadlifts Work? – The Ultimate Mass Building Workout

The deadlift exercise has been one of the most popular and traditional workout routine for those who wish to increase their overall muscle mass. But how effective is it truly when looked upon from a modern standpoint? What muscles exactly does deadlifts work on?

If you wish to know whether to include this exercise into your routine then you’ve come to the right place. Let’s put the deadlift exercise to the test and figure out why and how it is effective as well learning some essential safety tips to completely cut the risk of doing this high impact workout.


Deadlifts And Its Advantages

There’s a reason why this exercise has withstood the test of time and it all boils down to how effective it is. This exercise helps strengthen both upper and lower body, equal to the benefits of doing squats. (See also: What muscle do squats work?) In fact, one can argue that deadlifts edge out squats with overall results. Deadlifts can help improve core muscle groups. It can be used to rehabilitate injured muscles as well as be a preventive measure for future injuries.

When done properly, it can significantly improve core muscles like the abdominal region, glutes and lower back. These muscles are the key essentials when it comes to movement. Improving their overall strength helps prevent strains and other similar injuries. Let’s list down more advantages of doing deadlift exercises, shall we?

  • Minimal Equipment Required

Basically, all you need if you want to do some deadlifts is a bar with weights. You can check out the Sunny Threaded Chrome Barbell Bar if you want something affordable and reliable. As for the plates, check out the ones by manufacturer, CAP, which is also sold online. That’s pretty much all you need. Wrist wraps and deadlift shoes are optional but you can go about without it. Proper form is also an essential element which is why it is best if you ask a fitness instructor on how to properly do deadlifts.

  • Strengthens Core Muscle Group

Not only does it help build muscle mass, it can also help improve overall posture as well. Proper deadlift form and techniques give emphasis on holding a straight back throughout the routine. And as stated earlier, your core muscle groups will gain a considerable boost in strength and flexibility.

  • It Helps Boost Cardio

Regularly conducting one intense session consisting of 10 reps with weights will significantly boost your cardio. After a while you’ll visibly experience a huge difference with your stamina. Just be sure to get some proper rest after each deadlift session, especially at the beginning, because it’ll definitely take a lot out of you.

  • Strengthens your Grip

While this is a whole-body workout, your fingers and forearms will need to support the weight. This will in turn help boost your grip strength significantly. Your forearms will also get a huge boost in the process, especially once you start to gradually increase the weight.

  • Increases your Actual Weight Lifting Ability

This is obviously one of the biggest benefits of deadlifts as it is a practical one. You will be able to carry more weight be it boxes, grocery bags or buckets of water. Not only will you be able to carry heavier objects, you’ll find carrying it considerably easier than ever before.

Muscles that Benefit Greatly from Deadlift Exercises

Back and Spine

Your lower back will be getting a thorough exercise during deadlifting. To be exact, your spinalis, longissimus and iliocostal will take most of the load. These muscles facilitate the neck and torso movement. Proper form in deadlift will help strengthen your spine through these muscles and in turn, your posture as well.


Your gluteus maximus muscle will help extend and straighten your hips back in to place when you stand up during deadlift exercise. Going back down to a squatting position makes your glute, thighs and butt muscles contract as it steadily supports the weight. This will result in a tighter and firmer shape in your lower body down the line.


Both your hamstrings and quadriceps will need to work together during deadlifts. However, your hamstrings act more of a stabilizer while your quadriceps will do much of the heavy lifting, literally. The entirety of your legs will have a complete work out here from your upper thigh down to your tibia.

Proper Deadlift Techniques and Safety Tips

When doing any type of exercise, it is vital that you do so using proper form and technique. You can’t just rush through it as doing so will most likely deliver lesser results and might even cause injury. When it comes to deadlifts this is doubly so. Performing this exercise improperly could cause more harm than good. With that in mind, below is a step by step guide on how to do deadlifts safely and properly.

Warming Up 

This is the most important factor when starting your exercise routine. It is recommended that you take up to 5 to 15 minutes of warm up exercises before staring strength exercise/deadlifts. Below is a quick video that shows you the best warm up exercises to take before doing deadlifts.

Step 1 - Starting Position:

  1. Start by standing upright, with shoulder and feet width slightly wider.
  2. Steadily bend your knees until it is parallel to the floor.
  3. Make sure your arms straight when you grasp the bars.

Step 2 - Lifting Movement:

  1. Using your heels as a pushing point and stabilizer, stand back up lifting the bars. Maintain your straight arms as you stand back up.
  2. When the bar touches your knees further extend your body it is completely upright with your arms resting at your sides. Exhale once you reach thisposition.

Step 3 - Lowering Movement:

  1. While maintaining a straight back, slowly and steadily lower the bar back down.
  2. Have your hips and knees to the bending and not your back. Lower the bars in front of your shins then repeat step 1.

Safety Tips:

  1. Do not lean over when doing deadlifts as this might pull a muscle on your back. Remember to do this exercise using a squatting position.
  2. Do not raise your buttocks when pulling the weights upwards.
  3. Do not rock back and forth with your heels. Have your feet lying completely flat as this can help distribute weight evenly throughout your lower extremities.

For further help I’ll attach a video detailing the proper form and techniques when doing deadlifts.

Deadlift Do’s and Don’ts

Final Thoughts

Safety is a necessary factor when it comes to working out. You can’t just do these types of exercises without acquiring information on proper techniques. Once you got all the important details down though deadlifts can be the most effective way to strengthen core muscles, improve cardio and burn fat.

Remember to comment down below if you have and questions or suggestions about this topic. Let’s all start to aim for a healthier body by beginning with a healthy mind!





Harvie Brenton

I’m Harvie Brenton, chief editor at strongmusclegrowth.com! Believing in the great benefits of bodybuilding and fitness to the body, I’ve been motivated to become a fitness enthusiast. It also was what gave me the self-confidence and assurance to me both physically and psychologically. Hopefully, you will come along for the ride with me.