16 Bits of Deadlift Knowledge You Should Know

Man performing a deadlift
Oh yeah, he’s about to deadlift alright.

As we know, knowledge is power. Therefore gaining deadlift knowledge will help you power through your deadlifts.

Here’s 16 questions the internet has about deadlifts, with answers. Success awaits.

Are deadlift socks worth it?

If you regularly take chunks out of your shins whilst deadlifting, deadlift socks are probably a good investment. If you workout in a commercial gym, patrons tend to prefer their barbells not covered in blood. Except at Planet Fitness, they’re savages.

Most powerlifting competitions require deadlift socks to be worn, so if you’re planning on competing, picking up a pair is a good idea. 

On the other hand, if you’re a home-gym warrior who takes pleasure in disfiguring your shins you can give them a miss. You probably won’t get tetanus.

Who can deadlift the most weight?

This is a straightforward question with a not-so-straightforward answer. Strongman Eddie Hall, who hoisted 500kg back in 2016, was the first to break the half-tonne barrier.

However, Thor Bjornsson recently pulled 501kg, in an event held at his home gym in Iceland. This raised concern about the sport’s standards of legitimacy and rules governing what ought to make a lift official.

The lift was controversial to say the least, and partly inspired the upcoming boxing match between Hall and Bjornsson. You know, that and the 7-figure contract. But mostly the rivalry, of course.

In the powerlifting world, the deadlift record is held by Benedikt Magnusson who pulled 460kg. This was done raw, without the aid of straps, a suit, or drama, which strongmen are permitted to use.

How does the deadlift work?

You pick up the barbell, then place it back on the ground. Both steps are equally important. Sometimes you repeat the steps several times.

Are deadlifts for the back or legs?

Yes. 

It depends on the deadlift variation and your body mechanics, but both legs and back are usually involved to differing extents. Indeed, this inspires the age old question, “Should deadlifts belong to leg day or back day?”

I’m a proponent of deadlifts on leg day myself, but if you’re unsure, experiment a little and see what works for you.

How many times a week should I deadlift?

This depends on many factors, and certainly too many to go through here.

Keep in mind that in the powerlifting and strongman worlds, there are examples of people deadlifting as frequently as every day, to once a fortnight, to rarely if at all. 

If you were to take a poll, most people would find once or twice a week the sweet spot, I’d wager.

Are deadlifts bad for you?

If your back is arching and popping like a glow-stick, that’s bad for you. More a you problem than a deadlift problem, though.

If you’re using good form and are healthy enough to perform them, they’re great for you. Check with a sports doctor if you’re unsure.

Is it dead lift or deadlift?

The deadlift is the king of all barbell exercises. A dead lift is a broken elevator.

When should I use straps?

There are a few situations that might call for straps:

  • If you’re doing lots of sets and want to preserve your grip strength.
  • If your hands are torn up – common if you’re using a deadlift bar and lifting heavy enough.
  • If you have sweaty hands and no access to chalk.
  • If you’re competing in a competition that allows straps, such as a strongman contest.

Should I deadlift?

Only if you want to be awesome.

Do they increase testosterone?

It’ll feel like it, anyway.

There’s some evidence suggesting heavy resistance training temporarily spikes testosterone, but if you’re after a permanent increase, google ‘TRT’. That’s about all that works. 

Are deadlifts good for your core?

Yeah, sort of. The ‘core’ is made up of several muscles and muscle groups, and some are activated more than others during a deadlift. Deadlifts are particularly good at activating your erector spinae muscles. Other bits of your core, particularly the anterior bits (the muscles on the front), might be better trained through other exercises. Sadly, deadlifts might not be the key to a glorious power belly.

Simply put, deadlifts are good for your core, but they’re definitely not the be all, end all of core training. 

Are deadlifts good?

Indeed, what is ‘good’, really? It’s one of philosophy’s most ancient preoccupations. 

If philosophers stopped thinking and lifted some goddamn weight, they’d know the answer. 

Yes, deadlifts are good

Are deadlifts necessary?

No. It’s anecdotal, but I know people who have never deadlifted but are alive and kicking nonetheless. They don’t compete in powerlifting or strongman though. 

For those interested in strength and muscle gains, they’re not necessary in the same way that it’s not necessary for a chef to use a frypan. But since they’re one of the best tools, you might as well use them

How much should I lift?

1. As much as your coach specifies.

Or, if you don’t have a coach:

2. As much as you safely can.

What’s the best deadlift grip?

There are three main players here, with a wildcard option – double overhand, hook grip, mixed grip and straps.

There are a few caveats, but in general:

Double overhand: Both hands are pronated (palms facing inwards). Typically the weakest/most difficult grip. Good for rookies, warm-ups, building grip strength and showing off

Hook grip: Both hands are again pronated, but this time you’ve wedged your thumbs under your index and middle fingers. This provides a stronger grip, but generally requires practice and can be uncomfortable.  Good for weightlifters, lifters with large hands, and masochists.

Mixed grip: One hand is pronated, the other supinated (palm facing outwards). Provides a strong and fairly comfortable grip, though may lead to imbalances over time. Most advanced lifters will develop a preference for either mixed or hook grip over time. Good for anyone going heavy enough to rule out double overhand

Straps: Generally used with a double overhand grip, but mixed grip with straps is seen occasionally. Provides a very strong grip, but inhibits grip strength gains. Good for strongman competitions, lifters who need to save their hands/grip, and those without access to chalk.

What is a strong deadlift?

A strong deadlift is defined by the function x=n+40, where x is a strong deadlift and n is your current personal best. Units in kilograms.

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