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Ode to the Deadlift

(Image courtesy

This is the picture that most people associate with the deadlift. It even has an ominous name: Dead. Lift. But we have all deadlifted, even my grandmother. Have you ever bent down to pick something up off of the floor? Then you have, too.

(This is not my grandma, but this is pretty darn cool. Image courtesy

The deadlift is one of the most revered exercises, and it is my absolute favorite. Why? It is pure function in motion. We NEED this movement in our lives, whether it's in the back yard (rogue leaves), at the big box store (40 lb bag of dog food), at work (paper wad missed the basket), or at home (furniture rearrange!). Think of the implications: if there was a fire and your loved one was out cold, could you drag him to safety? Your child breaks her leg in the park; could you swiftly get her in the car and off to the emergency room?

I revel in the capabilities that deadlifting has given me. I'm stronger in the core, grip, and latismus muscles from deadlifting with a barbell. It has helped my climbing AND my ability to carry that huge bag of dog food from the back of the Costco warehouse to the check out counter. Yes, I'm fine waiting in line. No, I don't need a basket. My balance has improved from doing one-leg bodyweight deadlift drills. When I come across that uneven terrain on the trail or that rare cobblestone street, I won't trip and fall (hopefully!).

Let me reassure you that deadlifting will not make you look like the guy above. But it will get you leaner, functionally stronger, and more confident! Here are some pictures of variations on the deadlift:

Lastly, I refer you to this article from Girls Gone Strong about benefits of the deadlift, specific variations, and how to properly do each one. What do you think? Did I convince you to incorporate this into your exercise practice? Or have you already been deadlifting (and possibly not know it)?


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