Are deadlifts for back or legs? Do Deadlifts Help You Gain Leg Strength?

There is no movement that does a better job of expressing what lifting is all about than the deadlift.

If you properly incorporate your deadlift training, the deadlift promises to get you yolked by simply taking up weight and then putting it down.

However, with so many advantages, determining what type of training the deadlift should be regarded might be tricky. The deadlift, for example, is an excellent technique to strengthen both your leg and back muscles. This raises the question of which muscle group it should be used for.

Are deadlifts for back or legs
Are deadlifts for back or legs

The answer is a little more convoluted than it appears at first. Not only does it depend on the mechanics of the exercise, but it also depends on your own goals and current fitness level.

Benefits of barbell deadlift

We won’t spend too much time on the benefits of deadlifts because the list is long and well-known to most people.

Benefits of barbell deadlift
Benefits of barbell deadlift

The deadlift, being a complex activity, engages nearly every major muscle group in your body. While your legs and back will be doing the majority of the hard lifting, you’ll also be using your core and other stabilisers, such as your forearms for grip strength.

You’ll burn calories and enhance your endurance (assuming you don’t use a weight that’s too heavy) because it’s a full-body movement that requires a lot of energy. Because deadlifts are excellent for developing explosive strength, this also contributes to greater athleticism and vertical.

Because deadlifts involve larger weights, your body will be more likely to produce anabolic hormones. These will add to the gains you’ve already made from the lift, and in the long run, they’ll make you leaner and more ripped.

Overall, the deadlift is a staple in the lifting community for a variety of reasons.

Legs vs. Back Muscle Groups in Deadlifting

Legs vs. Back Muscle Groups in Deadlifting
Legs vs. Back Muscle Groups in Deadlifting

To appropriately employ deadlifts to train the targeted muscles, we must first understand how the body moves during the deadlift.

The fundamental movements in the deadlift are knee and hip extension, with shoulder extension being a minor occurrence.

The deadlift is largely a leg or lower body workout due to the knee and hip action, but we’ll go over what muscles are employed (including back muscles) and how they’re used as well.


These muscles are located on the front of the thigh and are in charge of straightening the knee during the deadlift.

The quads are generally employed to lift the barbell off the ground, particularly at the beginning of the movement. It’s likely that you have weak quads if you fail at the bottom of the deadlift.

Maximus Gluteus

Maximus Gluteus
Maximus Gluteus

The primary glute muscle (the one we sit on) is the gluteus maximus. It’s one of the body’s largest muscles, and it helps extend the hip during the deadlift.

They assist you in pushing your hips through the peak. If you can’t lock out the deadlift, it’s usually because your glutes are weak.

The quads are generally employed to lift the barbell off the ground, particularly at the beginning of the movement. It’s likely that you have weak quads if you fail at the bottom of the deadlift.

Dorsi Latissimus

From the side of your spine to the back of your upper arm, the latissimus dorsi, or lats, join.

In the deadlift, these muscles perform two things: they maintain your spine extended and they bring your arms closer to your body.

To put it another way, they keep the barbell on your body (which is important for keeping the proper bar path) and keep your upper back from rounding.

The deadlighting day

The deadlighting day

While the deadlift is a complicated exercise, it has a number of applications. Although the deadlift is largely a lower-body exercise, it is nonetheless beneficial to the legs and back muscles.

It will primarily rely on the application and your fitness goals whether you choose one or the other. Knowing where you are now and having a clear goal in mind is the best way to approach deadlifts when deciding whether to do them.

Leg day deadlifting

The deadlift, as we’ve seen, is largely a leg exercise due to the mechanics of the movement. To get the weight moving, the legs provide the first power. Your quads, hamstrings, and glutes all work together to lift the bar off the ground by “pressing” into the floor.

Because the legs are highly employed, the deadlift is frequently combined with leg days. However, there are a few key considerations to examine beforehand.

One thing to remember is that deadlifts are really hard on the body. This has obvious advantages, but it’s also something to think about while designing your training programme. It will require a lot of energy to move such a heavyweight from a standstill without the use of momentum.

This is why deadlifts should be done at the end of a leg workout. You can hit your legs with squats, which are still challenging, but they’ll give you more stamina to complete other leg workouts. Starting your leg day with a big deadlift is a surefire way to sabotage your progress and exhaust yourself before you’ve even begun.

Back day deadlifting

Back day deadlifting

The majority of the movement will come from your upper body and back muscles once you’ve lifted the bar off the ground. The lower back is affected first, as your hips unhinge and lock out.

Then your upper back will pull the bar up to the top of the lift while maintaining your shoulders stable. Although the back muscles play a secondary role to the leg muscles in the deadlift, they are nevertheless heavily involved.

On a back day, you’ll want to do deadlifts first, which is the polar opposite of leg day. This is because you want to make sure your back muscles, which aren’t used as much in this exercise, get enough volume. Because you won’t be risking gassing out your legs right away, there’s no harm in going large right away.

Should you do your deadlifts on your leg day or your back day?

When doing the deadlift, it is unavoidable to work the leg and back muscles.

Should you do your deadlifts on your leg day or your back day?

It’s not a bad idea to do deadlifts on either a leg or a back day, and many popular regimens will alternate between the two. However, if we had to choose one day, the conventional deadlift should be done on a leg day because the hips and knees perform the majority of the joint motions.

You can, however, alter the deadlift variation to drastically alter muscle recruitment. So, depending on which form of the deadlift you do, you might want to do it on your leg or back day.

Do Deadlifts Help You Gain Leg Strength?

Do Deadlifts Help You Gain Leg Strength?

Deadlifts do strengthen legs because they demand hip and knee extension. Throughout the workout, your quads, hamstrings, and glutes undergo concentric and eccentric contractions, which means they shorten and lengthen.

This puts a tremendous amount of pressure on your muscles to grow.

Which one should you select

Which one should you select

It’ll all boil down to your objectives. Deadlifts will work considerably better on leg days if you want a shredded physique that prioritises aesthetics and hypertrophy. This is because they may be done as an auxiliary lift with lower weights and higher reps.

Heavy deadlifts are the way to go if you’re seeking to compete or simply want to be super strong. When you do deadlifts on a back day, you’ll make them a priority because they’ll be at the start of the workout. It does not, however, have to be one or the other.

Doing stronger deadlifts on back day and lighter, accessory deadlifts on leg day is another possibility.

If you’re seeking for a midway ground, this will give you the best of both worlds. If you want to focus on the deadlift, you can schedule a special deadlift day into your training schedule.


Whether you’re aiming for bodybuilding or body strength, the traditional deadlift is a full-body exercise that is sure to help you grow. You’ll need to fuel up correctly for a full-body workout, whether you utilise it as a back exercise or a leg exercise.

If you’re having trouble gaining muscle and your strength training isn’t keeping up, you’re probably not receiving enough protein in your diet.

You’ll be smashing through muscle mass and body strength plateaus in no time if you combine this terrific exercise with a great protein powder.

And this article will help you answer the following questions about are deadlifts for back or legs:

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Field John

If you are an avid believer in health and fitness and want to do something for your team, I can help. As the founder of Field Goals Fitness, I lead a collective of health and fitness professionals dedicated to helping Australians lead a more active and healthier lifestyle. With a warm, friendly, and supportive approach that gets results, I enjoy helping individuals & organisations achieve sustainable success with their health and fitness goals. Certifying as a Personal Trainer in 2009, was a turning point in my life. I had spent 14 years in the corporate world in Business Development roles and decided to take all that I had learnt in sales and marketing and start my own business.

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