Are deadlifts upper or lower body?Benefits of deadlifts

Are deadlifts upper or lower body? The majority of people agree that the deadlift is a fantastic exercise to add in your training routine since it works a variety of muscle groups. If you ask someone who trains for bodybuilding, they may be able to have it on a day set out for their back. A powerlifter may have it on a leg day, but it depends on their program.

Are deadlifts upper or lower body?

Deadlifts are often seen as a leg exercise due to the extension of the hips and knees. This is due to the fact that the exercise engages the quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes. Although the back muscles, particularly the latissimus dorsi and spinal erectors, are heavily recruited during deadlifts, this exercise may be done on either back day or leg day, depending on your choice.

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Are deadlifts upper or lower body?

Let’s get to the point quickly. Are deadlifts upper or lower body?

The deadlift engages muscles in both the upper and lower bodies. So, should you deadlift on the upper or lower day of an upper-lower split?

Although deadlifts target the muscles of the upper and lower body, it is recommended that you do them on days that focus on your lower body.

There is no purpose in adding another upper-body exercise to your routine since you already have a greater number of upper-body exercises to do than lower-body activities.

In addition, doing deadlifts on your upper body day will exhaust your grip strength, which is essential for performing other upper body workouts like as rows, pull ups, and curls.

How to Perform a Proper Deadlift

How to Perform a Proper Deadlift
How to Perform a Proper Deadlift

A barbell weighing 45 kilos is needed to perform a deadlift. To get the required weight, add 2.5 on 10 pounds to each side at a time.The optimal amount of weight for you to use will be determined by your present level of fitness. Only when you have refined your technique should you continue to add weight to avoid injury.

The appropriate deadlift form is as follows:

1.Stand behind the barbell with your feet shoulder-width apart. Your feet should be almost touching the bar.

2.Keep your chest lifted and slightly sink back into your hips while keeping a straight back. Bend forward and grip the barbell. Keep one palm facing up and the other facing down, or both hands facing down in an overhand grip.

3.As you’re gripping the bar, press your feet flat into the floor and sink your hips back.

4.Keeping a flat back, push your hips forward into a standing position. Finish standing with your legs straight, shoulders back, and knees almost locked out, holding the bar with straight arms at slightly lower than hip height.

5.Return to the starting position by keeping your back straight, pushing your hips back, bending your knees, and squatting down until the bar is on the floor.

6.Repeat the exercise. Aim for 1–6 reps per set, depending on the amount of weight you’re lifting. Perform 3–5 sets.

Performing Deadlifts on the Upper or Lower Day

Performing Deadlifts on the Upper or Lower Day
Performing Deadlifts on the Upper or Lower Day

Deadlift on Upper Day

Makes it possible for you to concentrate on squats on lower day.
Maintains a high level of energy for the other lower body lifts.

Lower Day is for Deadlifting.

Exercises targeting the upper body already outnumber those targeting the lower body.
This frees up your back and grasp for use in the workouts that target your upper body.
Makes it possible for you to concentrate nearly entirely on the deadlift.

There are a few advantages to doing the deadlift on your upper body day, despite the fact that it would make a great deal more sense to perform it on your lower body day.

Instructions on How to Set Up an Upper-Lower Split for Deadlifts

Let’s take a look at how to arrange an upper and lower split deadlift in the correct manner. For my upper and lower splits, I want to have two days that focus on my upper body and two days that focus on my bottom body per week:

  • Sunday is a day off.
  • Upper-Body Day is on Monday (A)
  • Tuesday is a day off.
  • Wednesday – Lower Body (A)
  • Thursday is a day off.
  • Upper-Body Day is on Friday (B)
  • Lower Body Day is on Saturday (B)

You will find that each session is denoted by the letter ‘A’ or ‘B’ in the schedule. This is done so that each upper and lower exercise may be differentiated from the other. At each session, you will be asked to execute a unique set of exercises designed to target the same muscle areas.

In this specific split, the day that I work on my lower body will be designated as Lower Body ‘A,’ and the day that I work on my lower body will be designated as Lower Body ‘B’:

  • Sunday is a day off.
  • Upper-Body Day is on Monday (A)
  • Tuesday is a day off.
  • Wednesday: Lower Body (A) Deadlifts and Squats
  • Thursday is a day off.
  • Upper-Body Day is on Friday (B)
  • Squats on Saturday for the Lower Body (B) workout.

If your traps or grip are tired from deadlifting, you will be able to recover in between your deadlift day and your next upper body day since this approach of scheduling it gives you a rest day in between your deadlift day and your upper body day, which is one of the benefits.

Different Ways to Perform the Deadlift While Doing an Upper-Lower Split

Deadlift performed in Romania (RDL)

Deadlift performed in Romania (RDL)
Deadlift performed in Romania (RDL)

A form of the deadlift known as the Romanian deadlift requires the lifter to maintain their legs as straight as possible during the movement. A conventional deadlift doesn’t compare to how well this exercise works the glutes and hamstrings. Because of this, it unquestionably belongs on the day dedicated to the lower body.

Rack Pull

The rack pull is a variation of the deadlift that involves positioning the bar on the safety pins of a squat rack so that it is elevated above the floor. When the bottom part of the lift is taken out, the exercise focuses mostly on the lower and upper back rather than the upper. Given this, it makes perfect sense to include it on the upper body day.

Still others are adamant about training the lifts on different days, with the goal of getting the most out of their deadlift sessions while still completing the necessary accessory work. In most cases, they stick to a schedule that involves doing the major three lifts on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.

You may do the RDL on one of the days that you train your lower body, and the rack pull on one of the days that you train your upper body. So, it would look like this:

  • Sunday is a day off.
  • RACK PULLS on Monday for Upper Body Workout (A)
  • Tuesday is a day off, and Wednesday is Lower Body Day (A), which includes Squats.
  • Thursday is a day off.
  • Upper-Body Day is on Friday (B)
  • RDLs on Saturday for the Lower Body (B).

On the other hand, you may want to save your lower back the strain of many variations of the deadlift by limiting yourself to only one every week. It is essential that you pay attention to what your body is telling you.

What distinguishes squats from deadlifts, and how can I tell them apart?


The deadlift is an action in which your hips flex backward to lower yourself to the floor and pick up a weighted barbell or kettlebell. Throughout the exercise, your back is flat.Deadlifts may help you strengthen and define your upper and lower back, glutes, and hamstrings, among other things.

The squat is a movement that involves lowering your thighs to the floor until they are parallel to the floor while maintaining your chest erect.



Squats may help you develop your glutes and quadriceps.

Squats are also a functional workout, which means they involve motions that you could perform in everyday life.

When sitting in a chair, picking up things on low shelves, or stooping down to pick up a kid, you may use the squat action. Squats performed on a regular basis may make these sorts of activities simpler.

You may do both deadlifts and squats in the same session or alternate between the two.

Continue reading to discover more about these lower-body workouts.

Which muscles work? Deadlifts versus squats.

Which muscles work? Deadlifts versus squats.
Which muscles work? Deadlifts versus squats.
Deadlifts Squats
hamstrings calves
glutes glutes
back quadriceps
hips hips
core core
trapezius shins

Deadlifting Muscle Groups Explained: Legs vs Back

Before we can use deadlifts to successfully train the muscles we want to concentrate on, we must first understand how the body moves during a deadlift.

  • The following joints are mobilized during the deadlift:
  • Knee Extending (straightening of the knees)
  • Hip Extensibility (straightening or thrusting through of the hips)
  • Shoulders Extending (bringing the arms backwards from the front)

The primary actions of a deadlift are an extension of the knees and hips, with an extension of the shoulders occurring less seldom.

The movement of the knees and hips during the deadlift identifies it as a leg or lower body exercise; nonetheless, we will cover the muscles that are involved (including those in the back) as well as how those muscles are utilized during the deadlift.


The front of your thigh muscles are important for straightening your knee during a deadlift. These muscles are found on the front of the thigh.

The quadriceps are primarily responsible for propelling the barbell off the floor, especially at the start of the exercise. If you are unable to finish the bottom section of the deadlift, it is most likely due to a lack of quadriceps strength.


Although they are placed on the back of the thigh and help to extend the hips, these muscles are not the primary extensors of the hips.

To put it another way, they may be useful in stretching the hips during the deadlift’s lock-out phase; but, there are undoubtedly other exercises that are more effective at directly targeting the hamstrings.
Maximus Gluteus

The gluteus maximus is the biggest muscle in the glutes. This is the muscle on which we sit. It helps to extend the hip during a deadlift since it is one of the largest muscles in the body and contributes to the action.
The spinal erectors, also known as the erector spinae, are a strip of back muscle that runs along the side of your spine from your neck to your tailbone.

These muscles contract isometrically during the deadlift, which implies that the muscle length stays constant despite the contraction.

They help to preserve your spine’s posture, which means they help to keep your back from rounding when doing a deadlift.

 Latissimus Dorsi

They help you thrust your hips into the aperture at the top. If you are unable to finish the deadlift lockout phase, it is most likely due to a lack of glute strength.

The Spine Erectors

The latissimus dorsi, or lats, are a collection of muscles that go along the sides of the spine and connect to the back of the upper arm.

These muscles have two functions during a deadlift: first, they aid in maintaining an extended spine posture, and second, they bring the arms in closer to the body.

In other words, they help you keep the barbell on your body, which is important for maintaining the proper path for the bar, and they protect your upper back from rounding.

Benefits of deadlifts

If you do the deadlift on upper day, you will be eliminating one of the upper body exercises from your training program, unless you want to spend extra time in the gym.

This is not something I recommend since you will get progressively weary as the workout progresses and your performance on each exercise will decrease as a consequence. But it raises a whole other problem!

On days when I work my lower body, I usually perform less repetitions of each exercise. It makes no sense to forego a valuable training session on the day you concentrate on your upper body when there are other things you might be doing instead.

I’m not here to promote the deadlift; in all honesty, it doesn’t really need my stamp of approval. The advantages of deadlifts are many and indisputable for individuals who are knowledgeable about strength training. Deadlifts:

  • Enhance the performance of the whole posterior chain (backside of the body)
  • Strengthen your core, your grip, and your functional muscles to incredible levels.
  • Gain a great deal of additional muscular mass.
  • Improve your cardiorespiratory fitness, and your ability to burn fat (with the right amount of volume and intensity)
  • More Strength
  • Full-Body Activation
  • Stronger Legs
  • A Stronger Back
  • More Calories Burned
  • Releases Anabolic Hormones
  • Improved Athleticism
  • Enhanced Endurance
  • Better Posture
  • More Grip Strength

F.A.Q are deadlifts upper or lower body:

Is the deadlift upper or lower?

The bare essentials
Both squats and deadlifts are excellent workouts that target the lower body. Because they target rather distinct muscle areas, you are free to combine them in a single session if that is what you like. Alternating between squats and deadlifts on different days is another option you have.

Which part of the back is strengthened by deadlifts?

It’s common knowledge that deadlifts are great for your lower body, but less people realize that they’re also great for your upper body. When you do a deadlift, you work the muscles in your lower back as well as those in your upper back since those muscles are responsible for supporting your body.

Are deadlifts a good upper body exercise?

The calves, quadriceps, hamstrings, and butt are all targeted while doing deadlifts, in addition to the upper body (arms, core, back, trapezius and shoulders).

Is the deadlift done using the lower back or the legs?

The question is, does the deadlift work the legs or the back? Because they include an extension of the hips and the knees, deadlifts are usually considered to be a leg workout. This is because the exercise activates the quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes.


Are deadlifts upper or lower body? The manner in which you execute deadlifts determines whether they are considered an exercise for the upper or lower body. Either way, they are an excellent method to build strength across your whole body.

In addition to exercising your back, shoulders, and arms, deadlifts target your glutes, hamstrings, and quadriceps when they are performed properly. They are a flexible exercise that can be added into any training regimen in order to assist you in reaching your fitness objectives. If you want to become in better shape, you should try doing them.

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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