Is deadlift a back exercise? Should you do your deadlifts on your leg day or your back day?

Because it stimulates so many muscle groups, most people don’t argue that the deadlift is a wonderful exercise to include in your training plan.

It’s possible that if you ask a bodybuilder, they’ll have it on a back day. A powerlifter might have it on a leg day if you ask them.

So, are deadlifts more of a back or leg workout? Because it includes an extension of the hips and knees, which trains the quads, hamstrings, and glutes, deadlifts are essentially a leg exercise. Although the back muscles, such as the lats and spinal erectors, are extensively engaged during deadlifts, they can be performed on either a back or leg day.

Is deadlift a back exercise
Is deadlift a back exercise

In this post, we’ll go over the factors to consider when deciding where to include deadlifts a back exercise in your workout and how to modify the exercise to target specific muscle groups more effectively.



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.



These muscles are located on the back of the thigh and assist in hip extension, although they are not the primary hip extensors.

In other words, they can help expand the hips during the deadlift’s lock-out period, but there are definitely better exercises for directly training the hamstrings.

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.

Erector Spinae

Erector Spinae

The spinal erectors, also known as the erector spinae, are a strip of back muscle that extends from your neck to your tailbone down the side of your spine.

During the deadlift, these muscles contract isometrically, which means they contract but do not modify muscle length.

They assist in maintaining spine posture, i.e. preventing your back from curving during the deadlift.

Deadlifts In A Back Day Workout

Deadlifts In A Back Day Workout

On leg day, save the deadlifts for last, but put them first on back day. Heavy deadlifts are the main meal for back day due to the significant central and physical demands they place on your back. They’re the steak in your post-workout meal, and everything else is merely potatoes after that.

Deadlifts should be done on the back day for lower reps for optimal results. If you’re confident in your technique, repeat the motto, “Go heavy or go home!” Only on this one exercise will you utilize heavy weight and follow the volume and rest techniques employed in a conventional strength workout—but never to muscle failure.

You can return to bodybuilding-oriented training variables for the remainder of the workout. Carry out the steps in the correct order (warm-up sets are not included). Choose a weight that allows you to approach muscular failure by the target rep stated, but don’t go to failure with the deadlifts. Keep one or two reps in the tank.

Even though deadlifts are a versatile exercise that can be used in both your back and leg routines, don’t do both on the same day. For a while, use them as part of a single muscle group training. Then mix it up and include them into your other workouts.

Is deadlift a back exercise: Review

Is deadlift a back exercise: Review

I consider deadlifts to be the best exercise for the posterior chain because it’s impossible to distinguish which muscle works “the most.” It is largely dependent on the lifter’s strengths and weaknesses.

I feel your back development is a big part of your deadlift ceiling, but it’s not only a back workout.

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

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.

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.

Why shouldn’t deadlifts be used as a back exercise?

Why shouldn’t deadlifts be used as a back exercise?

When you perform a perfect deadlift, your back starts in a neutral position and remains there throughout the lift.

Does this ring a bell?

Your back stays isometrically tensed when you complete a decent deadlift. This means that in a neutral position, your back muscles will strengthen but not expand significantly. This puts a lot of strain on your lower back.

The deadlift should not be your weapon of choice if you want a huge back, thick lats, and massive traps.

It’s terrific for strengthening your hips and improving your back’s capacity to maintain a neutral position, both of which are important for lifting any load. Deadlifts, on the other hand, will not give you a huge back.

Are Deadlifts Supposed To Be Done With Your Back?

Are Deadlifts Supposed To Be Done With Your Back?

Only a limited amount of force is applied to your lower back in order to maintain a neutral spine or flat posture. Even if you are doing deadlifts on back day, you should avoid exploiting your back by overemphasising back extension at the top.

The reason for this is that it puts too much strain on your joints, making your back and hips extremely unstable. Inadvertently, you will raise your chance of harm.

Are Deadlifts Supposed To Hurt Your Back?

Are Deadlifts Supposed To Hurt Your Back?

Although lower back discomfort isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it shouldn’t be the most sore muscle group because your quadriceps, glutes, and hamstrings do the most of the effort. It’s also fine to have some pain in your lats and traps.

F.A.Q is deadlift a back exercise:

Is deadlift a good back exercise?

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.

Is Deadlifting a leg or back exercise?

The dispute over whether deadlifts are a back or leg exercise is one of the most heated in the strength training world. They’re a leg workout, specifically a glute/ham exercise, to answer your question.

Will deadlifts make my bum bigger?

Deadlifts are a great way to strengthen your lower back, hamstrings, and, of course, your buttocks. Use moderate to high weights when deadlifting to create a larger butt. Heavy weights force your muscle fibres to break down, causing them to grow stronger and thicker, resulting in a fuller rear.


There are several arguments in favor of doing deadlifts on back and leg days. By doing deadlifts on a back day, you may be able to spread out your leg training over a few more days per week. If you do deadlifts on a leg day, you’ll have to stretch your back training out over more days in a week.

This is a decision that should be made based on personal preference. There’s no reason you can’t do a deadlift variant multiple times each week.

It would be beneficial to use different variants to shift where the emphasis is on muscle wise while doing deadlifts twice or more a week in order to be smarter with doing deadlifts twice or more a week.

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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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