What do conventional deadlifts work? Do traditional deadlifts have a backwards effect?

You could be wondering how to increase the size of your deadlift or how to target specific muscle groups while deadlifting. So it’s crucial to know which muscles are employed in the deadlift and what their functions are.

What do conventional deadlifts work
What do conventional deadlifts work

In this article, I’ll go over what each muscle in the deadlift is responsible for, as well as how various muscles are employed in different deadlift variations. I’ll also discuss how to spot weak muscle groups and how to address them.

What muscles are targeted by deadlifts?

What muscles are targeted by deadlifts?

They’re all there! No, that isn’t a hyperbole. “The deadlift is a true full-body exercise,” Luciani explains. Deadlifts, in particular, target:

  • Hamstrings
  • glutes
  • scalves
  • latissimus dorsi
  • core
  • erector spinae muscles

The deadlift is especially useful for persons who work at a desk. “When you sit for long periods of time, your posterior chain weakens and your anterior chain takes over,” Luciani explains. In both life and sport, this imbalance increases the chance of injury. “Performing posterior chain exercises like the deadlift helps close the strength gap between the two body regions and lowers the chance of injury,” she explains.

Why Should You Do Deadlifts?

Why Should You Do Deadlifts?

In a nutshell, injury prevention. “If you can’t deadlift properly, the chances of pulling a muscle or straining your back when picking something up are significant,” Shaw explains. Knowing how to deadlift, especially as you get older, can mean the difference between preserving your independence and not, he says. (There’s a reason CrossFit CEO Greg Glassman asked for the deadlift to be dubbed the “healthlift.”)

Deadlifts Come in a Variety of Forms

Deadlifts Come in a Variety of Forms

Master the traditional barbell deadlift first. Then have a look at the many varieties of deadlifts listed below (including form tips for each).

Although all of these deadlifts engage your hamstrings, glutes, core, quadriceps, and lower and upper back, changing between the many deadlift variations can target specific muscles, enhance overall strength, and keep you from getting bored with your workout.

Conventional deadlifts

Conventional deadlifts

If you’re new to the movement, have your deadlift form checked by a trainer or coach. Alternatively, video yourself and then play it back, viewing and comparing it to the performance metrics listed below.

Drop the weight if your lower back rounds at any point during the lift. It could be a mobility issue if that doesn’t fix the rounding. Instead of dropping the weight all the way to the ground, Shaw recommends lowering it simply to your knees.

How to perform traditional deadlifts

How to perform traditional deadlifts
  1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart and one dumbbell in each hand facing your thighs.
  2. Take a deep breath and brace your core. Then, while maintaining your arms straight, push butt back to simultaneously slide both dumbbells down the fronts of your legs.
  3. Lower the weights until they hit the floor or you feel a stretch in your hamstrings, whichever happens first.
  4. Return to standing by pressing onto your feet and clenching your glutes at the top.

Do traditional deadlifts have a backwards effect?

Do traditional deadlifts have a backwards effect?

Because it includes an extension of the hips and knees, which trains the quads, hamstrings, and glutes, deadlifts are essentially a leg exercise. Because the back muscles, such as the lats and spinal erectors, are significantly engaged during deadlifts, it can be done on either a back or leg day.

Dumbbell Deadlift (Traditional)

Dumbbell Deadlift (Traditional)

Now is a good time to do a quick visualisation exercise. Consider a barbell with a large plate on each end. Consider two dumbbells now.

According to Luciani, the handles of a dumbbell are substantially lower to the ground than those on a loaded barbell. In comparison to a standard barbell deadlift, you may reach the dumbbells deeper towards the ground, giving your hamstring muscles a wider range of motion.

Romanian Deadlift with a Single Leg

Romanian Deadlift with a Single Leg

“In my opinion, the single-leg Romanian deadlift is the greatest when it comes to posterior chain exercises,” Luciani explains. Why? Because the single-leg RDL works your hamstrings, glutes, lats, and rotator muscles unilaterally, or one at a time, rather than in groups.

“Forcing your limbs to operate independently is critical for addressing muscular imbalances and, as a result, generating a stronger body and midsection,” she explains.

Deadlift Sumo

Deadlift Sumo

Instead of taking the hips-width stance used in the traditional deadlift, you’ll expand your feet for the sumo deadlift. “This reduces the distance the barbell needs to travel to the top of the rep, increasing the amount of weight you can lift,” Luciani explains.

The wider stance also increases the amount of effort required by your glutes, quadriceps, and hip adductors throughout the movement.

What do conventional deadlifts work: Review

What do conventional deadlifts work: Review

The traditional deadlift primarily focuses the posterior chain and core muscles. Your trapezius, latissimus, spine erectors, abs, deep core muscles, hamstrings, and forearm (grip) muscles should all be working if done correctly. To avoid tearing, avoid using your biceps in the movement (bending your arms).

If you concentrate on deadlifting one session, the next session should be spent on pushing exercises. Push pull is a form of training approach that can help you develop a programme that avoids overtraining one muscle group.

For example, you use your triceps in all pushing exercises, thus by completing only pulling exercises the next session, you avoid using your triceps as a primary and secondary mover on two consecutive sessions.

F.A.Q what do conventional deadlifts work:

Should I deadlift sumo or conventional?

Those with strong glutes, hamstrings, and lower back muscles should use the traditional deadlift. Pulling sumo makes more use of the quads and adductors than usual, but it also necessitates above-average adductor flexibility.

Is sumo or conventional better for back?

The sumo deadlift is less taxing on the lower back than a traditional deadlift because the sumo deadlift’s stance lowers the shear forces pushing on the spine.

Does conventional deadlift work legs?

Deadlifts, like the squat, are regarded as one of the most effective workouts for gaining bulk and strength. This compound movement works both the upper and lower body, particularly the back and the muscles that surround it. Quads, glutes, hamstrings, arms, and abs are all targeted.


Use the sumo or trap bar deadlift for more quad dominant deadlift variants. Use the romanian or stiff leg deadlift for extra glute and hamstring deadlift variants.

If you wish to further emphasis the muscles involved in the conventional or sumo deadlift, use the deficit deadlift.

And this article will help you answer the following questions about what do conventional deadlifts work:

  • what does deadlift work
  • what muscles do deadlifts work
  • what muscles do deadlifts work the most
  • what muscles do squats work
  • does deadlift work lower back
  • what back muscles do deadlifts work
  • what muscles do deadlifts work reddit
  • does deadlift work back

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.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Back to top button