Why the deadlift is the best movement
From The Archives - I’m going back through the old blog and reposting some of the best articles.
I love heavy deadlift days. I wish we could do them more often, but they're pretty taxing on your body, and you need lots of time to recover from a heavy deadlift.
Deadlifts are a full-body movement. It looks like you're just picking something up, but you have to grip the bar, keep your shoulders locked, keep your lats active, keep your core tight, and push your feet into the ground with your glutes and hamstrings. The kinetic chain on the deadlift is huge (fancy way of saying that you use everything when you do the deadlift).
Deadlifts create a huge strength stimulus. Deadlifts are usually your biggest lift, so they are the easiest way to lift a bunch of weight. Since you go heavy and you use your entire body, you can get a huge stimulus from a small amount of work. A few sets of 3 or 5 heavy deadlifts and you can get almost everything you need to be strong. Bonus points for anyone who knows why I'm linking to this photo (it's related to this discussion).
Amy loves the overhead squat as a test of core strength, but we both agree that heavy deadlifts are the best core exercise. There's no way to pick up 400 lbs unless you have a strong core. By strong core, I don't mean just abs, I mean strong all the way around. You have to brace and stay tight so that you can transfer the weight in your hands all the way to the floor. I also did heavy deadlifts yesterday (working up to just less than my 100%) and I as I sit here typing this post, the only thing that's really tired on my body is my core.
Heavy deadlifts make you feel confident. I love watching people walking out of the gym with tons of confidence after a day of heavy deadlifts. You don't know how strong you are until you lift heavy - once you realize how strong you are, the confidence it gives you carries over into the rest of your life.