The Dead Truth

There’s no way around it:  the Deadlift, if performed correctly, will build unparalleled mass while strengthening all the major muscles groups.

The Deadlift builds the upper and lower body like no other movement.  Furthermore, Deadlifting will strengthen the entire back and its surrounding muscles, making this lift great for rehabilitative and preventative, purposes. In fact, the Deadlift is an effective exercise for building the core strength that supports all other major muscle groups. The Deadlift’s primal functionality, whole-body nature, and mechanical advantage with large loads suggest its strong neuroendocrine impact, and for most athletes the Deadlift delivers such a quick boost in general strength and sense of power that its benefits are easily understood.

Core strength (core pertaining to the central muscles of the body; lower back, glutes and the abdominal region) is a very important health component, in that it supports the body in almost every movement and position, and the Deadlift is one of the key core strength building movements.  As you already know, CrossFit is a core strength and conditioning program.  Meaning two things: the fitness we develop is foundational to all other athletic needs, and also in the sense that much of our work focuses on the major functional axis of the human body, and recruits muscle in a functional pattern, from core to extremity.

While there are many great compound exercises, the Deadlift for a variety of reasons is special, and an essential addition to CrossFit programming. Still not convinced?

As mentioned, the benefits of Deadlifting are many and varied.  Indeed, Deadlifting is advantageous because:

It builds core stability. The Deadlift directly targets all of the major muscle groups responsible for correct posture and core strength. Correct Deadlifting technique enables one to hold their back straight when engaging in daily activities, due to its emphasis on maintaining a straight back throughout its movement.

The Deadlift will also strengthen all the surrounding supporting muscles of the waist, backside, hips and, of course, lower back. Core strength is important in terms of maintaining one’s balance, and weight transference (whether in sport or daily life).

It is relatively risk free and safe to perform. With the Deadlift, there is no risk of getting pinned under a maximum lift (e.g. as with the squat and bench press), and provided that your form is correct, will not unduly stress any of the major joints.

The Deadlift has a real life application.  Your ability to lift objects from the ground, from a variety of angles, is enhanced through regular Deadlifting practice. The real life functionality of the Deadlift comes into play when one becomes strong enough to lift a heavy object (furniture for example), while decreasing the likelihood of injuring themselves.

The Deadlift develops gripping strength. The deadlift will strengthen the grip like no other movement due to the sheer weight involved (As you’ve seen, it is not uncommon for one to work up to 300+ pounds for repetitions).

The Deadlift has a special appeal. Simply picking a weight up off the floor, and engaging all major muscle groups in the process, has a special primordial appeal; sort of like ripping a gigantic tree out of the ground. Standing and holding that massive weight at the top also promotes a feeling of immense power.  (If you’ve struggled up to the top position with a new Deadlift max PR, you’ll know what I’m talking about!)

While it doesn’t look like it should, the Deadlift helps to develop cardio respiratory fitness. Like the squat, Deadlifts will severely tax the cardio respiratory system if done with enough intensity. This obviously has positive ramifications for cardiovascular health.

If you want to get stronger, improve your Deadlift. Driving your Deadlift up can nudge your other lifts upward, especially the Olympic lifts.  Fear of the Deadlift abounds, but like fear of the Squat, it is groundless. No exercise or regimen will protect the back from the potential injuries of sport and life or the certain ravages of time like the Deadlift.

The bottom line?  The Deadlift is unrivaled in its simplicity and impact while unique in its capacity for increasing head to toe strength.  Regardless of whether your fitness goals are to “rev up” your metabolism, increase strength or lean body mass, decrease body fat, rehabilitate your back, improve athletic performance, or maintain functional independence as a senior, the deadlift is a marked shortcut to that end.

Want to get better?  At CrossFit, we recommend deadlifting at near max loads once per week or so, and maybe one other time at loads that would be insignificant at low reps. Be patient and learn to celebrate small infrequent bests!

Don’t forget about our GoodBye BBQ Potluck tonight!  Bring something to BBQ and something for the table.  It starts at 7:30pm and goes until we are done!

Today’s Workout:

Buy In Deadlift technique review, then

3 rounds of: 200M sprint 10 burpees & 10 double crunch (rest 1 minute between rounds)

* Coaches make sure hips and hamstrings are nice and warm before beginning the sprint *

Workout – “Deads”

5 x 3 Deadlifts

Work up to a 3RM with 2-3 minute rest in between each set.  Take your time! All sets must be above 85% of your 1RM.  Take a few sets to warmup to your starting weight.

Zone 1 – 4 x 10 reps, focusing on proper technique

Cash OutStretching, check out Kelly Starrett’s mobility WOD for a glute / hamstring mobility exercise.

Wednesday 7:30pm Sept 1st


  • Shoulder Stand on Rings
  • Handstand Forward Rolls
  • Front Levers

WOD: (25) Ring Push ups, (15) In and Outs


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