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Exercises Movements, technique & proper execution

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Old 05-01-2010, 08:08 AM   #1
Nick Skirvin
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Deadlifts: Legs or back?

So I'm pretty sure I know the answer to this, but just wanted some opinions. Someone at another site is collecting data for a survey and in the survey asks what exercises you do for a specific body part. One of the exercises listed for the back was the deadlift. I say it's more legs than anything else. Am I wrong? I know that, yes, the back plays a role in the deadlift, but I would call it more of a leg exercise.
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Old 05-01-2010, 08:24 AM   #2
Shane Atkinson
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Re: Deadlifts: Legs or back?

Quote:
"Deadlifts work your back, legs & forearms. Deadlifts donít develop your legs like Squats do: your hips start higher. Thatís why you can substitute Squats for Deadlifts in case of knee injuries."
Quote:
"Deadlifts build back strength. Deadlifts teach you to keep your lower back rigid against a load. Keeping your back straight is critical to avoid injuries when lifting heavy objects from the floor."
I believe in the above two statements. I always Deadlift with my back in mind. When I was concentrating on splits I would do Deads for back thickness and Pullups for the width.

I do not feel the lift in my quads nearly as bad as a squat. The funny part of this is now that I am CrossFitting, I feel more in my quads doing Cleans then I do doing Deads, even though the start in the same position.

Now, if you change the start position of the Deadlift, such as a Stiff Leg, then I would side with it being more leg than back.

Regardless of how you look at it, Deads are a compound movement that works all muscles. I just feel it in my back more than my Quads.

Leaving on a quote by Greg Glassman:
Quote:
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.
Protect the BACK not the legs.
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Old 05-01-2010, 09:03 AM   #3
Chris J Mason
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Re: Deadlifts: Legs or back?

A standard deadlift will most heavily target the spinal erectors. Variations of the deadlift can place more emphasis on the hamstrings etc., but the spinal erectors are always significantly activated.
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Old 05-01-2010, 10:14 AM   #4
Michael Henry
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Re: Deadlifts: Legs or back?

I'm going to go with back. The lower back picks the weight off the ground. The traps hold the weight. The lats keep the bar from moving back and forth. Being that you start in a half squat position, the use of your legs is limited. They are used at the top to lock out if the back cannot. If you can't lift the weight off the ground, leg strength isn't the limiting factor, it is lower back. Or grip.

Shane, where do you train?
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Old 05-01-2010, 10:17 AM   #5
Shane Atkinson
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Re: Deadlifts: Legs or back?

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Shane, where do you train?
Michael, currently I train in Afghanistan, just got into CrossFit here recently. When I get back to Clarksville, I will continue to work out of my garage. Already ordering things and sending to the house to become CrossFit friendly. Let me know if you wanna get some workouts in sometime when I get back. Just shoot me a PM.
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Old 05-01-2010, 12:02 PM   #6
Tom Jones Jr
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Re: Deadlifts: Legs or back?

I had bad, recurring lower back injuries in my late teens, after twisting it on a rowing machine.

I started deadlifting. In 6 years i have never had that injury again.
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Old 05-01-2010, 02:24 PM   #7
Jamie J. Skibicki
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Re: Deadlifts: Legs or back?

Deadlifts work the body. Everything but chest.
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Old 05-01-2010, 02:33 PM   #8
Jared Ashley
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Re: Deadlifts: Legs or back?

IMO, deads work lower back and grip the hardest, followed by glutes and hamstrings, followed by upper back, shoulders, and quads.

Overall, definately more of a "back" than a "leg" movement. Although to accurately describe what it works concisely, I would say it works the "posterior chain."
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Old 05-01-2010, 03:13 PM   #9
Shane Skowron
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Re: Deadlifts: Legs or back?

Depends if it's conventional or sumo.

Sumo relies a lot on quads. Conventional, not so much.
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Old 05-01-2010, 05:06 PM   #10
Jared Ashley
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Re: Deadlifts: Legs or back?

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Originally Posted by Shane Skowron View Post
Depends if it's conventional or sumo.

Sumo relies a lot on quads. Conventional, not so much.
good point.

and sumo hits the lower back in a lesser manner than conventional, IMO.
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