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Old 05-07-2010, 05:41 PM   #21
Steven Low
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Re: Deadlifts: Legs or back?

It depends on your:

1. individual anthropometry,
2. and what weak links are

Most people have weak links in the back for what it's worth... so most people will probably say back.

This is due to our cultures predominance with sitting thus muting good hip function = bending over at the hips and rounding lower back to pick stuff up off the ground... and such things like that. Very poor lower back mechanics stemming from sitting too much (and tight hamstrings and hip flexors).
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Old 05-07-2010, 05:44 PM   #22
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Re: Deadlifts: Legs or back?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jamie J. Skibicki View Post
Deadlifts work the body. Everything but chest.
Actually that's wrong.

You're pulling the bar towards you (pinning against the shins & thighs) which works both lats and chest.
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Old 05-07-2010, 05:53 PM   #23
Casey Raiford
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Re: Deadlifts: Legs or back?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jamie J. Skibicki View Post
Deadlifts work the body. Everything but chest.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joey Powell View Post
Deadlift is a HIP movement.

No complete, but you get the jist:


Back: spinal erctors are primary stability, used statically

Legs: Hamstrings- primary mover 2nd half of lift, stabilizer for hip/hip angle 1st half of lift

Glutes- secondary mover, anchor for hamstrings

Quads- Primary mover for 1st half of lift, stabilizer for knees and timing for knee extension in second half

Abs: Used to stabilize midline and work in conjunction with spinal erectors
What Jamie said, and especially what Joey said. As for the back/leg question, deads work the entirety of the body in the short vertical plane. You have to look at it as a system, not a collection of parts.

EDIT: and what Steven said. I overlooked that part.
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Old 05-07-2010, 06:29 PM   #24
Chris Mason
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Re: Deadlifts: Legs or back?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steven Low View Post
It depends on your:

1. individual anthropometry,
2. and what weak links are

Most people have weak links in the back for what it's worth... so most people will probably say back.

This is due to our cultures predominance with sitting thus muting good hip function = bending over at the hips and rounding lower back to pick stuff up off the ground... and such things like that. Very poor lower back mechanics stemming from sitting too much (and tight hamstrings and hip flexors).
The load is being carried in front of the body by design, thus the lower back is heavily stressed.

Put it this way, strength athletes don't use the deadlift to build their legs regardless of the above mentioned factors.
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Old 05-07-2010, 06:34 PM   #25
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Re: Deadlifts: Legs or back?

Do they use the deadlift to get stronger?
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Old 05-07-2010, 06:41 PM   #26
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Re: Deadlifts: Legs or back?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Casey Raiford View Post
Do they use the deadlift to get stronger?
Lol, no, to get weaker....

The POINT of my statement was that the deadlift is universally considered to be a trap, lower back, hip, glute, and hammie exercise (yes, the quads are hit as well, but due to a limited ROM not to nearly the same degree as a squat etc.) with the primary training effect being on the lower back.

Last edited by Chris Mason : 05-07-2010 at 06:44 PM.
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Old 05-07-2010, 06:59 PM   #27
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Re: Deadlifts: Legs or back?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Mason View Post
The load is being carried in front of the body by design, thus the lower back is heavily stressed.

Put it this way, strength athletes don't use the deadlift to build their legs regardless of the above mentioned factors.
Uhhh?

Like I said...

It depends on your:

1. individual anthropometry,
2. and what weak links are

Most people this is lower back...
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Old 05-07-2010, 07:09 PM   #28
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Re: Deadlifts: Legs or back?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steven Low View Post
Uhhh?

Like I said...

It depends on your:

1. individual anthropometry,
2. and what weak links are

Most people this is lower back...

So, if one had a relative strong lower back the focus of the movement would no longer be the lower back? Relative strength of a body part does not necessarily alter the focal point of force created by an exercise.

The original question of this thread:

"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."

Your answer is not correct for the question. You should use traditional deadlifts as a focus exercise for the spinal erectors with a lot of other muscles being stimulated in the process.

Your answer addressed the question of where a trainee might FEEL the exercise the most, and in that case it was quite accurate.

Last edited by Chris Mason : 05-07-2010 at 07:16 PM.
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Old 05-07-2010, 07:25 PM   #29
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Re: Deadlifts: Legs or back?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Mason View Post
So, if one had a relative strong lower back the focus of the movement would no longer be the lower back? Relative strength of a body part does not necessarily alter the focal point of force created by an exercise.

The original question of this thread:

"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."

Your answer is not correct for the question. You should use traditional deadlifts as a focus exercise for the spinal erectors with a lot of other muscles being stimulated in the process.

Your answer addressed the question of where a trainee might FEEL the exercise the most, and in that case it was quite accurate.
You are creating a false dichotomy here.

Like I said COMPOUND exercises may target a "weaker link" in your chain due to individual anthropometry or whatever else.

For the OP, maybe his lower back is extremely strong. This does not make it any less of a back exercise. It makes it less of a back exercise (1) FOR HIM in (2) THIS PARTICULAR MOVEMENT. It's still a back exercise.

For him, his weak links seem to be his legs. In which case he would "feel" it more there and it may make him sore or whatever else. This means that with specific work to his legs it may become more of a back strengthening exercise for him in time... or if he continues to do it then it MAY bring up his lagging legs.

Anthropometry and existing neuromuscular biomechanics determines a lot of how an exercise may be able to "target" specific body parts in compound movements.


Same thing with pullups. You can have a weak link in the lats or biceps or forearms. This doesn't make it any less of an exercise for all of those muscle groups. But it does make it MORE of an emphasis on some for each.

Meh whatever. I don't have the time for arguments anymore. Take it or leave it!
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Last edited by Steven Low : 05-07-2010 at 07:31 PM.
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Old 05-07-2010, 08:00 PM   #30
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Re: Deadlifts: Legs or back?

Your statement, while generally accurate, is not universally so. Your example of the chin would be more applicable if we were discussing one's grip being an extreme limiting factor in the deadlift (such that not enough weight was able t be held as to challenge the muscles of the lower back etc.).

It is the nature of the deadlift itself that makes it an exercise that almost universally targets the lower back. Individual variance aside, if you try to pick up a heavy object in front of your body and have to bend at the waist to do so, the spinal erectors are going to be heavily targeted.

You seem to be quite knowledgeable in general, and quite a smart guy, but sometimes those positive traits can be a hindrance as in this case.

If someone feels a conventional deadlift more in their thighs than their lower back they are not performing the movement properly. They are essentially performing a hack squat to the front (back extremely upright and essentially squatting the weight up).

If you are performing a deadlift, you should be doing so with the primary goal being an increase in the strength of your lower back.

By the way, I get that you and I are essentially agreeing. I am posting because I think people might misconstrue your thoughts such that the movement can be a lower back exercise for some and not others.

Last edited by Chris Mason : 05-07-2010 at 08:03 PM.
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