Why Deadlift?

Do you deadlift?  If not, you may wonder “what’s the point of deadlifting?” I know I told you the deadlift is a hip hinge, one of the seven fundamental movement patterns and you need to do it for a well balanced body.

But why deadlift? I mean, it’s kind of an awkward movement for most people and what the heck does it help you with anyway?

In my post two weeks ago I discussed how your push pull ratio could be the cause of recurring shoulder pain and what you can do about it.

I also told you how I was reviewing my friend Mike’s training program to see what he could change to perform better and reduce his risk of injury while training for next year’s Senior Olympics.

I mentioned there was another interesting piece of the conversation I had to share with you, and deadlifting is it.

Mike and I had just discussed the adjustments I wanted him to make to his squat and lunge before I moved on to the the hip hinge. He had gotten the program from another online trainer and I noticed it did not contain a hip hinge exercise anywhere! He needed to add a deadlift. Then Mike asked me,

“Why deadlift?”

It was a great question! What does deadlifting give you that squats and lunges don’t?

Consider the fact that just 10 minutes earlier Mike told me about a herniated disc in his lower back that sometimes acts up.  Many doctors, chiropractors and physical therapists will tell you that deadlifts are risky for lower backs.

Again, “why deadlift?”

I fully believe that if you have lower back issues and want to continue living an active, independent lifestyle but DON’T have deadlifts in your training program, that is the real risk.

I’ll explain.

Let’s say your back goes out every now and then and you need to be careful picking things up. Shouldn’t you practice picking things up carefully?

This is the difference between going to the gym for exercise vs training. Your gym time shouldn’t just be about raising your heart rate, getting sweaty and earning the pint of Cherry Garcia you’ll be sharing with your dog after dinner.

why deadlift?

I believe gym time should be a very deliberate and mindful process of teaching your body how to behave when you’re focused on other things. When you deadlift at the gym you are practicing how to stabilize and protect your spine while hinging at the hips, bending the knees, grabbing something on the ground and standing up with it safely.

Practice this enough and it becomes your body’s operating software without having to think about it. Just like brushing your teeth.

You train your body to do this so that when you are doing yard work, you can focus on the yard work without being fearful of your back. Deadlifting helps you get more done and keeps you safer.

You deadlift so that you can pick up your kids or grandkids, grocery bags…wash the dog. You deadlift because when you approach it as training, it makes your life better.

Now that we’ve covered the “risk” aspect of deadlifting, let’s discuss the main performance benefit I was thinking of for my friend. Actually, there’s a tons of benefits, so let me just get some of them out of the way. Deadlifting helps:

  • improve hyper-kyphotic posture.
  • increase strength of bones, tendons and ligaments.
  • increase testosterone and growth hormone.
  • give you a great ass.
  • strengthen your rotator cuff.
  • increase total muscle mass and bone density.
  • develop grip strength.
  • Did I mention, you’ll get a great ass?

But on the note of sports performance, deadlifts will help my friend sprint faster. If you look at the hip and knee angles of sprinting, they are practically the same as deadlifting.

Sprint vs. Deadlift

Back to my friend Mike, who is preparing to compete with his basketball team next year. Being able to sprint across the court faster than your opponent is useful, wouldn’t you say?

The stronger he becomes at deadlifting, the more force he can drive through his legs into the ground. Once he achieves enough strength to lift a particular amount of weight, we can then focus on teaching him to lift the weight faster. The faster he can produce enough force into the ground to push himself away, the faster he can hurl himself down the court. That’s sprinting.

how to learn it safely

Being able to hip hinge with a strong, stable back is a fundamental skill for injury prevention and performance.

But too many people hurt themselves attempting to deadlift with bad technique. They lack good instruction.

When I began thinking about this post a few weeks ago, I realized that if I was going to tell you how important deadlifting is and acknowledge that doing it improperly can cause injury, then I needed to teach you how to do it properly. So I decided to create The Hip Hinge Tool Kit.

The Hip Hinge Tool Kit contains everything I do with my one-on-one clients to safely progress them to a strong, confident deadlift and an injury proof back.

It’s a solid program and I’m very excited to have it almost wrapped up. I’m not planning to release it until later this year, but this post seemed like a great reason to give you guys a sneak preview!


This week I’ll be recording the rest of the coaching videos and it will take one or two more weeks to edit, wrap it up and put a bow on it.

To get in on this sneak preview early edition of The Hip Hinge Tool Kit, is by commenting below or responding to the e-mail you received for this post and I’ll put you on the list.

Then when it is ready in the next few weeks, I’ll send you everything you need to know.

Remember, if you want more information about getting early access to The Hip Hinge Tool Kit, tell me below that you want in on it!



  • This is very interesting considering that I have been concerned about performing this exercise and fearing that I would injure my back. Learning the proper form and technique will be of great help. Thanks for your help.

  • Great srticle. I’ve got disk issues myself and would be interested in performing the deadlift while reducing my risk of injury.

  • Count me in. I’ve had back issues and exercise is helping but I don’t have a hip hinge, so I’m interested.

  • Looking forward to learning the proper technique, thanks!

  • I’m 55yrs old, active (weights, plyometric, swimming), and had L5/S1 Surgery 5 yrs ago (no hardware in back). Back occasionally goes out and I deal with weak lower back, hips. Love Jamie’s training tips and look forward to his upcoming advice!

  • Can’t agree more, Jamie! I have gone back to deadlifting
    after a long hiatus and feel awesome now:) Please send
    me your Hip Hinge Tool Kit sneak preview. Thanks!

  • Hi Jamie. Please could you add me to the list for the sneak preview. I only discovered your website a couple of weeks ago, but find your emails and content very informative. Thanks for all your efforts. Very much appreciated.

  • J,

    please send info on deadliest! thanks coach!


  • Hi Jamie, thanks for always making sense of the intricacies of working out. At my age, doing exercises improperly or not all effects my daily life. I definitely want in on The Hip Hinge Tool Kit!

  • I think that crew rowers need to learn to dead lift. I have never done this and I would LOVE to be in on it.

  • Hi Jamie. I just discovered your website looking for tips on treatment of tennis elbow. Please put me on the list. Tx.

  • Hi, I’ve always wanted to know how to deadlift!

  • Count me in! Good job jamie, I really look forward to your emails. I will be 80 years old in a couple of years and your tips and workouts have kept me in great shape. I am in better shape than 99 percent of my age group. I have been playing in the Huntsman Senior games for the last 15 years and credit you for a big part of keeping me on a balanced road to staying in condition.

    Keep driving me! Peter

  • Thank you so much Peter! The Hunstaman Senior Games looks like fun. I don’t yet qualify myself but I’d love to join the competition when the time comes. You’re on the list my friend.


  • Great post! Just wondering, will your kit recommend the use of either a straight or hex bar for deadlifts? I’m more comfortable with a hex bar.

  • Excellent question! I didn’t have a hex bar in there because most people don’t have access to them. But I love them and think they are a great step before using a straight bar. I’ll put it in for everyone who can get their hands on one.


  • Would love to get the preview to be able to do the deadlift correctly:-)
    Thanks for everything!

Comments are closed.