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The Strength Exercise That Makes You More Powerful

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That fact that it's called a deadlift may seem unappealing (does it make you feel like you want to die because it's so hard?!), but don’t shy away! (In fact, it's The One Exercise Every Woman Should Do.) A recent study in The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that performing this exercise can give your explosive power a boost. That means you’ll be able to jump higher and move faster in the rest of your workout. (Plus, check out this Plyometric Workout that can help you.)

“In our study, deadlift training resulted in improvements in the ability to produce force rapidly for both the quadriceps and hamstrings, and this had carryover to jumping performance,” says study author Matt Stock, Ph.D. But that’s not the only reason you should make this move part of your regular routine. ““The barbell deadlift is an important exercise because it requires the activation of dozens of large muscles. The movement pattern mimics the act of picking up an object from the floor, which has real world application for everybody.” says Stock.  Ready to try it? Watch this Barbell Deadlift video for step-by-step instructions. Just be sure to keep your chest up and back flat throughout the movement to protect your spine. (Are Your Workouts Causing Pain? Find Out.)

People in this particular study did five sets of five barbell deadlifts, twice per week. But that’s the only exercise they did. An even better approach according to Stock: Once a week, do three to five sets of three to five deadlifts. But in the same routine, work in back squats and other multi-joint exercises. The combination of deadlifts and back squats is the foundation of a solid strength training program, says Stock. 

Start with a 65- to 85-pound bar and, once you master the movement (you can consistently do five sets of five reps with perfect form), add weight. (Check out 8 Reasons You Should Lift Heavier Weights.) “The key is finding the balance between having a load that is rigorous (but manageable) and can be done with correct technique across all sets and repetitions,” says Stock.

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