What is a DEADLIFT? ↝ Beware Controversial!

Some might not like what they read, for some, it will open up a new world, while others are already in the know.

Many years of exercise, owning several gyms, helping many clients, and running many group sessions, and it has shown me that a lot of people think that a Deadlift is one fixed exercise. That there is only one way to perform it, and that it refers to one specific movement—in particular, the hip hinge movement—but it’s not, and how one thinks about the deadlift seems to depend on how they have been taught by their trainer/coach.

Some people are taught the Deadlift with a wide stance, some with a neutral stance, some are taught with a hip hinge and some are taught with a squat. But once you understand what a DEAD LIFT really is, a whole new world will open up to you.

I can completely understand that a lot of people have this misconception about the Dead Lift, because I had this misconception myself many moons ago when I started training and was taught how to dead lift. I happen to have been taught the Hip Hinge Dead Lift, which is the most common dead lift taught, but I was also under the impression that it was ‘THE’ one and only way to dead lift, that this movement was THE DEAD LIFT, if you did it any other way it was not a dead lift. That was until I started asking questions, analyzing and making up my own mind about the exercise, and writing about it. One of my articles is linked to from the Wikipedia page about Deadlifts https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deadlift which BTW is what I consider to be a page not really properly and accurately describing the Deadlift, but I do not dare go there.


Here is how I explain Dead Lifting to my clients so they understand what a Dead Lift really is. To fully understand the exercise one needs to split DEADLIFT into two words, DEAD and LIFT.

Dead in the context of exercise is an object not moving and not having any momentum.

Lift in the context of exercise means lifting an object to a higher position or level.

“Dead lift refers to the lifting of dead (without momentum) weight”

Once a client is aware of this explanation they will understand that whenever a weight is lifted dead from the ground, it is an exercise variation of a Deadlift.

Deadlift Stances and Movements

There are many stances and movements to use for lifting dead weight, here are a few to possibly open up new worlds for you:

  • Suitcase dead lift (narrow stance)
  • Sumo squat dead lift (wide stance)
  • Sumo hip hinge dead lift (wide stance)
  • Staggered stance
  • Neutral stance hip hinge dead lift
  • Wide stance squat dead lift
  • Jefferson dead lift
  • And more…

Types Of Deadlifts

The most common types of deadlifts are:

  • Hip hinge
  • Squat

But there are also the following deadlifts:

Anything that you lift dead from the ground is a DEAD LIFT, here are some objects just to get the point across:

  • Groceries
  • Furniture
  • Kettlebells
  • Sandbags
  • Tires
  • Bricks
  • Olympic barbells
  • Aquabags
  • And so on

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