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Deadlift
April 2, 2011 4:32 PM   Subscribe

"I happen to believe that the deadlift is a most beneficial exercise for men and women and athletes of both sexes of all ages ... The deadlift is not only a useful exercise to help build greater hip, leg, and back strength, it’s a movement everyone needs to know how to do properly because it will be done in some form or fashion countless times in a lifetime." Legendary strength coach Bill Starr writes about the deadlift, just as 27-year-old Benedikt Magnusson sets a new world record with a lift of 1015 pounds.
posted by Anatoly Pisarenko (99 comments total) 33 users marked this as a favorite

 
Sounds like a lot, but really only 461.4 kilograms.
posted by telstar at 4:37 PM on April 2, 2011 [13 favorites]


Raw. Controlled negative.

No words to describe it... Should have sent a poet.
posted by Kandarp Von Bontee at 4:40 PM on April 2, 2011 [8 favorites]


Sounds like a lot, but really only 461.4 kilograms.

Yeah, I agree. Its only HALF A FUCKING TON!

Thats like deadlifting 10 lindsay lohans.
posted by hal_c_on at 4:42 PM on April 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


That guy is literally 10x stronger than me (for now).
posted by synaesthetichaze at 4:43 PM on April 2, 2011


Benedikt Magnusson, Hummer tire deadlift, 1100lbs.
posted by phaedon at 4:44 PM on April 2, 2011


Thats like deadlifting 10 lindsay lohans.

Or lifting one Lindsay Lohan 10x making sure everything looks passable before someone in the entourage calls 911 and the cops and coroners show up.
posted by codswallop at 4:45 PM on April 2, 2011


I love deadlifts. Quite apart from their other benefits, if you do them without straps to assist holding the bar, they build phenominal grip strength.
posted by rodgerd at 4:47 PM on April 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Whoa...and with "alternating grip".

I guess there are 4 types of world records here.
posted by hal_c_on at 4:47 PM on April 2, 2011


When I first start weightlifting 1 year and 1/2 ago, I got my deadlifts up to 300lbs or so.

Then when I started again at the end of last summer I tried too hard and hurt my back. Now I'm scared to do more than 140# and I have to wear a belt for that. Hopefully I will not fuck up and stop lifting again.

And straight leg deadlifts are awesome, they are the only thing that makes my hamstrings sore.
posted by thylacine at 4:50 PM on April 2, 2011


Take a look at the Benedikt Magnusson video. Among the people standing behind him, there's a guy about one third his size... that's Benedikt's lunch I suspect.
posted by Catfry at 4:51 PM on April 2, 2011 [3 favorites]


Geez, that guy is huge. He could crush me like a bug, and I'm not a small guy.
posted by Forktine at 4:54 PM on April 2, 2011


I threw my back out doing that. four most painful weeks of my year followed. never again.

and yes, totally my fault.
posted by krautland at 4:54 PM on April 2, 2011


I just started a new training program, and Friday was deadlifts. By the afternoon both my partner and I felt like gravity had been turned up to about 4x Earth normal. I'm looking forward to doing more.
posted by rednikki at 5:05 PM on April 2, 2011


I'd deadlift more often but it's getting harder to find corpses.
posted by jonmc at 5:11 PM on April 2, 2011 [14 favorites]


Lame excuse, jonmc. They're so easy to make!
posted by contraption at 5:14 PM on April 2, 2011 [9 favorites]


I like the way the bar bends, just like in the cartoons. If they add much more, the weights will just remain on the ground with the bar bent up to his waist.
posted by JackFlash at 5:16 PM on April 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's sort of sweet that Iceland's Strongest Man is married to Britain's Strongest Woman.

(And Bill Starr gets props for writing that article in a way that assumes that lifters could be either men or women. I'm sort of surprised by that, because I've been kicking around the idea of starting to lift, and every time I go into the room with the barbells at my gym, I'm struck by the fact that there are literally no women. I don't think I would let that deter me, but it's sort of unnerving.)
posted by craichead at 5:21 PM on April 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


My best recent deadlift is 415x2 6ft@185lbs.

So a guy who weighs twice as much as me is around 3 times as strong, relative to our weights. Crazy to think about!

Those Magnus brothers are just out of this world dedicated, gifted and genetically able.
posted by zephyr_words at 5:24 PM on April 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


I like his "yeah, this ain't nothin'" look right after he gets the weights up...
posted by aerotive at 5:28 PM on April 2, 2011


Damned impressive.
posted by indubitable at 5:30 PM on April 2, 2011


Cripes, all these strongmen have last names of, "Magnússon"



The dead-lift quote at the beginning is bunk (c'mon, how do you measure beneficial...ness? in this context?). I've personally been told NOT to do them by a PT, since a good amount of injuries they see are from deadlifts.
posted by alex_skazat at 5:31 PM on April 2, 2011


I love this trend in fitness that poopoos all the swiss balls and resistance bands stuff that has been so popular and just goes with the classics.
posted by munchingzombie at 5:34 PM on April 2, 2011 [9 favorites]


Wooo! Just did 1x5 at 275 today. Felt like a wonderful beast of power.

It's super great, as I've only been lifting seriously for 1.5 months with the Starting Strength routine. Everyone must buy it.
posted by leotrotsky at 5:49 PM on April 2, 2011


Bug Weightlifting: Strongest Living SpeciesThe Hercules beetle can lift 850 times its own weight: the human equivalent of a 65-ton object.

So there, puny humans.
posted by cenoxo at 5:50 PM on April 2, 2011 [4 favorites]


I've personally been told NOT to do them by a PT, since a good amount of injuries they see are from deadlifts.

Sure, if you do it wrong. Just goes to show how... average the average personal trainer is.
posted by rodgerd at 5:54 PM on April 2, 2011 [3 favorites]


I love deadlifts and appreciate Bill Starr's contributions to the strength game; however, he is dead wrong about using straps.

Using straps for deadlifts (or any exercise) is quickest route to a rotator cuff injury - I base that on my own experience as well as the teachings of Starr's protégé (Rippetoe).

Also, alex_skazat perhaps you should consult a different PT...
posted by cinemafiend at 5:54 PM on April 2, 2011


Apart from all this other manly shit, deadlifts will make your ass look goddamn awesome.
posted by elizardbits at 5:56 PM on April 2, 2011 [3 favorites]


The dead-lift quote at the beginning is bunk (c'mon, how do you measure beneficial...ness? in this context?). I've personally been told NOT to do them by a PT, since a good amount of injuries they see are from deadlifts.

Well it's one of the most realistic real world transferable lifts.
It also places a huge amount of stress on your CNS which is great for getting stronger. It works the entire body a lot better than a bench or bicep curl :)

Your PT sounds like an idiot or too lazy to teach how to do deadlifts or maybe both. Bet they don't want people squatting either since it's "bad for the knees."
posted by zephyr_words at 5:57 PM on April 2, 2011 [3 favorites]


Heh, I just hit 3 plates on the deadlift at the gym today (315lbs). Felt like a gorilla.
posted by el chupa nibre at 6:10 PM on April 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


I know the common wisdom here (and on reddit's r/fitness) is that it's not worth going to the gym if you use machines -- that the only recipe for success in strength training is deadlifts, benchpresses and squats, squats, squats (as per Starting Strength).

What I want to know is this, though. I accept it's more efficient to do these kinds of compound barbell exercises. I accept it will make me stronger, and bigger, and do so quicker.

But what I've never seen anyone acknowledge is that they are (correct me if I'm wrong) much more risky. OK, sure, if you have perfect form you might be all right, but most people don't (and I certainly wouldn't). You're at a much greater risk of permanent, serious, chronic-pain-causing back injury from squatting or deadlifting than you are doing the equivalent exercise on a machine. That's because, as inefficient as they are, machines enforce good form much more than free weights.

Starting Strength devotees -- how do you respond to this kind of cost benefit analysis? Why should I risk crippling lower back injuries from deadlifts just to get stronger quicker? (I don't even know why getting stronger more efficiently is important anyway -- I'm going to go to the gym for the same amount of time each week anyway, so it's not like it saves me time; I'm just going to have slightly smaller thighs if I use the machines).
posted by dontjumplarry at 6:11 PM on April 2, 2011 [6 favorites]


And just further to that -- no-one at the Gold's Gym in my city ever does deadlifts. I asked and the PT said they were too risky (as per the commenter above). I also think I might have seen one squat in the whole time I've been there. But get this. Almost every single guy who works out there regularly has an amazing fucking body.

If deadlifts and squats are so important on the Internet, why does my entire gym seem to get fantastic bodies without them (and without the risk they entail)? (Or are you going to tell me they're not really fit they just *look* that way?)
posted by dontjumplarry at 6:17 PM on April 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Driving cars is risky; would you walk everywhere instead of driving and risking a vehicular accident even though you would travel at a fraction of the pace? Thats not a perfect analogy, but it's how I feel.

In any case, the risk of serious injury is greatly minimized with proper form. You're not going to cripple yourself if you perform the exercises as they're meant to be performed.
posted by el chupa nibre at 6:17 PM on April 2, 2011


Whaaa? A link to Starting Strength? No way, totally a surprise!
posted by P.o.B. at 6:18 PM on April 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


hold on... didn't he lift more here? Or is there some aspect of this I'm missing...
posted by Blasdelb at 6:23 PM on April 2, 2011


Blasdelb, yeah he lifted more but that doesn't look like a sanctioned event and I'm pretty sure nobody would accept that as a strict Deadlift.
posted by P.o.B. at 6:30 PM on April 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


In any case, the risk of serious injury is greatly minimized with proper form. You're not going to cripple yourself if you perform the exercises as they're meant to be performed.
Ok, well, it's nice to know that if I cripple myself, it will be my fault, but I suspect that would actually be sort of small consolation. Any hints for how exactly one would make sure that one had perfect form?
posted by craichead at 6:30 PM on April 2, 2011 [3 favorites]


If deadlifts and squats are so important on the Internet, why does my entire gym seem to get fantastic bodies without them

Of course, you can build an entire bodybuilding training regimen without any deadlifting. I think the people encouraging the deadlift are more interested in gaining strength than looking "fantastic" (or maybe they have a different idea of "fantastic" than you).
posted by indubitable at 6:30 PM on April 2, 2011


Cripes, all these strongmen have last names of, "Magnússon"

Actually in Iceland they don't have last names. So people with a 'last name' of Magnusson are actually just people's who father was named Magnus.
posted by delmoi at 6:36 PM on April 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


dontjumplarry: bodybuilding != strength training OR powerlifting
posted by leotrotsky at 6:43 PM on April 2, 2011 [3 favorites]


It's not risky if you don't ramp up the weight too fast and learn proper form. You can hurt yourself doing machine exercises.

For example, I fucked up my shoulder last year on the chest fly machine because I didn't exactly know how to use it.

And having a "fantastic body" doesn't mean you have functional strength.
posted by thylacine at 6:45 PM on April 2, 2011 [3 favorites]


craichead: Learn what proper form is (buy a book). Share the book with a friend. Lift with that friend, check each other's form.
posted by leotrotsky at 6:45 PM on April 2, 2011


Starting Strength devotees -- how do you respond to this kind of cost benefit analysis?

The same way I respond to other cost-benefit analysis regarding old practices that have suddenly become "more risky".

First, I realize that a PT at a gym where they have an entire room of stairsteppers but not a single squat rack probably isn't going to really be big on building strength. And I also realize that due to litigation risks, they're not going to encourage any exercise that has any real risk of harm.

And then I look back at my childhood, and think about riding my bike around my entire town until long past it was dark. And I realize that most kids growing up nowadays in the US aren't going to experience that level of exploration and discovery, because parents nowadays can't rationally deal with risk.

Then I think about my dad's old chemistry set I played with. Building stink bombs and conducting random experiments. And I realize that most kids growing up nowadays can't experience that, because it has become too risky for the toy companies to build. Nowadays when a parent sees a lab-bench of glassware, they're more likely to think "meth lab" than about about education.

Why should I risk crippling lower back injuries from deadlifts just to get stronger quicker?

You don't have to, I'm not asking you to, I don't think strength trainers are either. I am a bit sad that my nearest gym only has one smith rack and not a single power cage, but that's what the people want.
posted by formless at 6:45 PM on April 2, 2011 [3 favorites]


Alternatively, video record yourself lifting, then post it on SS forums and ask for a form critique.
posted by leotrotsky at 6:46 PM on April 2, 2011


That's because, as inefficient as they are, machinesfree weights enforce good form much more than free weightsmachines.

Fixed, with much effort better spent deadlifting.
posted by Kandarp Von Bontee at 6:51 PM on April 2, 2011


But what I've never seen anyone acknowledge is that they are (correct me if I'm wrong) much more risky.

I've done squats and deadlifts as the core of my exercise routines for nearly two decades. I'm not a monster because my routines have been off-and-on with the demands of career, shift work, fatherhood, and injuries.

I've yet to have a single injury in the gym. I've damaged my knees at squash - and deadlifts and squats have actually done a lot of help stablise that one - broken two different bones at judo (sprial fracture of the distal humerus, which shattered my upper left arm into three bits, and a more mundance broken collarbone), re-broken the collar bone on a kick scooter (don't ask!), and strained my back by throwing an old-style washing machine with cinderblock ballast. Deadlifts and squats are, so long as you learn decent form, listen to your body, and proceed at the speed of whichever muscle group, connective tissue, or joint is developing slowest, very safe indeed.

The hysteria whipped up by incompetant personal trainers scaring people is probably responsible for as many injuries as gung-ho types who have read too many steroid-influence routines in bodybuilding rags.

(Of course, having said all this I'll probably go to the gym tomorrow and cripple myself with a millitary press or something...)
posted by rodgerd at 7:04 PM on April 2, 2011 [4 favorites]


machines enforce good form much more than free weights

There's always this ongoing competition for the most stupid thing I've read on MeFi going on in my head, and this is certainly in the top ten for this year. Machines do not force good form. Machines force you into *their* form. If you've got a totally "typical" physique and the proportions of your body, your joints, and your ranges of motion are all within the parameters the designer envisaged, then yes, you may get some useful guidance from a machine. If you aren't, then the machine will help you fuck your joints quicker than any free weight.
posted by rodgerd at 7:06 PM on April 2, 2011 [23 favorites]


@rodgerd

+1
posted by ferdinand.bardamu at 7:08 PM on April 2, 2011


Or are you going to tell me they're not really fit they just *look* that way?

They're not fit, they just look that way. Seriously, the muscles you see are the big groups. The big groups do the big pushing and pulling, but they aren't doing anything for stability.

You know what I'd bet causes a "ton" of weight-lifting injuries? When people get strong on machines and then decide to try the same weight "for real." And then the sad reality of their lack of strength comes crashing down on them (but hopefully they have a spotter).

If you'd like to see a demonstration of the difference between functional strength and pretty-boy strength, try challenging a yoga instructor in something simple and fundamental like the plank. You've never seen such a mass of quivering, shaking, unstable and useless "big" muscles as you will when a machines-only lifter tries yoga.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 7:21 PM on April 2, 2011 [3 favorites]


Thats like lifting 10 dead lindsay lohans.

FTFY.
posted by klanawa at 7:22 PM on April 2, 2011


If you'd like to see a demonstration of the difference between functional strength and pretty-boy strength, try challenging a yoga instructor in something simple and fundamental like the plank.

I'm not into bodybuilding, but I think I've changed my mind about it being worthless. If that's what you want, why not go for it? Just keep in mind that it's not necessarily healthy. Bonsai-ing your body into these weird forms can be trouble.
posted by ignignokt at 7:27 PM on April 2, 2011


hold on... didn't he lift more here ? Or is there some aspect of this I'm missing...

That was a tire deadlift, which is a slightly different animal. As you can see in the video, the inner tires come off the ground first, making the weight effectively less at the beginning of the movement then at the end. It's sort of like lifting with chains. He's also using straps there.

The deadlift is easy to learn and hard to do, and people will always come up with lots of reasons not to do something hard. My deadlift was ugly when I started. I didn't hurt myself because the weights were light. Now that I'm strong I know how to not hurt myself. I DLed 435 x 8 yesterday and I've never been injured.
posted by Anatoly Pisarenko at 7:28 PM on April 2, 2011 [4 favorites]


Oh, and also I look fantastic.
posted by Anatoly Pisarenko at 7:39 PM on April 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


MY NAME IS MAGNUS MAGNÚSSON MAGNÚSSONSON AND I DEADLIFT HORSES HOUSES
posted by infinitywaltz at 8:10 PM on April 2, 2011


If I was forced to choose between being able to lift a thousand pounds and having a neck, I'm not sure how long I'd have to think about it.
posted by ardgedee at 8:15 PM on April 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


(Aslo, I hope no-one's conflating bobybuilders with "pretty-boys". Top bodybuilders are not as ridiculously powerful as World's Strongest Man competitors, but it's a question of margins. Franco Columbu was a five-and-a-half foot guy who could deadlift 700 pounds; "5 times as strong as the average man" and "7 times as strong as the average man" are pretty small differences, really.)
posted by rodgerd at 8:17 PM on April 2, 2011


I remember a while back while lifting in a gym there was a couple of guys talking to each other about their lifts. You could tell they were kind of one upping each other. Then they kind of start flexing and comparing. And then at one point one of the guys says "Alright, let's really compare ..." He then starts to pull his gym pants down and then both of them laugh it off. I think he was kind of serious though.

That being said, having been around quite a few athletes and usually very uncommon to ever hear them talk about their lifts unless specifically asked. So I always kind of half expect guys who unprovoked start to talk about how much they can lift to also start undoing their pants. Just in case they need to clear up any confusion on how much of a man they are.

In any case, let's clear something up. The heavier the weights get, the closer you are to an injury. It really is that simple.
I've never talked to someone who was sufficiently big and strong and didn't have some kind of injury. If you like to lift the big stuff and you've never had an injury, then good luck and maybe you'll be lucky.
posted by P.o.B. at 8:17 PM on April 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


MY NAME IS MAGNUS MAGNÚSSON MAGNÚSSONSON AND I DEADLIFT HOUSES

You also probably live in a country with really lax drug laws.
posted by P.o.B. at 8:18 PM on April 2, 2011


On the safety of weightlifting

I've been kicking around the idea of starting to lift, and every time I go into the room with the barbells at my gym, I'm struck by the fact that there are literally no women. I don't think I would let that deter me, but it's sort of unnerving.

Yeah, this sucks. I have no evidence to back this up except anecdotes from introducing others to strength training, but I tend to think that weightlifting is evenmore beneficial for women compared to men. I'd wager that most women walk around at a smaller percentage of their genetic strength potential than most men do. They make crazy early gains when taught to lift properly.
posted by Theodore Sign at 8:21 PM on April 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


There's always this ongoing competition for the most stupid thing I've read on MeFi going on in my head, and this is certainly in the top ten for this year. Machines do not force good form. Machines force you into *their* form. If you've got a totally "typical" physique and the proportions of your body, your joints, and your ranges of motion are all within the parameters the designer envisaged, then yes, you may get some useful guidance from a machine. If you aren't, then the machine will help you fuck your joints quicker than any free weight.

Ah, stop playing to the peanut gallery. Every PT I've ever met is just as certain of their own gym-spun folk wisdom, but all the folk wisdom always points in a different direction.

Look, I'm not advocating for machines. I know they're crap, and that you get a much better workout from free weights, and become much stronger. But Anatoly Pisarenko above, a huge proponent of free weights, acknowledges that deadlifts are indeed difficult to do, that he had terrible form in the beginning, and only avoided injury because he went up very gradually. All I'm contending is that a leg press machine (for example) is easier to stumble through without injury for noobs than a deadlift (for example) -- in part, because it enforces a modicum of form (though that form is still imperfect).
posted by dontjumplarry at 8:35 PM on April 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm a chick and I lift weights. If you're a woman and you're scared of going to the weight room because you don't see any other women there, just remember that somewhere out there, I am lifting weights (along with all of the awesome women on my lifting team).

The deadlift is a special movement that I love with all my heart. My goal this year is to pull 300 lb (at a bodyweight of 135 lb).
posted by telegraph at 8:36 PM on April 2, 2011 [10 favorites]


Thought I could resist getting involved with this argument but I can't, so forgive the consecutive posts.

As has been mentioned upthread, machines enforce their form, not necessarily good form. Furthermore, though you might be less likely to experience an acute injury while using a machine than while moving a barbell, you're certainly more likely to develop a chronic injury if you're performing loaded movements with awkward form and questionable range of movement (for example, the Smith machine 1/4 squat: it's bad for virtually everything, and people use it to "move" heavy loads). You can certainly have awkward form and questionable ROM with a barbell, but you're less likely to even be able to execute the lift if your form sucks, so there's a built-in safety valve, so to speak. (That's what I presume Anatoly meant when he said that his deadlift was light when he was a beginner with bad form)
posted by telegraph at 8:42 PM on April 2, 2011


All I'm contending is that a leg press machine (for example) is easier to stumble through without injury for noobs than a deadlift (for example) -- in part, because it enforces a modicum of form (though that form is still imperfect).

Comparing leg press to the deadlift is not a good example for your argument. Novices can add weight very quickly to the leg press and outrun the capacity of their knees and other supporting structures, like the lower back. The limiting factor on deadlift is usually grip strength. Grip strength takes a while to build up so there's a natural delay in the progression while the body becomes more accustomed to the weight. In the meanwhile, if the lifter can't hold the grip then he or she simply won't be attempting the lift; the body won't let you pick up something you can't grip, it's a built-in safety mechanism. (This is why I don't use straps.)
posted by ferdinand.bardamu at 8:45 PM on April 2, 2011


He then starts to pull his gym pants down and then both of them laugh it off. I think he was kind of serious though.

They were probably going to compare quads, as real men do.

But Anatoly Pisarenko above, a huge proponent of free weights, acknowledges that deadlifts are indeed difficult to do, that he had terrible form in the beginning, and only avoided injury because he went up very gradually.

The fact that they are difficult to do is a good thing. What I acknowledged is that lots of people make excuses in order to avoid doing difficult things. A man just pulled 1015, I'd rather not sully his accomplishment by associating it with some goofy sidebar about deadlifts vs. leg presses. It's not going to kill you to try it.
posted by Anatoly Pisarenko at 8:51 PM on April 2, 2011


I think the deadlift is a pretty awesome move and I'd love to learn how to do it properly, but as in alex_skazat's case, I keep running into trainers who warn me off it and won't teach me to do it. I'd thought until now that it might have something to do with me being a woman, but now I am relieved to hear that it's just equal-opportunity paranoia.

That said, my current trainer, who appears awesomely strong to my own wondering eyes, incurred the only serious injury of her athletic life when doing a deadline. So I understand her reticence to encourage me, there.
posted by artemisia at 9:24 PM on April 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


*deadlift

Deadline is what I am currently trying to ignore -- unsuccessfully, it seems.
posted by artemisia at 9:24 PM on April 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


Deadlifts are my favorite lift as well. The argument can be made that squats are slightly more efficient, and certainly they are easier to recover from than deads, but nothing beats the feeling of hauling weight off the floor that just doesn't want to be moved.
posted by Theodore Sign at 9:28 PM on April 2, 2011


The weight, that is. Not the floor. That would be weird.
posted by Theodore Sign at 9:29 PM on April 2, 2011


Okay, I love Magnusson's lift there. His set up. Pacing back and forth like a tiger in a cage. His approach to the bar. Charging up to it, grasping it, and lifting it. The pause at the top. The grin. Then he puts the heaviest bar a human has ever deadlifted down like it's a couple of bags of groceries.

This one is good too.
posted by Barry B. Palindromer at 11:48 PM on April 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Is this something I would have to have muscles to understand?
posted by neuromodulator at 11:54 PM on April 2, 2011


(that was supposed to be a joke about me being scrawny, not about this being uninteresting)
posted by neuromodulator at 11:57 PM on April 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Bonsai-ing your body into these weird forms can be trouble.

I don't know what kind of prejudices you have against yoga, but it isn't "weird forms" that one has to be Bonsai'ed into. The "plank" I mentioned? This is the plank. It's one of the most fundamental core exercise you can do with a human body besides standing.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 12:02 AM on April 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


There are women in the weightroom, just not all the time. I won't say that I have the same issue that women have going in there, but I'm overweight - and I'm sure other dudes look at me slightly in the same way they look at women that lift. \

Just keep your chin up and do it, realize that most of the people there are worried about themselves, sure - they glance at your ass but they're more concerned about their own ass. I am guilty of this hetero-normative behavior, but generally I'm checking out women to see if they are actually working out or just doing half-assed machine movements.

To the women who show up and do compound free-weight workouts I have a lot of respect (the same that I have to men), some of them can lift more than me.

I usually just look confused at the people who are doing machine work-outs and not pushing themselves. You can see the people who have the attitude: "I'm here, I may not look like I should be, but deal with!"

Yes, I judge people - most people do at the gym, but at least for me (who is not swole by any means) I judge people on what workout they're doing, not how they look or how many reps they can do, and if I see them over and over. That's probably the best way I've earned respect at the gym, showing up reguarly.

(this is at a gym at a mid-west university)
posted by thylacine at 12:33 AM on April 3, 2011


Deadlifts just kill me.
posted by bwg at 1:18 AM on April 3, 2011


When I first joined my gym I could overhead squat a broomstick. Anything heavier than that and my form went to hell, feet started wobbling, shoulders falling in all over the place. My fellow gym-goers would edge away from the flailing ends of my broomstick - one person would inevitably seek shelter behind a squat rack. And it was embarrassing, too - doing squats with a freaking broomstick? While there was a tiny woman squatting 175 right next to me and a guy deadlifting 350? OH MY GOD, I thought, when the zombies come she's going to be able to decapitate reanimated corpses with a pipe, he's going to be able to tear mailboxes out of the ground and flatten them, and I'm going to be eaten by hordes of the living dead. They'd use my broomstick to pick their teeth after. What the hell am I doing here? I still can't do this with any weight even though I've been working hard OH GOD I can't even lift the bar - the empty bar! I suck. I suck! Maybe I should work out on my own more before going for the more complex stuff, I decided. Could I maybe get my payment back? I enquired.

"No," they said. "Damn it," I said, picking back up my freaking broomstick.

A few months later and I was putting up a 95 lb OHS - shoulders locked out, full depth squat. From a 85 lb deadlift I jumped to 210 lbs - for a previously untrained female weighing a buck thirty, those were some pretty sweet gains. and come hell or high water I WILL get a 2x bodyweight DL this year

Thing is I learned real quick that no matter how determined I was, if my form was shit my body would give me shit, and if my muscles weren't ready to carry that high a weight with good form, well, they'd just decide to give up that day and leave me croaking on the floor with a twitching foot gasping for an ice pack. I had to be patient and work at it over and over and add a wee bit of weight each time - not being a naturally patient person, that sucked, but seeing the plates add up and up made it completely worth it.

tl;dr - weightlifting is awesome, even it takes a long time to get anywhere near competent at it. And if you want to get good at it, take your time, find a gym with fantastic coaches who'll teach you how to do it right, care about you enough to constantly nag you about form and who have a no refunds policy.
posted by zennish at 1:36 AM on April 3, 2011 [5 favorites]


That's probably the best way I've earned respect at the gym, showing up reguarly.

And re-rack your weights, people. It's just being tidy.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 2:08 AM on April 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


Sadly, a chronic shoulder injury means that I can't do deadlifts (or chin-ups, or rows, or a few other things), so I do squats instead. I guess I'm missing out on the grip benefits; what else do you get with a deadlift but not a squat?
posted by A Thousand Baited Hooks at 2:30 AM on April 3, 2011


When I saw the video I was thinking "Lift with the legs, not the back", so I'm confused. Is it okay to lift with the back? Okay if you have the right form? Is he actually not lifting with his back, even though it looks like he is?
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 7:48 AM on April 3, 2011


When they say don't lift with your back, it usually means lifting with a rounded back and straightening your back out to lift the weight. That's a no-no and bad for your spine. He's lifting with his legs and his hips. The hips are engaging his hamstrings, lower back, etc, to straighten out his entire body.
posted by swashedbuckles at 7:55 AM on April 3, 2011


From a 85 lb deadlift I jumped to 210 lbs - for a previously untrained female weighing a buck thirty, those were some pretty sweet gains.

That's great progress. I think a lot of people make the mistake of assuming that the guys and gals who can lift heavy in "scary" ways must have always lifted heavy, or are naturally gifted athletes, and they use that conclusion to justify their own reluctance to even make an attempt. But of course that isn't the case. Just about everyone strong and confident started out weak and shaky. Consistency and desire goes very, very far.

what else do you get with a deadlift but not a squat?

DLs alllow heavier loads to be moved. Depending on one's squatting style, DLs will involve more hamstrings. And DLs will do a lot for your trap/upper back development. Too many dudes who don't DL waste their time shrugging dumbbells.

When I saw the video I was thinking "Lift with the legs, not the back", so I'm confused. Is it okay to lift with the back?

swashedbuckles is exactly right. The deadlift involves motion around the knees and hips, while the back is held locked in extension. I think the above admonition is generally misunderstood; people take it to mean that all lifting should be done with the knee joint and a perfectly upright back. This misunderstanding leads to some poorly-executed deadlifts, too. Put your ass into it, people.

I have one more thought to share regarding injuries and safety. All elite-level competitive athletes get injured, regardless of their sport. I'm sure Benedikt Magnusson has endured many injuries. Exercise is generally healthy, but with any competitive physical discipline, there comes a point where pursuing a higher level of performance starts to involve risking one's health and well-being rather than improving it. I think most people understand that. What I think a lot of people are totally wrong about is where exactly that point lies with lifting, especially as compared to something like long-distance running.

As some folks in this thread have attested to, there are those who would say that even attempting to deadlift is more dangerous than it's worth. I have to wonder how these people function in their everyday lives -- maybe they have robot exoskeletons to pick up objects for them. Maybe some people would say deadlifting is ok, but once a man can deadlift 200 pounds he's as strong as he needs to be and if he goes heavier he's putting himself at risk. Whereas I'd say that a 400-500 pound deadlift is a totally achievable goal for the average-sized adult male, a goal that does not represent a serious level of competition or an unreasonable amount of risk. It just takes a few years of consistency. So that's why I say that I've DLed over 500 and never injured myself; because a 500 pound DL is really not extreme. I'm sure almost everyone who has DLed 800 has been injured, and they are also very likely to powerlifters who specialize in the competition lifts, like our friend Benedikt.

On the other hand, I think a lot of people would say that "cardio" is always healthy, and more is always better, and that running a marathon is good for you while training your DL to 500 is not. But in fact it looks like running marathons may not be so healthy.

So exercise is good for you, up to a point where it becomes extreme, and then maybe it's not so good for you. But I think a lot of people are mistaken about where the boundary between healthy and extreme sits when it comes to different forms of exercise. Personally, I like to know that the next time I have to pick up a TV, or move some furniture, or save someone from a burning building, I'm more than strong enough to do it. Plus I have badass traps.
posted by Anatoly Pisarenko at 8:11 AM on April 3, 2011 [11 favorites]


He made it look so easy. The atmosphere was really amped up, which must have helped.

Regarding women in the weight-room, it's cool to see women engage their ability for strength and action. If you're in the weight room at the same time as me, I'll send you a quiet thought of support while otherwise ignoring you, because we're both busy lifting.
posted by zinzin at 8:34 AM on April 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


Mandelbaumsson?
posted by neuron at 8:44 AM on April 3, 2011


hold on... didn't he lift more here ? Or is there some aspect of this I'm missing...

He used straps, which I think negates the record.
posted by dobbs at 9:25 AM on April 3, 2011


According to my chiropractor, who also holds a MA in sports science, there is no gold standard certification for personal trainers. There are lots of them, and some can be earned by taking a test over a weekend.

I've trained newbies in the gym, and I have no training experience at all, I'm just passing on what I've learned from experts. But I wouldn't dare try to show anyone how to do tricky lifts like deadlift, clean, etc.

Previous posters are correct: these lifts are very beneficial, but require careful attention to form. The deadlift in particular demonstrates functional strength. I can walk over the leg press machine (the "sled") and press perhaps ten plates (450 lbs) no problem. That's because it isolates certain major muscles, and lets you literally sit down to do the movement. Now put those same plates on a bar and ask me to lift it off the ground safely--forget it.

Many fitness centers are designed for regular folks who want to stay healthy, so they're full of machines, elliptical trainers, and treadmills. A competent personal trainer can show a 40-year-old soccer mom how to use the elliptical trainer in 5 minutes. Contrast that to the multiple sessions and careful focus required to show someone how to deadlift properly. It's time-intensive.

If you want to learn these lifts, seek out a pro, i.e., someone who trains college athletes and holds at least a B.A. in Sports Science, Kinesiology, etc. And plan to spend time and money on proper instruction.
posted by 4midori at 10:21 AM on April 3, 2011


If you want to learn these lifts, seek out a pro, i.e., someone who trains college athletes and holds at least a B.A. in Sports Science, Kinesiology, etc. And plan to spend time and money on proper instruction.

Learning from a good coach is definitely the best way. But since not everyone has access to a good coach, I would hasten to add that it's not a requirement. This is not black magic or rocket science; you can learn this stuff on your own. People have been lifting heavy objects a lot longer than there have been people with degrees in sports science. Just don't be this guy.
posted by Anatoly Pisarenko at 11:10 AM on April 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Anatoly: Wow, that was hard to watch.
posted by elwoodwiles at 12:46 PM on April 3, 2011


They're not so clever when you have a dodgy lower back. Even with correct technique.
posted by Decani at 12:53 PM on April 3, 2011


They were probably going to compare quads, as real men do.

If you're comparing your "manhood" with someone else and you start showing off your quads, ur doin it wrong.

what else do you get with a deadlift but not a squat?

Generally I prefer deads to squats for a couple of reasons. First, it's one of the basic moves you can do without any extra equipment. You can get along without squats just fine, especially if you're just casual lifter*. If you have only a little bit of space to store home workout equipment you don't need to buy anything more than an Olympic weight set. Secondly, it works a whole bunch of ancillary muscles that the squat just doesn't do anything for. As some people mentioned forearm grip strength but also you can get a really thick upper back which will effectively make you look more imposing. Last, you can throw a 4-6 inch platform under your feet and get leg work that is almost as good as deep squats will give you.

The big problem you get with deadlifts, and squats to a lesser extent, is generally people are not aware of their own body's kinesics. Athletic people tend to have better perception about this and some people are great mimics but in general that isn't the case. Add to that in the real world you will rarely "deadlift" anything off the ground, and anything heavy enough to warrant real strength just isn't going to be built with a handy bar to properly allow you to use "good form".
So tight hips and rounded shoulders that produce kyphotic curvature are not a great place to naturally start from. Nor is something that isn't going to allow you to easily get your center of gravity fixed.

*I mean this in the sense that you don't have to specifically make squats a regular part of your workout if you are regularly doing deadlifts or any of the other variations of squats.
posted by P.o.B. at 1:36 PM on April 3, 2011


If anybody is curious about a little more in depth instuction Cressy did an article on Master the Deadlift (Pt2)
Dave Tate on Deadlfiting
and Rippetoe
posted by P.o.B. at 1:57 PM on April 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Another point around injuries and free weights: you needto let go of the ego. It's easy to chuck impressive-looking weights on, say, a leg press machine. I'm coming back from a year and a half, maybe two, of very little gym or general exercise time, mostly as a result of injury. I can go sit on a leg press machine, chuck a couple of hundred kilos on, and pound out reps like it's nothing. It's ego-gratifying, because I can watch people with much nicer-looking physiques than me struggling away to come close.

But if I line up for squats or deadlifts, the weight I can safely do is pitiful. I can't even sling my own bodyweight around at the moment. How stink is that? My lower back and knees just complain too much. And on one level it's kind of embarrassing. here I am, squatting less that guys who maybe way twenty kilos less than me. So there's a temptation there, obviously, to ramp up the weight to what my legs can handle, rather thn my back. I could probably manage it for a while, until something popped. Or I can swallow my ego and back off, take the weights down until my form's good and I can feel muscles working, rather than my spine telling me I've overloaded it. If you want to be able to work out without crippling yourself you have to be able to focus on your own body, your own accomplishments, and to be able to take steps back as well as forward when the occasion demands it - you need to drop plates, drop plates and get better quality exercise.
posted by rodgerd at 2:55 PM on April 3, 2011


I don't know what kind of prejudices you have against yoga

Whoa, relax. I do yoga, actually. I'm not talking about yoga re: bonsai. I was talking about bodybuilding.
posted by ignignokt at 4:19 PM on April 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Pat Robertson can leg press 1000lbs.

I should hope that puts an end to all talk of leg press machines.
posted by Kandarp Von Bontee at 5:19 PM on April 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


I think the thing for me is that if I spent most of my time machine training, the injury wouldn't happen at the gym, but doing some RL lift when I'm helping a friend move or something. If I spent most of my time with free weights (and built up to lifting a lot more than I do now), I'd probably get injured in the gym. At least with the free weights, someone might offer a helpful suggestion about how bad my form is.
posted by BrotherCaine at 5:24 PM on April 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think the thing for me is that if I spent most of my time machine training, the injury wouldn't happen at the gym, but doing some RL lift when I'm helping a friend move or something. If I spent most of my time with free weights (and built up to lifting a lot more than I do now), I'd probably get injured in the gym. At least with the free weights, someone might offer a helpful suggestion about how bad my form is.

This is a very good point. I am by no means in shape or strong, but I can manhandle some fairly large pieces of equipment that other people cringe at. Yet, I can throw out my back with a mere sneeze.
posted by gjc at 7:17 PM on April 3, 2011




dontjumplarry: If deadlifts and squats are so important on the Internet, why does my entire gym seem to get fantastic bodies without them (and without the risk they entail)? (Or are you going to tell me they're not really fit they just *look* that way?)
Do you go to the gym to look fantastic? I'm asking this in all seriousness; sometimes I'm surprised by the opinions other people hold. Along similar lines, over dinner I mentioned to an old friend that I hadn't seen in a long time that I'd been going to the gym regularly, and he jokingly asked "So, do you find that it helps with the ladies?"

I don't regularly work out in order to look fantastic. I work out to hopefully, one day, be fantastic. Is it ridiculous to put so much stock in something as facile and superficial as physical strength and ability? Maybe it is, maybe, but goddamnit I do. When I go to the gym and I see someone doing a squat at 1*BW I nod to myself and say "Yes, they're doing it." Whenever I run past a jogger in the early hours of the morning I nod to myself and say "Indeed, they're pushing themselves". I once saw a woman friend leg press 315kg, and she couldn't have weighed more than 70kg, and over the fog of my overwhelming awe it only confirmed to me the beauty and potential of the human body.

I can't be the only one who feels like this about physical fitness, that it's something else besides reinforcing the superficial, that it somehow provides an important part of spiritual strength. I know this because once, a long time ago, I was jogging in Montréal, on Mont Royal. It's a 14km run up and down, and the overall incline isn't too shabby. During a final part of the way up there's an usually steep incline and I enjoyed sprinting up it. This time on the way up a cyclist was overtaking me when he clearly slowed down and shouted something to me in French. I responded:

Me: <gasping> Sorry, I don't know French!
Cyclist: Don't give up! Never give up!
Me: <gasping> I'm trying not to!
Cyclist: <thumbs up, rides off>

I am a scrawny, scrawny man. My body doesn't really respond physically to weight training. And yet I can squat and deadlift 1.5*BW, and when I do my body exults in a pure and distilled sensation of joy. That's why I work out.
posted by asymptotic at 5:29 AM on April 4, 2011 [10 favorites]


Orlando Green pulled 865 at the same meet. I think he weighs around 220.
posted by Anatoly Pisarenko at 8:27 AM on April 4, 2011


865# at 220# body weight? I weigh the same, and my personal best is 480#. I used to say (with pride) that I can deadlift more that twice my body weight; I think I will just keep my mouth shut from now on. Orlando Green is an absolute beast!
posted by KillaSeal at 10:24 AM on April 4, 2011


Do you go to the gym to look fantastic? I'm asking this in all seriousness; sometimes I'm surprised by the opinions other people hold. Along similar lines, over dinner I mentioned to an old friend that I hadn't seen in a long time that I'd been going to the gym regularly, and he jokingly asked "So, do you find that it helps with the ladies?"

Motivation is a tricky thing and it obviously, or should be obvious to any rational person, varies from person to person. Any trainer worth their salt should know this and would actually take a client through a consultation when they first meet them and sort out what goals they are trying to accomplish. Varying goals for different people also means that any But outward appearance is kind of big deal for a lot of people and is their main motivation for going to the gym.
I was watching a talk by Tim Ferris and he mentionde that a group of CEOs had got a hold of him and wanted his advice, but they only wanted the bulletpoints on a workable program. So Tim gives it to them and unsurprisingly there was 0% progress. He then said something that, again, any trainer worth their salt figures out after training many different people: It's not what you do, but how you do it.
So some people just want to look like Brad Pitt and some people get turned on by stacking five plates on each side of an bar. There's nothing wrong with either of those goals and in this day and age nobody should be placing their ideas of what is worthy for a person to aspire to on somebody else.
posted by P.o.B. at 12:32 PM on April 4, 2011


Wow, lost a train of thought there:

Varying goals for different people also means that any blanket one-size-fits-all-program doesn't work for everyone. But outward ...
posted by P.o.B. at 12:35 PM on April 4, 2011


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