Okay, so you’re looking to pack on some serious muscle mass, right? You want to build a ripped, rock-solid physique that demands respect and turns heads everywhere you go, correct? Good. In this article I’m going to talk to you about one single exercise that will help you achieve that powerful body quicker than you ever thought possible.
No, it’s not a bench press or a barbell curl.
It doesn’t involve cables or chrome machines.
You won’t need a swiss ball or any other fancy gym gadgets.
All you need is a good old-fashioned barbell and a flat surface. Load the bar with as much weight as you can handle and pick it up off the ground while keeping your back straight. Sounds simple enough, right?
I’m talking, of course, about the undisputed king of all upper body exercises: the deadlift. If you’re looking to pile as much lean muscle mass onto your frame as humanly possibly in the shortest period of time, the deadlift is your best friend in the entire world. That’s the good news. The bad news is that deadlifts are without a doubt one of the most painful and discomforting exercises you will ever come across. When performed properly, they’ll leave you lightheaded, nauseous, gasping for air and will temporarily have you wishing that you hadn’t come to the gym in the first place. But if it’s serious results that you’re after, this is the price you must pay.
The deadlift will work you from finger to neck to toe. It is a raw, basic power movement and will literally stress every single muscle in your entire body to some degree. The main areas of stimulation are the back (lower and upper) and thighs, but once you start deadlifting on a consistent basis you’ll see gains just about everywhere. The high intensity nature of this basic lift will also force your body to secrete higher amounts of powerful anabolic substances such as testosterone and growth hormone. This causes what is known as a “spill over effect”, and will result in new, total body size and strength gains. For example, after a few weeks of heavy deadlifting you should notice that your other lifts, such as the bench press and barbell row, will suddenly increase.
There a few different variations of the deadlift, but in this article we’ll focus on the basic, standard bent-legged version. Let’s go over the proper technique...
Position your feet about shoulder-width apart and grip the bar with your hands just outside your legs. You can either hold the bar with an overhand grip or with one palm facing in and one palm facing out. Choose whatever grip is most comfortable for you. Start the movement in a squatted position with the bar close to your shins. With your back flat, abs tight and head looking up, lift the weight off of the ground by driving upward with your legs. Pull the weight up until you are in a standing position. Now lower the weight back down by following the same path as when you lifted it. Rest the plates on the ground briefly, regroup, take a deep breath and pull the weight back up again. Continue the lift until your legs reach muscular failure or until your form starts to slip.
Maintaining proper form is of high importance when performing deadlifts. You should be able to handle a reasonable amount of weight here, and this increases your chance of injury. The most important thing to remember is to keep your back flat at all times and to keep the weight close to your body. Keep your abs tight as well as this will minimize the stress on your lower back. Practice this lift with light weight in order to get the form down before you start going heavy. You may also find it useful to use lifting straps when performing deadlifts, as this will prevent your grip from giving out before the rest of your body does.
I recommend performing deadlifts once a week for 2 all-out sets to muscular failure. How many reps should you perform for each set? Well, deadlifts are such an incredibly effective exercise that they’ll work no matter what rep range you use. My suggestion is to stay in the range of 4-8, but some people go as high as 20. Experiment and see what works best for you.
Treat your deadlifts with respect, and be prepared for the gains of your life!
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Sean Nalewanyj is a bodybuilding expert, fitness author and writer of top-selling Internet Bodybuilding E-Book: The Truth About Building Muscle. You can learn more by visiting his website: www.MuscleGainTruth.com/
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