What kind of physique will DEADLIFTS ONLY build?

Discussion in 'Barbell' started by Opiaswing, Feb 11, 2019.

  1. Opiaswing

    Opiaswing Double-Digit Post Count

    i currently have rotator cuff tendonitis.

    I have found that deadlifts offer a therapeutic effect and have decided to dedicate a month or two solely to deadlifts and rotator cuff exercises.

    (The physio has given me the all clear to continue training alongside rotator cuff work, but deadlifts actively help the situation too).

    What kind of physique changes can I expect to see? I will be doing both high and low rep days.
  2. Antti

    Antti More than 2500 posts

    Deadlifts build pretty much all of the backside. Apart from the lats and traps it won't really be any muscles you see in the mirror, the typical show muscles.

    Different deadlifts hit different spots. If in doubt and your form is good, it could be a good idea to go wider and lower at times.

    How do the deadlifts actively help your situation with the rotator cuff tendonitis?
    Phil12 and H. Mac like this.
  3. H. Mac

    H. Mac Double-Digit Post Count

    I agree with Antti’s post. A high school coach long ago told me that Deadlifts build the “workin’ muscles,”, not the “showin’ off” muscles, and I’ve found this to be pretty true.

    However, I also believe that Deadlifts can improve posture, and good posture is essential to a good physique.
    Phil12 and North Coast Miller like this.
  4. Steve Freides

    Steve Freides Dir. of Community Engagement Staff Member Senior Instructor

    I can share a personal story. A few months after I'd started deadlifting, I was a member of my local YMCA and still swimming there. I'd been a member for a few years and, of course, the staff trainers and I would see each other from time to time in the locker room in various stages of undress.

    One day, as I was getting dressed, I heard two of the trainers behind me, laughing. I turned around to hear one say to the other, "Look at his back." I happened not to have my shirt on. The one trainer then proceeded to explain to me how to do a "lat flare" because he was pointing out to the other trainer what had happened to my back muscles in the last few months.

    I've never seen my back in the mirror so I don't know what all the fuss was about, but the experience gave me the impression that deadlifting is good for developing the musculature of one's back. And that was the first and last "lat flare" of my life, I hasten to add.

  5. The Nail

    The Nail Quadruple-Digit Post Count

  6. watchnerd

    watchnerd Triple-Digit Post Count

    The vast majority of my barbell work is posterior chain: clean deadlifts, snatch deadlifts, cleans, snatch pulls, clean pulls, high bar back squat, front squat.

    The only upper body barbell work I do is overhead (press, push press, power jerk, jerks).

    As a result, most of my mass is on my backside / legs.

    My chest and arms are far more modest in comparison (just ring push ups, KB push ups).

    Deadlifts and squats are considered to be the "kings" of barbell exercises and you can build a very athletic physique with those as your primary lifts, complimented by bodyweight upper body (push ups / pull ups).

    If I were designing a minimals program for a relatively novice lifter, I would combine deadlifts with whatever squat is suitable to their abilities and needs.
    Phil12 and ShawnM like this.
  7. Philippe Geoffrion

    Philippe Geoffrion More than 300 posts

    Deadlifts are a wonderful lift. If that's what you can do right now, do it. Like others noted, deadlifts build the working muscles. They ARE the working man's lift. Alas, there are many variations to this lift as well that can develop muscles a bit differently. For the back, Conventional/Snatch Grip and off blocks seem to be king but there are also RDL's, Sumo, BTB, Jefferson, Single Arm in front or to the side, and probably a few others. With an ailment like yours, deadlifts are a great idea. They may not build your mirror muscles as much, but given your situation, it may be (always is) a good time to focus on the building the posterior.
    ShawnM likes this.
  8. Kozushi

    Kozushi More than 2500 posts

    Shouldn't it be balanced with a push of some kind, like dips or something?
    LukeV likes this.
  9. Steve Freides

    Steve Freides Dir. of Community Engagement Staff Member Senior Instructor

    A standing, one-arm press of some sort makes a perfect companion. Kettlebell military press, barbell side press, dumbbell bent press, 1-arm push-up.

    Kozushi likes this.
  10. Philippe Geoffrion

    Philippe Geoffrion More than 300 posts

    As long as it doesn't aggravate the OP's injury, a press would be ideal.
  11. watchnerd

    watchnerd Triple-Digit Post Count

    Ideally, yes, but...

    When it comes to anti fragility, a strong back and posterior chain is probably more critical for health than ideal push/pull symmetry.
  12. Kozushi

    Kozushi More than 2500 posts

    No doubt there, but in order to help with the stabilizer muscles for the pull as well as to fill in some gaps in strength and structure, it's good to put in a little bit of work into some kind of push.
  13. Kozushi

    Kozushi More than 2500 posts

    What about dips?
  14. Bill Been

    Bill Been More than 500 posts

    I’m a pretty big non-fan of an exercise like dips that jams the humerus into the glenoid fossa in the presence of tendinitis of the tendons that run through that space. Call me crazy.
    watchnerd, Tirofijo and The Nail like this.
  15. Steve Freides

    Steve Freides Dir. of Community Engagement Staff Member Senior Instructor

    Dips are an interesting exercise. They are essentially a press if you think about it. I began doing them for the first time in my life a few months ago, only as a "variety" exercise, and like them. I sometimes do a few, bodyweight only, as a warmup before I do my presses, which are currently 1-arm, 2-leg pushups.

    Would they be my ideal as a mate for the barbell deadlift in minimalist program? I still favor a one-armed press but, that said, I like the idea of dips paired with barbell deadlifts, and I will have to give that a try sometime. Thank you for the idea.

    Kozushi and Philippe Geoffrion like this.
  16. watchnerd

    watchnerd Triple-Digit Post Count

    For maximum athletic performance, yes.

    But for everyday life, I kind of doubt it. Our ancestors lifted heavy things, threw things, pulled things, pushed things, grabbed things, all in a pretty random fashion that I'm sure lacked perfect symmetry. Every day life does a pretty good job of hitting all the angles if you're not sedentary.

    If my parents asked for a recommendation, I'd pick "deadlifts and more yardwork" over "deadlifts and pushups / dips".
    Kozushi likes this.
  17. Philippe Geoffrion

    Philippe Geoffrion More than 300 posts

    Side benefit of dips-They are also a press that also allows you to unload your spine a bit after deadlifts. Handstand pushups would also fit nicely in this category.
    Kozushi, fractal and Steve Freides like this.
  18. fractal

    fractal More than 500 posts

    My left shoulder doesn’t tolerate pressing a kettlebell and hasn’t for a year. I can get away with a bit of testing, or a couple sessions, but a week or two of training and that familiar ache comes back.

    On the other hand, I can dip multiple times per week and have done on and off for years without any trouble.

    The issue with dips for most people is that they lack glenohumeral extension and make up for it with internal rotation and scapular tipping. Like any movement, performing them without the requisite range of motion is where problems occur. Of course pre-existing ac joint injuries (I have those too) can contraindicate dips in some cases.

    I also really like the spinal traction aspect to dips and find them very easy to recover from.

    I think you could do worse than pairing dips with deadlifts, but they’re both basically ‘arms at side’ exercises. I’d prefer an overhead or at least more horizontal press in combination with deadlifts.
    Philippe Geoffrion likes this.
  19. Steve Freides

    Steve Freides Dir. of Community Engagement Staff Member Senior Instructor

    Done properly, dips are a fine exercise, I agree.

    fractal and Chrisdavisjr like this.
  20. vegpedlr

    vegpedlr More than 500 posts

    I don’t quite know what to make of dips. So I tried them and worked them as my pushing movement for Easy Strength for a few months in the fall. I liked them. I get now why bodybuilders like them. They filled in my chest a little in a way that other pushes haven’t, and when I got to benching, they helped with that too.

    I think that the trap bar DL, dips and chins would make a fine Easy Strength Program.
    Kozushi likes this.

Share This Page