Should You Deadlift on Back or Leg Day?

Lexi Lutz
Reading Time: 10 minutes
deadlifts on back day
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Deadlifts are one of the most effective exercises for building overall strength and muscle development. 

But something I see my clients struggle trying to decide is if they should deadlift on back or leg day

Whether you want to improve your lower body strength, gain a stronger back, or simply add variety to your workout routine, deadlifting is an excellent option. 

Let’s dive into the benefits of deadlifting on both back and leg days and discover the best deadlift exercises to achieve your fitness goals.

Benefits of Deadlifting on Leg Day

When it comes to building lower body strength and promoting muscle growth, deadlifting on leg day offers several benefits. This compound exercise engages major muscle groups in the lower body, including the glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings, and calves.

By incorporating deadlifts into your leg day routine, you can enhance lower body strength, improve overall power, and promote muscular development in the legs. 

Deadlifts are also amazing for improving overall stability and balance. It requires the body to maintain proper posture and form throughout the movement, which can translate into improved form in other exercises as well.

Want some more variety? Try incorporating different deadlift variations into your leg day routine. Some popular variations include sumo deadlifts, Romanian deadlifts, and single-leg deadlifts.

Overall, deadlifting on leg day is a great way to promote lower body strength and muscular development because it works so many of the major lower body muscles. 

Try it deadlifting on your next leg day and see if it feels right for your body!

Benefits of Deadlifting on Back Day

Deadlifts are also powerful back day exercise that engages various muscles in the posterior chain. These muscles include the erector spinae, lats, rhomboids, and traps. Deadlifting on back day might be a better option for you if your lower body is already exhausted from other exercises on leg day.

First and foremost, deadlifts are a compound exercise that activates multiple muscle groups simultaneously, making it an efficient way to improve overall fitness. 

By performing deadlifts on back day, you can strengthen your back muscles, helping to correct poor posture and reduce the risk of injury. Deadlifting on back day also builds a solid foundation for other pulling movements, making them a great complement to your workout routine.

It’s important to maintain proper form and technique when deadlifting on back day to maximize the benefits and prevent injuries. Be sure to keep your back straight, engage your core muscles, and lift from your legs rather than your back.

Overall, incorporating deadlifts on back day is an effective way to improve your fitness and build a strong foundation for other exercises. 

Step-by-Step Guide: How to Deadlift

Deadlifts are one of the most effective exercises for building overall strength and muscular development. However, to reap the full benefits of this compound exercise, proper form is essential. Here’s a step-by-step guide to deadlift like a pro:

  1. Set Up: Stand with your feet hip-width apart, with the barbell directly over your shoelaces. Bend down and grip the bar with your hands shoulder-width apart and your palms facing down. Your arms should be straight and your back should be neutral.
  2. Grip: There are two common types of grip: double overhand and mixed grip. Double overhand is when both palms face down and are positioned on the outside of the bar. Mixed grip is when one palm faces down and the other faces up. This grip allows you to lift heavier weights, but it can increase the risk of bicep tears. Choose the grip that feels most comfortable and safe for you.
  3. Stance: Your stance will depend on your height, body type, and personal preference. Generally, a shoulder-width or slightly wider stance works well for most people. Keep your toes pointed forward or slightly outward, which can help engage the glutes and hamstrings.
  4. Execution: Take a deep breath and brace your core. Lift the bar off the ground by pushing your feet into the floor and extending your hips and knees simultaneously. Keep your back straight and your chest up throughout the lift. At the top of the lift, squeeze your glutes and hold for a second before slowly lowering the bar back down.

Remember to maintain proper form and avoid these common mistakes:

  • Rounding your back
  • Lifting with your arms instead of your legs
  • Jerking or bouncing the weight
  • Lifting with an uneven grip or stance
  • Not engaging your core

Once you have mastered the basic deadlift, you can incorporate variations to challenge your muscles and add variety to your workout. Try out Romanian Deadlifts, Stiff-Legged Deadlifts, Sumo Deadlifts, and more.

A proper deadlift form and execution can yield some major strength gains and muscle development. Stick to the steps, gradually increasing the weight (progressive overload) and challenging yourself with variations, and you’ll be on your way to becoming a deadlift pro in no time.

Incorporating Deadlifts into Your Workout Routine

As a compound exercise that engages multiple muscle groups, deadlifts are a valuable addition to any workout routine. By incorporating deadlifts, you can enhance overall strength, improve muscle growth, and promote fat loss. However, it’s important to integrate deadlifts effectively to achieve optimal results.

Here are some tips for incorporating deadlifts into your workout routine:

  • Frequency: Aim to perform deadlifts once or twice a week, depending on your fitness goals and current routine.
  • Sets and reps: Start with 3-4 sets of 8-10 reps per set. Increase the weight gradually as you gain strength.
  • Rest: Allow adequate rest time between each set to avoid fatigue and reduce the risk of injury.

Incorporating different types of deadlifts into your workout routine can increase variety and stimulate different muscle groups. Here are some of the best deadlift exercises to try:

ExerciseMuscles Targeted
Conventional DeadliftGlutes, hamstrings, quads, lower back, upper back
Sumo DeadliftGlutes, adductors, quadriceps, lower back, upper back
Stiff-Legged DeadliftHamstrings, glutes, lower back
Romanian DeadliftHamstrings, glutes, lower back

Benefits of Proper Deadlift Form

As a personal trainer, I cannot overstate the importance of proper deadlift form. Not only does it prevent injury, but it also helps you maximize the benefits of this incredible exercise.

Maintaining proper form helps promote improved posture. By engaging the proper muscles and keeping your spine in a neutral position, deadlifts can actually strengthen your back and help you maintain better alignment throughout your day-to-day activities.

Proper form can also increase your power and help you achieve better overall muscle development. By engaging the right muscles and working through the correct range of motion, you can build more strength and stability in your legs and lower back.

Finally, maintaining proper form can help reduce strain on your lower back. By lifting with your legs and hips, you can distribute the weight more evenly and prevent unnecessary pressure on your lumbar spine.

Remember, the deadlift is a complex exercise that requires careful attention to detail. By focusing on proper technique, you can unlock the full potential of this incredible exercise and enjoy all of the benefits it has to offer.

proper deadlift form

Deadlift on Back Day or Leg Day? 

Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide which approach suits your goals and preferences best. Both options provide benefits that can contribute to your overall workout routine and help you achieve optimal gains. Deciding whether to deadlift on back day or to deadlift on leg day is a personl choice and really depends on how your body already handles your workout routine.

By incorporating deadlifts into your workout routine intelligently, you can enhance your lower body strength, improve posture, build a strong back, and boost your power. Remember to maintain proper form and technique to maximize the benefits of this compound exercise and minimize the risk of injury. Experiment with different deadlift variations to keep your workouts challenging and exciting.

If you’re new to deadlifting, start with a lighter weight and gradually increase as you get comfortable with the exercise. Always consult with a professional trainer if you have any questions or concerns about your deadlift workout routine.

FAQ

Should I Deadlift on Back or Leg Day?

Whether you should deadlift on back or leg day depends on your personal preference and fitness goals. Deadlifting on leg day targets the lower body muscles, such as the glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings, and calves, while deadlifting on back day engages the posterior chain muscles, including the erector spinae, lats, rhomboids, and traps. Consider incorporating deadlifts on the day that aligns with your focus and desired muscle development.

What are the benefits of deadlifting on leg day?

Deadlifting on leg day offers several advantages. It helps strengthen the major lower body muscles, develop lower body power, and improve overall muscularity in the legs. Incorporating deadlifts into your leg workout routine can enhance lower body strength and contribute to a more well-rounded leg training. Be sure to maintain proper form and technique to maximize the benefits of deadlifting on leg day.

What are the benefits of deadlifting on back day?

Deadlifting on back day has its own unique benefits. This compound exercise targets the muscles in the posterior chain, which include the erector spinae, lats, rhomboids, and traps. By deadlifting on back day, you can strengthen your back muscles, improve posture, and build a solid foundation for other pulling movements. Proper form and technique are crucial when deadlifting on back day to ensure optimal results and reduce the risk of injury.

Can you provide a step-by-step guide on how to deadlift?

I’ve got you! Here is a step-by-step guide on how to deadlift:
1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart and the barbell centered over your midfoot.
2. Bend at the hips and knees, keeping your chest up, back straight, and heels on the ground.
3. Reach down and grip the bar just outside your knees, with a shoulder-width grip.
4. Take a deep breath, engage your core, and brace your abs.
5. Lift the bar by driving through your heels, extending your hips and knees simultaneously.
6. As you lift, keep the bar close to your body and maintain a neutral spine.
7. Stand tall, fully extending your hips and knees, and squeeze your glutes at the top.
8. Slowly lower the bar back down by hinging at the hips and bending the knees.
9. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions, maintaining proper form throughout.

How can I incorporate deadlifts into my workout routine?

To incorporate deadlifts effectively into your workout routine, consider the following tips:
1. Decide on the frequency: You can deadlift once or twice a week, depending on your training experience and recovery capacity.
2. Determine sets and reps: Generally, 3-5 sets of 5-8 reps are a good starting point. Adjust the volume based on your goals and fitness level.
3. Pairing: Deadlifts can be paired with exercises that complement its benefits, such as squats, lunges, or rows.
4. Warm-up properly: Prioritize dynamic stretches and activation exercises for the muscles involved in the deadlift.
5. Follow proper form: Focus on maintaining proper form and technique throughout each set to maximize the benefits and minimize the risk of injury.

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