Which Muscles Are Used During Deadlifts? Possibly More Than You Knew

Which Muscles Are Used During Deadlifts

Do you ever wonder which muscles are used during deadlifts? Well, you need to start with understanding the muscles that get affected by the ‘King of all Exercises’ to know about their role in your workouts. There are many grips, foot positions, bars, and acceleration techniques that can be used to target different muscle groups in different ways. Let’s examine the techniques and learn which muscles are directly affected when deadlifting.

Understanding the Variations in Deadlift

A deadlift is a form of exercise that can totally revamp your body, even with lighter weights. It is a whole-body workout, and one of the safest exercises. This compound exercise offers both lower body strength and leads to power development for sporting activities. Like any other workout, there are many variations for deadlifting, as well. They include:

  • Traditional deadlifts
  • Hex or Trap bar deadlifts
  • Sumo deadlifts
  • Snatch grip deadlifts
  • Stiff-legged deadlifts
  • Deficit deadlifts 
  • Hack lifts

How Does Deadlift Work Your Muscles?

You have several muscles worked by deadlift in both upper and lower body. However, some muscle groups are way more engaged than others, depending on the deadlift variation you exercise. Here’s a description of muscles affected by this workout and their respective roles in building your body strength. 


Glutes or Gluteus Maximus is the largest muscle in your body. These muscles extend your hips and play an important role in the lock-out of a deadlift. When you start the lift, your hips are at the back of the barbell, but they come forward when you stand up. The glutes make it easy.


Quad muscles or quadriceps help to extend your knee in the bottom range of deadlift motion. Many lifters prefer using a cue to lift the weight off the floor. This specific motion engages the quadriceps and extends the knees. 


The hamstring muscles play two important roles in the deadlifts. Firstly, they support the glutes when extending the hips for lock-out motion. Secondly, hamstrings support the knee joints when your knees bend in the start position. So, hamstrings work as a stabilizer and supporter of other muscles. 

Inner Thighs

The Adductor Magnus or inner thigh muscles also help in the hip extension during deadlifting. Its function is similar to the glutes as they also allow the full extension of your hips in the lock-out motion. 

Erector Muscles in the Spine

There are three columns of erector muscles in your spine. They include Spinalis, Longissimus, and Iliocostalis. These muscles run along the outside of your spine. They offer resistance when bending at the waist to lift the weights. Basically, they have two significant roles in deadlifts.

Firstly, these muscles prevent rounding of the spine by flexing and extending the back muscles. And secondly, they help the spine to change movement from a horizontal to a vertical upright position. 


The muscles in your upper back and lower neck are rhomboids. They help to keep your shoulders in a proper position when lifting the weights. While traps in shoulder blades keep your shoulder upright, rhomboids also help to maintain the right posture when exercising. 

So, these are the muscles worked by deadlift. But, you should identify the weak muscles that can cause imbalances or deficiency in techniques. And to ensure the same, you need the help of pros to get started with a beginner workout regimen. 

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