Deadlift is a compound movement exercise which uses almost every single muscle in the body when performing. The primary muscle groups which are used during deadlifts are:
- Lower Back
During my fitness journey, I have noticed training back is one of the important muscle groups to work. The back itself holds the entire structure of your body. So, training deadlifts, pull-ups and hangs can help with straightening back.
So are Deadlifts enough for the back day?
For some deadlifts are enough for the back day but for others, it isn’t. Let’s figure out if deadlifts are enough for your back day. The table below shows all the requirements only for training deadlifts compared to other back exercises.
|Train only Deadlifts for back day||Train other back exercises for back day|
|Goals: Strength Building||Goals: Muscle Building & Definition|
|Level: Intermediate & Advanced||Level: Beginner, Intermediate & Advanced|
|Requires a lot of energy||Requires average energy|
|Higher Chance of getting injured||Lesser Chance of getting injured.|
|Need to perform multiple sets with more significant rest time.||Sets and reps are done based on muscle-building or definition goals.|
Benefits of Training Only Deadlifts for a back day?
Training only deadlifts on a back day can be very beneficial as it will help with strengthening the lower back, hips and forearms. It will further improve the overall body posture and the ability to hold in a neutral position.
The following benefits I have seen or encountered when training only deadlifts for back days are:
- More growth on the traps, lats and rhomboids.
- Increase strength on deadlifts itself.
- Thicker and fuller back.
- Increase Grip strength dramatically and build bigger forearms.
- Over time, increasing the functional strength to do some heavy lifting day-to-day tasks.
- Increasing overall strength and stamina for other exercises.
- Burn lots of calories, due to high intensity but it depends on the reps and sets.
- Increasing overall core strength and stability.
- Helps with the overall balance (if upper body is strong then the lower body).
Drawdown of Training Only Deadlifts for a back day?
Training only deadlifts on a back day can be the worst decision of your life as you may injure your back, stun your growth and risk having an incomplete back.
The following drawdowns I have seen or encountered when training only deadlifts for back days are:
- Having an incomplete back which is due to not training others back exercises at all!
- Too fatigued after the workout.
- Increasing the rest days to let the back recover.
- May lead to life-changing injury, if not performed correctly.
- Stun growth (Myth), if you’re a teenager don’t go heavy on deadlifts.
Is deadlift the only back exercise you need?
No, There are other back exercises you can perform which are also highly effective. While deadlifting primarily targets the lower back and traps, leaving other back muscle groups such as lats, rhomboids and rear deltoids. You can perform some of the back exercises which primarily target those muscle groups.
In order to have an overall built back try performing some of these exercises on the back day.
- Rows/Bent Down Rows
- Lats Pulldowns
- Reverse Flyes
- Back Extension
- T-bar Rows
- Face pulls
These exercises listed above are a combination of compound movements, bodyweight and isolation exercises. Performing these exercises and deadlifts will give you the ideal back physique you are looking for.
Should I skip if my lower back hurts?
Yes most definitely, you shouldn’t be working out if your lower back hurts.
You need to figure out why your lower back is hurting. It could be from working out or lifting heavy objects or sleeping in a discomforted place. Then you should your back to rest for 2-5 days rest until the pain stops. If the pain continues then it is best to get it checked with your doctor.
You may perform exercises but make sure the weight is light and you not performing any exercises which involve the lower back at all.
If you are performing deadlifts after a long time then you are most definitely going to feel the pain in the lower back. Make you have enough rest before doing any back workouts.
Does Deadlift helps build Back Mass?
Yes, Deadlifts help build Back mass and thickness. This is because when performing there is a high level of tension on your erector spine and it targets a lot of muscles in the back. Even if the muscles are not primary they play a high role in contributing to overall back development.
Also, the type of training is important too. I recommend progressive overload with the correct form. It is gradually increasing your weight and reps as you get stronger and bigger. Performing variations of deadlifts can help towards building back muscle.
Perform the following variation of deadlifts:
- Sumo Deadlifts
- Romanian Deadlifts
- Conventional Deadlifts
- Deficit Deadlifts
- Single-leg Deadlifts
- Trap-bar Deadlifts
I would 100% recommend performing deadlifts on your back but do include other back exercises too, as deadlifts on this own are not enough for back day. You should make a plan for a month for all the back exercises you be performing and when you be performing them. Give yourself 2 days in the month when you primarily focus on deadlifts.