The deadlift is a total body exercise that helps you improve functional fitness and build overall strength. Don’t let the name scare you. Deadlifts are for everyone, not just body builders. Ready to give this exercise a try? Here’s the 411 on the new star of your workout regimen.

What muscles does the deadlift work?
The deadlift works a bonanza of muscles including your glutes, quads, hamstrings, hips and core. This is definitely one that gives a big bang for your exercise buck.

Benefits of the deadlift
Deadlifts give your body lots of benefits. Here are just a few:
• Better posture – they strengthen your core, including your back.
• Less back pain and injury – for reasons above.
• Burns fat and calories.
• Provides a cardiovascular workout – helps you build strength and stamina while you boost heart health.
• Extends functional fitness – lift kids, lug groceries, bend, squat and more. Activities of daily living get easier.
• Boosts your bench – you can deadlift more than with any other kind of free weight exercise. Can you say bragging rights?

How to do a deadlift with a barbell
Writing for ACE Fitness, Pete McCall, M.S. says deadlifts are so named because the barbell is at a dead rest and no momentum is used. To perform a deadlift, you lift the barbell from the floor using a hip dominant movement.

The DeadliftStart by standing with feet hip-width apart directly in front of the bar. Hinge from your hips (not waist) and sink back into your glutes. Be sure to keep your back straight. Grip the bar with one hand facing palm-up and the other hand facing palm-down. Now plant your feet firmly on the floor to straighten your legs and lift your chest as you lift the weight. At the top of the movement, hold your shoulders back as you keep your spine straight. Hold the form briefly before lowering the weight. Use your thigh muscles to resist the downward pull of gravity as the weight lowers back to the floor. Choose a weight that allows you to complete two sets of 15 while maintaining correct form.

Common deadlift mistakes
Some of the more common beginner mistakes include:
• Failing to learn form before adding weight. As you begin deadlifts, work with a mirror or trainer to be sure you have mastered the correct form before you add weight.
• Too much weight, too soon. Choose weights heavy enough to fatigue your muscles, but not so heavy that your form deteriorates before you finish the set.
• Rounding the back. Be sure to keep your spine straight.
• Lifting with the back rather than the hips. Hinge from your hips so they do the work and you strengthen, rather than hurt, your back.
Be patient with yourself as you learn the form. Once you’ve got it you’re good to go for this total body exercise. More tone, strength and better functional fitness…doing deadlifts is a no-brainer.