There seems to be a few exercises that, when openly avoided by members on this forum, usually lead to someone being named a "pansy" or a girl. These exercises are namely deadlifts and squats, and a controversy almost always ensues between the religious Squat & Dead zealots and the "Pansy" pack. I personally am questioning the effectiveness of the deadlift in building a big back, and I am willing to wager, at the expense of being called a pansy, that a big back can be developed without deadlifts at all.
Now, I am not a Chris Mason or Tom Mutaffis when it comes to explaining the mechanics of an exercise. I propose this assumption first because I personally have had lower back problems for a long time and deadlifts, certainly with proper form, still result in lower back pain. And that made me begin thinking about the motion of the lift and how beneficial it is, on its own, to the growth of the back. Can I build a thick, wide back by simply doing heavy rows, various grip pull-ups/chins, and lat pulls? Beyond that, the deadlift is highly regarded, along with the squats, as a lift that stimulates overall growth. I personally think that maybe I would be avoiding serious lower back injury by removing the deads from my workouts, yet still able to build a big upper back by doing other heavy exercises and grow just the same. Some of you, well..... a lot of you, will not agree with this because, of course, you're most likely pretty dogmatic about the deadlift and its effectiveness. If the deadlifts are recommended to not be eliminated from any serious lifter's workouts, I'd like someone to provide a detailed explanation of why. Hopefully, someone can provide a supporting argument for my hypothesis.
Thoughts? Discuss please.
You can build a big back without deadlifts. Just like you can build big biceps without chinups and big quads without squats. There's no argument there.
I'd check your form on the deadlift. I get no lower back pain.
ain't nuttin but a peanut.
You will have gotten stronger when the weight that feels heavy is actually heavier than the weight that feels heavy now. Then the weight that feels heavy now will be a warmup for the weight that feels heavy then. But the weight will always feel heavy or you're not lifting enough weight. Clear? -Rippetoe
If you never deadlift and you try to go heavy on your rows you will most likely hurt your lower back.
It will teach you to use your abs as will squats.
I am not dogmatic about it at all, in fact I love leg presses.
How many strong people avoid rack pulls, deadlifts, squats etc?
Bench geared 525 @ 210
Deadlift geared 650 @ 220
Captains of Crush #3
Building Mighty Mitts...
deadlifting is why i like getting up at 430 am to hit the gym in the morning
and squatting is why i wake up on saturday mornings..
ever heard of training economy? its THE bang for your buck moves: the muscle and CNS stimulation and is undeniable!
and if your talking about risks, i know a few guys who threw their back out tying their shoes, much less "rowing" incorrectly
Deadlifts may not be 100% neccessary to build a great back but they sure help get there a lot faster. I think deadlifts have helped me build my back, traps, and hamstrings better than anything and everything combined. Throw in some heavy rows and pullups and that is pretty much all you need.
I can not think of one great bodybuilder that does or had not done deadlifts. If your back hurts then fix it first. Most people with low back pain have it because their low back is weak. Deadlifts are the ultimate back strengthener.
Deadlifts and Squats add more size than any other exercises period.
Of course you need to work around your injuries, and if a movment truly can't be done because of them, don't do it. To vaoid deadlifts because one might get hurt may not be the best way to go. One can get hurt doing any movement.
You might be interested to know that in Chris Mason's latest article on building a bigger back he doesn't even mention the deadlift. So the deadlift appears to be good for overall strength and size, but not crucial for back wideness specifically.
And I don't know why some people still get pissed off at the "dogma" of recommending the most effective, proven exercises. There is no real debate in the fitness community that these exercises work so why get upset about it? That's a little bit like claiming there is still debate about evolution in the scientific community. Oh wait...
Building a big back without deadlifts is like building big legs without squats...I'm sure it can be done, but why would you want to?
Unless there is some physical limitation that prevents it.
Now when it comes to the Deadlift and getting bigger and stronger and having great back development.
Ive seen guys with good backs and terrible backs, whom i have never seen deadlift. But ive never seen a guy who deadlifts regularly and not have great back development.
Deadlifting is more a total body exercise than just a back one, the weight is being moved with your glutes hams and quads, and you use ur erector spinae, traps to help extend the spine and your lats to keep the bar pulled to the body.
With all that being said is you can build a big back without doing deadlifts about in the same way you can learn to drive a car with your feet. If given enough time and trial and error eventually you will accomplish it, but there are more efficient and effective ways of doing it.
Why live if one can not Deadlift?- John Paul Sigmasson
Accept that which is useful and reject what is not- Bruce Lee
Reason and Logic trump religion- Me
Restriction of education, Censorship of knowledge, and Proliferation of religion helps keep the masses tamed- Me
"Money does not fix everything, Smart fixes everything"
Instead of debating it, why do you try them and find out for yourself if they work.
I think this is possibly the all-time best response on WBB. - Jorge Sanchez
"you're an animal eat like one damn it!" - Wikked1
"Now we're finally getting to the chicken or the egg question," I grinned. "Did I eat all that food because my size gives me more of an appetite, or did I get to be this big because I've been forcing myself to eat like this for years?"
From A Body Builder is Born
i knew you were a beast but not that kinda of a beast that eats grown men and children.. lilmase
just curious.. but how are you going to do heavy rows with persistent lower back problems? meh.
anyways.. the point of your training should be for you, not to impress anyone on here. so if deads are not intuitive to your working conditions, then leave them out. sure... the deadlift crew here will snub you but they are completely irrelevant in terms of your lifting and goals. work around your injury/problem and best of luck to you.
Last edited by twm; 12-27-2009 at 09:32 AM.
Sumo deadlifts are a lot easier on the lower back if you can't pull conventional.
Squat - 595lbs -- 270kg -- Dec. 31, '09 (Provincial Record @100kg class)
Bench - 374lbs -- 170kg -- Dec 20, '08 (@100kg class)
Dead - 589lbs -- 267.5kg -- Dec 20, '08 (Provincial Record @100kg class)
Total: 1537lbs -- 697.5kg -- Dec 20, '08 (Provincial Record @ 100kg class)
Bench Only -- 358lbs -- 162.5kg -- Nov. 25, '07 (Provincial Record @ 90kg class)
Bench Only -- 376lbs -- 171kg -- Jan. 26, '08 (Provincial Record @ 100kg class)
Of course, there are risks involved in every heavy exercise that we perform. My questions, though, do not automatically assume an answer. I'm making a hypothesis but would also like to hear the other side on how detrimental removing the deadlifts from a routine would be, not only to back development, but overall growth. Would the absense of deadlifts really stagnate a person's overall growth (back development especially) significantly? These aren't rhetorical questions. Whatever answer I get will not be the ultimate decider in whether or not I will continue to deadlift. My body will dictate that. I'm just searching for some honest input and I'm glad about the comments I've gotten thus far.
Go get x-rays. If nothing comes back abnormal then chances are you have a weak lower back. Very easy to fix. Strengthen your lower back then start dead lifting. Also tight hammies will give you a sore and weak lower back.
Last edited by Notorious; 12-27-2009 at 01:21 PM.
Actively avoiding the most effective lifts because they are hard or hurt is, by definition, being a pansy.
Now, if you have a health condition that strictly prohibits these lifts that is understandable and might reduce your status from pansy to whimp. (half joking)
Excluding an injury, why would you want to exclude the most effective, muscle and strength building lifts?
As far as your progress stagnating due to lack of deadlifts; short answer is no. You can work around them, but surely your work outs will not be as effective and you will never know how much weight you can truly pick up off the floor.
My 10 week cut results
"Sweat in training so you don't bleed in battle."
I am going to wager that if you have lower back problems that your glutes are either weak or that you have some problems firing them when you deadlift. If that's the case then yes you need to deadlift to build a big back
I believe you can get a big back without deads. But I also believe you will get even bigger and stronger with them.
If you want to get really big and really strong you need to squat and deadlift. There is absolutely NO dogma surrounding this... NONE. Simply put, there is no other movement that provides that kind of skeletal, muscular, and central nervous stimuli as squats and deadlifts.
Last edited by ZenMonkey; 12-27-2009 at 02:48 PM.
well yea, deads play their own role in weightlifting, and yea they arent going to feel the best doing them either, its all about the gain
batman does deadlifts..
I have a SERIOUSLY injured back, herniated dics and sciatic nerve damage. Deadlifts were a BIG help in making my back stronger and avoiding further injury.
Op, I am under the assumption you did some deads one day, had alot of lower back Soreness, not pain and then immediatley came to the conclusion you have back problems.
All lifts are raw:
Dead lift: 500(max)
Don't tell anyone, but I almost never deadlifted the first 15+ years I trained. I always squatted and rowed heavy. My back was quite big and strong. With that said, I do wish I had been deadlifting all along.
Rows, chins and so on will build big lats. You can blow your traps up with various forms of shrugs and rows. Heavy squatting will definitely build your lower back and you can do many other exercises to train that body part. So, in a nutshell, if you don't want to deadlift, and don't plan to be a powerlifter, then skip 'em.
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