Barbell Deadlift Exercise Guide

Reviewed by Valerie Zeller Valerie Zeller Printable version

Barbell Deadlift is a strength exercise that works your hamstrings, glutes and spinal erectors.

Barbell Deadlift is a great challenging move. When done correctly, it can effectively target your buttocks, legs, lower back, lower body and upper legs.

It requires barbell to do.

Barbell Deadlift

How to do Barbell Deadlift


Keep foot flat under bar sit down and grab bar with shoulder width or somewhat narrower overhand or mixed grip.


Start in a standing position, knees slightly bent, with the barbell in your hands at hip-height. Your feet should be hip-width apart. Maintain a slight retraction of your shoulder blades. Keeping your arms straight, begin to hinge at the hips lowering the bar. Your spine should not change form. Keep your knees in the same slight bend you started with. The moment you feel your spine start to round is the moment you should reverse the exercise, return to standing. Repeat.


  • Throughout lift, keep hips low, shoulders high, arms and back straight. Knees should point same direction as feet throughout movement. Keep bar close to body to improve mechanical leverage. Grip strength and strength endurance often limit ability to perform multiple reps at heavy resistances. Gym chalk, wrist straps, grip work, and mixed grip can be used to enhance grip. Mixed grip indicates one hand holding with overhand grip and other hand holding with underhand grip. Lever barbell jack can be used to lift barbell from floor for easier loading and unload of weight plates.

  • Avoid rounding your back throughout the movement. Focus on keeping your chest up and your back flat.

  • Only bend through the hips.

Illustrated Guide

Learn how to do barbell deadlift from this step-by-step illustrations:

Barbell Deadlift 1
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Barbell Deadlift 10

Muscles Worked

The muscles used for barbell deadlift may change slightly based on the your trained range of motion and technique, but in the most general case, the muscles used for barbell deadlift are:

Primary Muscles

  • Hamstrings
  • Glutes
  • Spinal Erectors

Synergyst Muscles

  • Traps
  • Lats
  • Wrist Flexors

Frequently Asked Questions

What muscles does Barbell Deadlift work?
Barbell Deadlift works hamstrings, glutes, spinal erectors.
What is Barbell Deadlift good for?
Barbell Deadlift is beneficial for conditioning, to build muscle, to gain weight, to grow and to strengthen. It works the best for buttocks, legs, lower back, lower body and upper legs, as it works hamstrings, glutes, spinal erectors. Barbell Deadlift is a great strength exercise for men and women.
Is Barbell Deadlift a good exercise?
Barbell Deadlift is a popular strength exercise for hamstrings, glutes, spinal erectors.

Training, Progressions and Regressions

Interested in how to improve your Barbell Deadlift faster?

Barbell Deadlift Training and Progressions

Standards and Averages

Wonder how do others perform in Barbell Deadlift and how should you?

Barbell Deadlift Standards and Averages


Wonder how to work the same muscles with other exercises?

Barbell Deadlift Alternatives


Wonder how to make Barbell Deadlift either easier or more challenging?

Barbell Deadlift Variations

Discover more


Type(s) Strength, Compound, Weightlifting
Muscles Worked Trapezius, Biceps Femoris, Gluteus, Latissimus Dorsi, Erector Spinae, Wrist Flexors
Difficulty Level(s) Challenging, Hard, Moderate, Simple
Equipment Barbell
Location At Gym

Muscles Worked

Target muscle(s) Hamstrings, Glutes, Spinal Erectors
Synergyst muscle(s) Traps, Lats, Wrist Flexors

Related exercises

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