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  • Writer's pictureGeorgia Manos


Deadlift: A compound hip hinge movement where the spinal position is maintained throughout the movements.

The closer your spine is to being parallel to the floor, the more load it places through the back extensors. This is due to the distance from the bar to the hips increasing, meaning the torso has to travel further to get to the upright standing position, therefore the back extensors have to work harder to maintain a neutral spine throughout this additional range.

The muscular demand placed on the hip extensors (glutes and hamstrings) is dependent on how much weight you’re lifting and how far your hips are away from the bar. The bar should be positioned over your line of centre of mass, and should be imagined like a stick pointing straight up through your mid foot.

If your torso is inclined and your knees are bent (like in an RDL) you are putting more muscular demand on your glutes. This movement is really focusing on pushing your hips backwards. Once your hips stop moving backwards, the descending part of the movement is complete and you should begin ascending.

If your torso is inclined and your knees are relatively straight (like in a stiff leg deadlift) you are putting more muscular demand on your hamstrings. The bar is also further in front of your line of centre of mass (approx mid foot) due to the reduced knee bend. This puts greater muscular demand on your back extensors and hamstrings.

A sumo deadlift requires greater hip mobility as the hips are more flexed at the bottom of the movement. Due to the wider stance, it also demands more from your adductor (groin) muscles to prevent knees collapsing inwards.

During a trap bar deadlift, you have a neutral grip on the bar as the handles are located next to you rather than in front like with a barbell. There is more muscular demand placed on the quadriceps during this lift as the bar is not preventing knee bend as it would in a barbell deadlift.

A deficit deadlift involves having your feet elevated on a platform so that you have to go through a greater range of motion to complete the movement. This exercise is beneficial for athletes that require strength throughout a large range of motion such as dancers, footballers, AFL players and kick boxers.


  • Glutes = hip extension

  • Hamstring = hip extension and knee flexion

  • Quadriceps = hip flexion and knee extension

  • Groin = hip adduction

  • Glute medius/minimus = hip abduction

  • Erector spinae = back extension

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