Are Deadlifts Necessary To Build Muscle?

Many people nowadays start out Lifting on Strength Programs like 5×5.

And of course, these Strength Programs include Deadlifts.

Deadlifts are very important if you are a powerlifter, or an athlete looking to get stronger for your sport.

But are they necessary for someone trying to build muscle and look better?

The short answer is no.

People claim that deadlifting builds a big back and legs.

Deadlifts can help but they aren’t the best exercise for both.

So you’re saying I won’t build a big back with deadlifts?

No, I’m saying you are better off doing different back exercises if you really want a big back.

Here are two pictures of my back when I was only 17 years old. I was actually 20% body fat (slightly overweight).

I didn’t do deadlifts regularly.

Now I know my back wasn’t big, but I achieved this doing bodybuilder type back training years ago, when I was 17 years old. And my back would’ve looked a lot better if I was lean in these photos. 

My Back Training back then was:

3×10 Lat Pulldowns, 3×5 Heavy One Arm DB Rows (usually with 80-100lb dbs), 3×10 Seated Cable Rows, 3×12 of TBar Rows and usually 3×15 Dumbbell Shrugs.

The Lats are the biggest muscle group in the back and they aren’t fully activated when you are doing deadlifts.

To fully activate the lats, and stimulate the most growth possible you should be doing normal back exercises like Rows, Pulldowns and Pullovers. 

What About Building Big Legs?

There are a few “science guys” out there in the fitness community who claim that Deadlifts don’t work the legs enough to stimulate much hypertrophy. 

I don’t completely agree with that but I still don’t think deadlifts are the best exercise to build big legs. 

Deadlifts can certainly help you build big glutes, but as far as quads and hamstrings they won’t help that much.

They definitely won’t build big calves. 

This is because the range of motion of deadlifts isn’t good enough to fully activate the hamstrings or quads.

If you want Big Legs you are 100% better off doing Squats.

Picture Credit: Buy HGH Supplements

Squats provide a greater range of motion and obviously they focus on the lower body. The deadlift is more of a full body exercise. 

Squats will stimulate more overall growth in the legs, and I can guarantee that someone who squats will have bigger quads and hamstrings than the guy who solely deadlifts.

Honestly, you would get more growth in your quads doing Leg Extensions than you would deadlifting.

So should I just stop deadlifting? 

Look.

If you like to do deadlifts and you truly enjoy them, you can keep on doing them. 

They won’t hurt your growth but I personally would rather Squat and do other leg exercises. 

I don’t deadlift for a few reasons.

The first would be because there are better exercises out there like I said. Also deadlifts can get you injured, especially if you have bad form and use heavy weight. 

When I used to deadlift at the beginning of my workouts, I always ended up too tired to train hard. The rest of my workout would suffer because I was exhausted from deadlifting for heavy sets of 5. If you’re in the same boat you might want to consider lowering the volume or switching to a better exercise. 

On top of all that, Deadlifts made my legs bleed.

To properly do deadlifts the bar is supposed to scrape past your shins on the way up. I always ended up with scars all over my shins and knees, even when I wore sweat pants or long socks. 

People asked me what the fuck happened to my legs every time I wore shorts. 

The Verdict:

If you’re a bodybuilder or the average guy looking to build muscle and achieve a great physique, you don’t need deadlifts to do that. 

If you’re a powerlifter or other strength athlete, then obviously deadlifts are a necessary part of your program.

Just remember that this is your body and your training. You can do whatever you want.

If you love deadlifts keep on doing them and ignore this article.

But don’t feel like you are forced to do deadlifts just because your favorite bodybuilder did them.  

They are plenty of ways to achieve a great physique, you need to figure out which path suits you. 

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8 comments

  1. I hate deadlifts, thats why I don’t do them. I’m glad you posted this because every video on youtube on deadlifts I’ve seen say they are great and you should do them. But I’ve made a lot of progress without them.

  2. 17 years old kid giving his advice on something he doesn’t fully understand let alone master. Retarded.

    1. Those pictures are from years ago dumbass. I’m not 17. Even if I was this article would be brilliant for a 17 year old to write. But honestly at 17 I would’ve probably written how deadlifts are good but they suck because they hurt.

  3. Have you ever considered creating an ebook or guest authoring on other blogs?
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  4. This is a good tip particularly to those fresh to the fitness world.
    Simple but very accurate info… Appreciate your sharing this
    one. A must read article!

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