Why Is The Deadlift Called “Deadlift”? (Explained)

Why Is The Deadlift Called “Deadlift”?

Now, a lot of questions keep coming up about why the deadlift is called “deadlift”. Everything stems from inspiration from naming a child to writing a book and others. So, there must be a reason why the deadlift is actually called “deadlift”, why not just “lift” or “heavy lift”?

Deadlifting dates far back into the past. So, understanding why it is called deadlift is more like understanding the origin and how it came to be and how it has progressed ever since then. So, before I answer this question, we’ll have a quick flashback to the history and origin of the deadlift. Let’s move on!

What’s The Deadlift All About Anyway?

Most people who work out in gyms are familiar with this exercise. When performed as a powerlifting move, it is considered to be in its purest form if it is done in one “pull” from the floor up to the lockout position.

Bodybuilders typically take a more brute strength approach, which involves allowing competitors to perform multiple reps of this heavyweight.

This allows competitors to demonstrate not only that they have the strength to lift the weight, but also that they have the endurance to perform this lift multiple times. In contrast to powerlifting, most strongman competitions allow competitors to use straps.

This is because using straps eliminates the need for competitors to maintain a firm grip on the bar during the lift, which frees up the competitors’ hands for use in other aspects of the competition.

The height at which the competitor pulls from is an extra significant difference between a conventional deadlift, the kind of deadlift that you could see performed in a gym and the kind of deadlift that is featured in strongman contests. The beginning position of the bar can be anything from almost on the ground to directly on the floor to as high as the knees of the contestants.

In competitions, it can be done for a maximum weight; this is typically done in a round-robin fashion, with each competitor lifting every increment of the weight. The maximum weight can be determined by the person who wins the previous round.

Another way that this can be carried out within the confines of these events is for a maximum number of reps to be completed within a given amount of time (usually 75 seconds).

When it is performed as part of these strongman competitions, the weight that competitors can lift is incredible, and you can actually see the metal bar bending before the weights even lift off the ground.

This is because there are variations of the exercise, and competitors may be permitted to use straps. And even though a maximum rep might occasionally win the event, when numerous reps are required, you can clearly see the strain that is placed on these strongmen’s bodies as they compete in these competitions.

When compared to these strongmen and their enormous weight lifts, a strong gym enthusiast who is lifting what they consider to be heavyweight looks like Mary Poppins.

History Of The Deadlift

In the years between 1910 and 1920, the barbell deadlift was brought into the public eye by Hermann Görner, a German bodybuilder who began weight training at the age of 10. Even though he did not invent the deadlift, he is widely recognised as a strong lifting expert because of how he reimagined the competition.

In October of 1920, Görner deadlifted 301 kilograms (664 pounds) with one hand, earning him entry into the Guinness Book of World Records. In 1933, he deadlifted 270 kilograms (600 pounds) using only two fingers of each hand (normal and reverse grip), among other innovative methods.

One of Görner’s best (and most unconventional) deadlifts was a bar weighing 441 pounds (200 kg), with two men standing on either end of the bar, and a deadlift to the full competition height, with the bar, held there for several seconds to the satisfaction of the judges. This happened when he was 42 years old.

This marked the beginning of the Deadlift’s widespread use in a variety of lifting disciplines, including bodybuilding, powerlifting, the Olympics, and more recently, strongman competitions.

The Deadlift is one of the best techniques to train the body for total strength and endurance because it is such a challenging lift (as experienced by the Roman troops). While the it has been used for training for over a century, it has recently become a staple of many strongman competitions.

Why Is The Deadlift Called “Deadlift”?

It is said that the Deadlift got its name after military battles that took place somewhere in ancient Rome. During these battles, young Roman soldiers would go out into the field to help lift their fallen comrades onto wagons so that they could be buried later.

This mimics the way we practice deadlifts in modern times, which is to lift a “deadweight” (also known as a “dead weight”) from the ground. The act of picking up a heavy barbell from the ground without using any assistance is known as a “deadlift,” and this is the reason for the name of the exercise.

Some schools of thought have argued that there’s no concrete proof of the name originating from ancient Roman battles. They, however, claim that the name was borne out of the action performing it.

When doing a deadlift, the weight is placed “dead” (on the floor) before being gripped and raised vertically off the ground until the lifter is standing tall. Hence, the name.