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  1. #1
    Registered User abel246's Avatar
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    Is the deadlift a push or pull exercise?

    I’ll be doing my first deadlift tomorrow as i’m new to weight training.

    I always imagined this as you pushing the floor with your feet as you bring the bar up, instead of looking at it as you pulling the bar up with your arms.

    Which one is it?
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    Registered User air2fakie's Avatar
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    It's a pull exercise.

    If it feels like a push exercise when you do it for the first time, you should examine your form.

    If the reason why you asked is b/c you're doing a PPL routine as a newbie, you should switch to something else.
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    Registered User tripod29's Avatar
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    Pull
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    Every exercise is a pull, muscles can't push.
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    Registered User abel246's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by BenMcLeodNZ View Post
    Every exercise is a pull, muscles can't push.
    I mean do I push the weight with my legs or just lift it off the ground? (If that makes sense)
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    Registered User jademonkey's Avatar
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    Usually when people say push or pull they are talking about upper body - push means chest and shoulders (you typically push something to work these muscles), pull means back (you typically pull with your arms to work your back).

    Technically you aren't pulling in with your arms on deadlift, but your back has to work pretty hard to hold position. Therefore deadlift hits back harder than chest so it's grouped with other back exercises in a split. You can also think like if you are dragging am object while walking backwards - that's "pulling".

    You do push a bit with your legs to start, especially in the sumo variation. But most of the work is in the hip hinge. If you split legs into "push" and "pull" you would put hamstrings and glutes in the pull category and quads in the push category.
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    Kiwi Battler BenMcLeodNZ's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by abel246 View Post
    I mean do I push the weight with my legs or just lift it off the ground? (If that makes sense)
    It's hard to explain, I think most people focus on hinging the back and the legs tend to follow, but I highly recommend you take your time with a light weight (even the bare bar) to make sure you get the technique down. Don't go after breaking personal bests all the time.
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    Its a pull but there is a hinge also involved as mentioned above^^^.
    Please make sure you get some proper instruction before diving into the deadlift.
    You are thinking driving the feet through the floor but your pulling with the back and pushing through with the hips to an upright straight position.
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    It's both. Go watch this video, at least the first few minutes

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    It's a pull, but it does require drive from your quads and glutes (moreso one or the other, depending on if you lift conventional or sumo). But yeah, for programming purposes it's a pull exercise
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  11. #11
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    Originally Posted by abel246 View Post
    I’ll be doing my first deadlift tomorrow as i’m new to weight training.

    I always imagined this as you pushing the floor with your feet as you bring the bar up, instead of looking at it as you pulling the bar up with your arms.

    Which one is it?
    You've never picked up something off the floor?
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  12. #12
    Registered User paulinkansas's Avatar
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    My rule of thumb is that if your tricep is engaged, it's a push. Bicep engaged it's a pull. I feel no tricep engagement with a deadlift.
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    Registered User jademonkey's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by DCSpartan View Post
    You've never picked up something off the floor?
    Honestly no one outside of lifting considers picking something up "pulling". No one says "I pulled the sofa off the floor to help my friend move". Took me months to get used to people calling deadlift a "pull".
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  14. #14
    temporary illusion supramax's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by DCSpartan View Post
    You've never picked up something off the floor?
    The centipede was happy quite...
    It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.

    It's easy to not be afraid of tigers when you're sitting in your living room watching a television program about tigers. When you're in the jungle where the tigers are, it's quite a different story.
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    temporary illusion supramax's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by jademonkey View Post
    Honestly no one outside of lifting considers picking something up "pulling". No one says "I pulled the sofa off the floor to help my friend move". Took me months to get used to people calling deadlift a "pull".
    No one says that they pushed the sofa off the floor, either.
    It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.

    It's easy to not be afraid of tigers when you're sitting in your living room watching a television program about tigers. When you're in the jungle where the tigers are, it's quite a different story.
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  16. #16
    temporary illusion supramax's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by abel246 View Post
    I mean do I push the weight with my legs or just lift it off the ground? (If that makes sense)
    If you only push with the legs, you'll stay bent over.
    Think of the deadlift as a horizontal movement of the hips.
    It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.

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    Kiwi Battler BenMcLeodNZ's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by supramax View Post
    The centipede was happy quite...
    OK, I had to google what the hell that could possibly mean, turns out it's an under-rated comment.
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  18. #18
    Registered User TheShadowMan's Avatar
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    I think of it as a pull, that involves some parts in pushing too. A two sided lift, but I also think of it as a lot of fun.
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  19. #19
    12 pack > 6 pack PurmaBulker1984's Avatar
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    In the context of weight lifting it's a pull. The weight is being pulled from the floor to your waist.
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