Why Endurance Athletes Need to Deadlift

STACK Expert George Kalantzis explains why the Deadlift is such a valuable exercise for endurance athletes.

If you are an endurance athlete, you may think that continuing to practice a particular event for prolonged periods of time will get you where you need to be. And while I agree to a certain point, it would be wise to consider imbalances that affect the body during marathons, iron man races and triathlons.

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One of the best exercises endurance athletes can do to is to Deadlift.

The Deadlift is a compound movement that effectively targets the hamstrings, glutes and erectors. During endurance races, the body takes a beating, and the joints take a lot of impact on uneven surfaces. When an athlete incorporates a healthy and safe strength training routine into their programming, increased muscle mass leads to increased stability, which leads to better control of the body.

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If an athlete has weak hamstrings, glutes and erectors, these weaknesses will be revealed during a long race. Because endurance races are not a controlled environment, anything can happen. If an athlete lacks strength in those lower-body muscles, the risk of injury is high every time they train.

Would you rather spend a few hours a week in the gym now or a few months recovering from an injury later on down the road? This does not mean that deadlifting will prevent all injuries, but proper training can reduce the chance of suffering and injury.

Of course, the goal of strength training is not to replace your endurance training, but to complement it.

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Not Sure Where to Start Deadlifting? Try These Variations

Trap Bar

Great for beginners due to keeping the center of gravity inside the bar. Also easier for those with limited mobility in the hips and ankles.


Also great for those with limited mobility in the hips. It seems that guys with longer torsos do well at this variation due to the fact that they do not have to work as hard. These can be very taxing on the hips over extended periods of time, so usually a few cycles will do the trick.


Typically what most people think of when they think about the Deadlift. To attempt a conventional Deadlift, one must have ample ankle, hip, and thoracic mobility to set up in the proper position. Lack of such mobility could lead to serious injury and prevent an athlete from competing in his or her sport.


An advanced version that forces you to lower your hips more to the bar and force the quadriceps to do most of the work.

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