I figured I’d chime in here as I’ve been utilizing the deadlift for about 2.5 years now. I hit a lot of squats when I first started lifting seriously around the age of 21 (I’m 28 now). After a couple of major hamstring pulls over those first few years, I basically was terrified of lifting weights. Regardless of how long I had been squatting, I just never could get my legs to feel right. Perhaps there was something wrong with my overall approach to training then; nonetheless, I really backed away from the weights for a year or two. But then the deadlift made its way into my life.
Rather than trying to write the perfect paragraph, I’ll just list a bunch of things I’ve experienced since using this lift:
-I can be very aggressive in the weight room without needing a spotter (I train alone for the most part).
-If I have an off day/set/rep, the weight just stays on the floor. There’s never the risk of being crushed.
-My legs feel excellent after a session. I don’t have a scientific explanation for this, but my flexibility is at its peak right after lifting.
-My overall body has developed more from adding this one lift than any other (e.g., shoulders, back, core).
-Its efficiency shouldn’t be overlooked (see last bullet). You can hit so many things with this one exercise.
I might have one of those body types that just gravitates towards this lift as mentioned earlier. I’m 6’, 167lb, and more legs than torso. My current 3 rep max is 395.
I’ve found the time under tension to be much less for deadlifting than it was for squatting. Once the bar is across your back for the squat, you have to step out of the rack, go down, come back up (for however many reps), and then bring the weight back to the rack. When deadlifting, I just pull the weight from the ground and essentially use a controlled drop to get it back down. This has minimized - perhaps even eliminated - micro tears in the hamstrings, which I believe is a big factor in my lovely hamstring experience these days. I follow a CF 3-1 structure with my speed work, so I’ve aligned lifting to fit well with that. I lift after speed sessions, where I only utilize two lifts: deadlift and bench. My progression each cycle is as follows:
Week 1: 2 sets of 5 reps
Week 2: 3 sets of 4 reps
Week 3: 3 sets of 3 reps
Week 4: 2 sets of 5 (unload with lower weight)
So my intensity is increasing through the 3 weeks, I unload the 4th week and then come back with the same 5-4-3 progression, but at a higher level. My bench workouts follow the same approach. So after a speed workout, I only do around 20 lifts - although they are all pretty intense. This has worked well for me, and I sure don’t feel like many, if any, muscles are being neglected. I should note that I still do some general conditioning on low intensity days, where I may hit some additional core work, pullups, pushups, or medball throws.