HEALTH | WELLNESS | FITNESS
Can a Woman Deadlift as Much Weight as a Man?
While surfing the Internet, I saw an article in Women’s Health Magazine about a woman, Ally Head, deadlifting twice her body weight. And then I read about pro female bodybuilder, Becca Swanson, lifting 672 lbs, which is more than twice as heavy as Ally’s deadlift.
I find this fascinating.
At first, I was hesitant in my thinking about this, especially when I thought about an article I read about a man snapping his spine in two while deadlifting.
So, naturally, I’m thinking that if he did that, then surely a woman would be at even greater risk of a spinal injury from deadlifting extreme weight. But, then another thought occurred to me — Why did I just automatically think that?
Women Can Lift Just As Much As Men with Some of the Same Results
To answer the question regarding why I automatically thought that women are more likely than men to sustain injuries from deadlifting is because women are usually physically weaker than men, due to the fact that men have 90% more upper body strength than women.
But, men have 75% more upper body muscle mass than women — generally speaking. So, this then poses the question of whether a woman’s upper body strength can come close to or match that of a man (similar in size) if she increases her upper body muscle mass.
One way to do that is by focusing on deadlifting with effective bodybuilding routines, and it depends on whether a woman has the will and proper training, endurance, diet, and technique.
So, What’s This All About?
There is a science to deadlifting, for sure, and it is pretty darn effective for anybody who wants to add muscle and mass all over the body, including women.
What deadlifting can do for the body
- Fitness experts say that deadlifting is an excellent addition to a fitness training program to develop core and upper body strength.
- Deadlifting is a power, full-body workout that promotes head-to-toe strength.
- Builds an athletic physique that is less prone to injury.
- Deadlifting uses multiple muscle-synergizing exercises, which activate metabolic stimuli in the brain and triggers pituitary gland growth hormones, resulting in bodybuilding muscle-morphing.
- Make your butt, thighs, abs, and arms look great and burn fat.
- Give you a better posture and assist with getting in shape for bodybuilding competitions.
And of course, it is important that deadlifting be done correctly, to protect the spine and muscles from injury.
Do Deadlifts Properly for Maximum Results and Safety
The main thing with deadlifting is being sure to use proper form. The woman in the pic below is setting herself up for failure and injury.
Do you see what she’s doing wrong? This is what NOT to do while deadlifting.
How to Deadlift Safely — Step-by-Step
Correct form when deadlifting is a must to prevent injury and to get the most out of the workout.
- Stand straight with feet flat below the barbell.
- Keep shins close to the bar, but don’t let them touch the bar.
- Tighten your core
- Bend at the knees and hips.
- Squat down and, with an overhand grip with hands on the outside of the legs, grasp the bar a little wider than shoulder-width.
- Lift the bar, extending your knees and hips forward.
- Pull back your shoulders and squeeze the glutes at the top of the lift. Keep your back straight, shoulders high, hips low, and arms extended.
- Be sure that the knees are pointing in the same direction as the feet. The bar should be kept close to the legs. Be sure to keep your shoulder blades down and back throughout the lift.
Why Women Should Proceed with Caution
Although deadlifting is good for gaining muscle and strength, direct force is placed on the spine when doing this workout.
Women specifically need to be careful with form and not over lift or lift any weight that is too heavy. Women can suffer from vaginal, uterine, rectal, and bladder prolapse from heavy weightlifting, which means these pelvic organs bulge down and protrude into the vagina.
Prolapse can lead to long-term emotional and physical issues such as sexual problems, hysterectomy, an overactive bladder that does not empty properly, and not being able to do any type of moderate- to high-impact workouts, including lifting, running, or aerobics.
The pelvic floor can be strained just like any muscles and deadlifting causes downward pressure on the pelvic floor. It is important that women understand and remember that heavier does not in itself translate into stronger.
Proper deadlift training technique and form are more important than load, whether pelvic floor issues are present or not. Load should be added gradually over time.
A woman can definitely deadlift as much as a man of similar size, provided she follows proper procedure and uses the proper form to prevent spine injury and other dangerous, adverse effects.
Listening to the body when lifting will ensure safety and a steady, gradual improvement in strength. It is never a good idea to overdo it to prove a point or to try and rush results.
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