Should Everybody Deadlift?
The other day, a big name in the strength industry said that he didn't believe everyone should deadlift on a well known podcast. This was extremely brief, and obviously it would be interesting to sit down and have a full blown conversation about deadlifting. However, I've had a few people ask what my thoughts were on the topic, so now we're here.
Basically what he said was that the risk wasn't worth the reward for most people, unless they are trying to be a better deadlifter, powerlifter, strongman, (you get the point). He also mentioned that most high level athletes don't deadlift.
First, in my opinion, deadlifting isn't an inherently risky exercise, unless they are performed incorrectly or the load being used is close to an absolute max. In fact, most exercises aren't particularly risky except if there is a preexisting injury, or the exercise is performed incorrectly. Furthermore, there is risk with most exercises when the athlete is pushing towards an absolute one rep max, because that is where technical breakdown is going to occur.
The fact of the matter is, most people aren't strong enough to use an intensity that is high enough to cause a catastrophic injury. Intensity is an absolute, it is not a relative variable in training. For example, the way a 100 pound female reacts to a 135 pound deadlift is vastly different than how a 300 pound male will react to a 700 pound deadlift. These weights can both be the person's 1RM, but the 300 pound male has significantly more muscle than the 100 pound female, and 700 pounds will cause significantly more fatigue and muscular damage than 135 pounds.
So now what if the person IS strong enough to cause catastrophic injury? Then I agree, there is inherent risk. However, there are SO many variables that can be modified to limit the weight that can be used. You can adjust the tempo, reps, range of motion, or change the deadlift variation. All of these can and will change the absolute weight that can be used in the exercise. If the absolute weight goes down, then the inherent risk goes down, while still gaining positive training effects that come from deadlifting.
With that being said, I think there are enough positive training effects that come from various forms of deadlifting, that warrant the use of them in your program. You don't have to do a form of deadlifting, but it will definitely help.