Deadlifts: Gym Strength Vs. REAL World Strength Will a big deadlift help you move heavy duty furniture?

Out of all popular exercises there are two main movements that help a lot with everyday lifting. Those movement are: the deadlift and…Wait for it! B-I-C-E-P-S curls!

How are you supposed to lift and hold that log with weak biceps?

How are you supposed to lift and hold that log with weak biceps?

The deadlift obviously shows you the proper way to lift things off the ground without damaging your spine while biceps strength really helps with holding heavy duty stuff like boxes. Those two form a cute couple, but can we be positive that a heavy deadlift and monstrous biceps curl will carry over to the so-called real world strength?

Optimized mechanics

Most people don’t know how to properly lift stuff. We have lost our awareness of how the body works and quite often individuals with otherwise working brain get hurt while bending over to lift a cat. The deadlift fixes that.

If you know how to deadlift with good form, you also know how to move heavy furniture around with good form as well. Lifters are usually aware what they’re supposed to do when moving a blocky object. The goal is to use the legs to lift it while keeping the spine in neutral position. The hands are merely hooks through which is transfered the power generated by the hips and the upper legs, just like a deadlift. In addition the deadlift teaches you how to breath properly when exerting force in order to stabilize your mid-section and protect your spine.

It’s all good but…

While being able to deadlift with good form is certainly helpful in everyday activities, there’s more to the story. When you deadlift everything is perfect. You can grab the bar comfortably and pull. Not only that but the bar is also already elevated by 6 inches from the ground. Similar comfort is not very common when moving heavy odd objects. Sometime you will have to lift material by catching it at the base. This may hurt your form, if you don’t have the required flexibility. That and the fact that odd objects require supreme grip strength are the shortcomings of the deadlift when it comes to real world strength. However, the deadlift is definitely a movement that needs to be mastered first in order to learn the proper mechanics of lifting before joining the advanced group.

Lifting Objects Vs. Moving Objects

There’s a big difference between lifting something and moving it. In order for odd stuff to be transported you need to have strong arms. For example, let’s say that you work at a library and have to transport serious amount of books. How are you going to do it? Unless you have some nice bags to put the books in, you will have hold them with your arms in a flexed or semi-flexed position. The same holds true for boxes and other stuff that just doesn’t allow you to move it with your arms completely straight. This is when you need strong arm flexors a.k.a. biceps in order to keep on going. In this siatuation biceps curls come in handy. They mimic the exact same position and build strong biceps and tendons. Of course, movements like pull-ups and chin-up will also do the trick. Whatever the case, strong arms help a lot when lifting odd objects that just cannot be held with straight arms.

How are you going to carry your wife/husband without having your arms in a 90 degrees curl position? Over the shoulder? Uh…that seems counterproductive.


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Lifting Odd Objects

Many people consider exercising with odd objects the most functional lifting ever that prepares you for almost anything you will have to lift in real life. Odd objects like sandbags will teach you how to operate when luxuries such as handles are not present. That’s why performing deadlifts with a sandbag could be considered more functional in real life compared to the regular barbell deadlift. The truth is, however, that both work. If you are a strong deadlifter lifting hundreds of pounds, your back will be insanely powerful and you will find out that your real world lifting abilities are on a much higher level than most people’s. The only thing that could limit you is your grip strength and lack of practice. This is where the sandbag shines. It does not stress the back with a heavy weight, but the levers and the high grip strength requirement transfer really well to a furniture moving career. Obviously, if you want to become а world class mover, you will have to do both for maximum effect.


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There is no substitute for good decision making…

Whenever you have to lift something heavy always use the way that requires the least strength and is less likely to injure you. Proper decision making is particularly important for your health and the preservation of the object you are moving.

In brief, if you want to move the fridge, make sure it’s empty and don’t try to curl it. {wink}

Resilient motherfuckers are the best movers. Bodybuilders? Not so much.

The people with the most ‘real world’ strength are not bodybuilders, although the body constructors can certainly do well. Those who do the best are people with great conditioning who are used to hard and ‘tricky’ feats of strength. For example, someone who can do 5 one arm pull-ups could be considered more resilient than a bodybuilder who considers biceps curls on a machine strenuous activity.

Related article: The Rounded Back Deadlift: How Round Is Too Round?

In conclusion

There is absolutely no doubt that one of the best things you can do for your furniture moving abilities and career is getting strong on the basic exercises. They carry over really well to the ‘real world’. If you want to go up a level, dedicated odd object lifting and grip strength work are in order.

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