The deadlift is a complete back exercise. It works every muscle in your back from the low spinal erectors all the way to the traps and neck. Nobody can hide from the deadlift. Big or small, all muscles are caught, cooked and owned.
When people hear the statement above, they often reply by saying “But what about the lats?”
The lats are also heavily involved in the deadlift. The latissimus dorsi stabilizes the spine and keeps it close to you. Keeping the bar close to your body is very important since this reduces the lever and the stress on the lower back. You can’t deadlift heavy weights when the bar is far from your body.
It’s not uncommon for professional powerlifters to tear a lat muscle during deadlifts.
A popular example would be the powerlifter/bodybuilder Matt Kroc who torn his lat precisely during a heavy deadlift.
Ultimately, the deadlift will make your lattissimus dorsi muscles very strong and thick.
One of the most popular deadlifters, Bob Peoples, is well known for his latissimus dorsi development. His thickness wasn’t achieved through the silly isolation movements shown in the soulless bodybuilding magazines. It was the product of heavy deadlifting.