Functional Importance

Being able to lift something heavy off the ground, in my opinion, is its own reward. But it's also the key to most strength sports. The two Olympic lifts—snatch and clean-and-jerk—start with the barbell on the floor. The deadliftt is the only one of the three events in powerlifting (the other two are the squat and bench press) in which the bar starts on the floor. It comes last in powerlifting contests, and competitors in that sport have this saying:

"The meet doesn't start until the bar hits the floor."

Translation: Someone who's particularly good at the bench press and squat may not be equally good at the deadliftt. (Competitively, the deadlift is kind of a freakish move, in that it favors lifters with longer arms, who can use more leverage to get the bar off the floor; long arms are a distinct disadvantage in the bench press.) So a lifter who's leading his weight class after the first two events may very well get smoked in the deadlift and end up losing the first-place trophy to someone whose butt he just kicked in the bench and squat.

Few of this book's readers aspire to compete in strength sports, but I think there's a general point to extrapolate here: Back strength matters in every endeavor, whether we're talking about sports (virtually every athlete in the world is trained with the exercises shown on the following pages) or real life. The guy who can carry the beer keg up to the second-floor deck is always the most popular guy at the party (at least until the keg is tapped, and the rules of attraction kick in).

Body Building Secrets Revealed

Body Building Secrets Revealed

Ever since the fitness craze in the 1980’s, we have become a nation increasingly aware of our health and physique. Millions of dollars are spent every year in the quest for a perfect body. Gyms are big business, personal trainers are making a tidy living helping people stay fit, and body building supplements are at an all-time level of performance.

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