Fitness Tips: Should You Do Deadlifts on Back or Leg Day?

deadlifts on back or leg day

Gym-goers are often engaged in some extreme powerlifting exercises. These exercises shape one’s body and strengthen one’s muscles. You can become stronger while reducing the risk of obesity. One of these famous powerlifting techniques involves deadlifting. As the name indicates, it deals with lifting a “dead” weight off the ground to your hip level to drop it back after some time. This exercise has several benefits, and we shall discuss them later. This article answers whether you should do deadlifts on back or leg day.

What do we mean by leg day and back day? In simple terms, a leg day focuses on training the legs. Similarly, a back day is dedicated to honing your back. Now, it’s debatable whether deadlifts target mainly your legs or mainly your back. Both sides have experts writing articles and giving their opinions. A diluted opinion is that deadlifts favor both your legs and your back. But should you do deadlifts on back or leg day? Now, that’s a million-euro question, fellows! So, let’s answer it in this brief blog.

  1. Muscles Involved in Deadlifts on Back or Leg Day

As you know, deadlifts are compound exercises involving all major muscle groups in your body. And that’s why deadlifting can prevent muscle loss while aging and improves grip strength. Since deadlifts involve leg and back muscle groups, confusion arises about doing them on leg day or back day. We believe it depends on your fitness objectives. Generally speaking, you can deadlift on a leg day as well as on a back day. After all, coaches suggest bodybuilders do 12-20 reps while resting for 30 seconds at max between sets. That’s how doing deadlifts can make your body stronger. But, again, your goals decide your workout routine. Remember that deadlifts engage these muscles:

  • Glutes
  • Quads
  • Trapeziums
  • Hamstrings
  • Spinal Erectors
  • Latissimus Dori
  1. Deadlifts on Back or Leg Day – Back Muscles

Can you do deadlifts on a back day? Absolutely. It’s better if you do them for lower reps. That’s how you can build your strength and bolster your back muscles. Check out the variations we have stated for both back and leg days. Since legs are the primary movers in deadlifts, people think deadlifts are meant for leg days only. However, your lats, traps, and lower back are engaged in deadlifts, thereby showing why deadlifts are also meant for back days. You can do some deadlifts on a back day before any other exercise. Start your day by doing some deadlifts and then proceed with other exercises. A dedicated workout routine and some bench pressing can help you strengthen your back muscles.

  1. Deadlifts on Back or Leg Day – Leg Muscles

So, to answer the question you should do deadlifts on back or leg day, we believe you should perform deadlifts on a back day. However, there’s nothing wrong with doing deadlifts on a leg day. Just ensure – as medical experts put it – starting your leg day with deadlifting is harmful to your health and needs to be avoided. Deadlifting begins by putting some pressure on your legs, so deadlifting should come at the end of your workout routine. Starting your leg day with deadlifting will make you tired, so you won’t be able to focus on the rest of your workout routine. Try squatting before deadlifting as an excellent warm-up exercise. That’s how you can prepare yourself for performing this powerlifting routine.

  1. Different variations of Deadlifts on Back or Leg Day

Deadlift variations for leg day:

  • Sumo deadlifts: You perform it by placing your legs outside your arms. This variation will put less pressure on your lower back muscles but more pressure on your quads.
  • Deficit deadlifts: You do them while standing on an elevated platform. So, the quads and the glutes need to do more work. The movement in this variation resembles squatting.

Deadlift variations for the back day:

  • Stiff-legged deadlifts: This variation puts more pressure on your glutes but less on your quads. Also, your knees become straighter than when you do a standard deadlift.
  • Snatch grip deadlifts: Grab the barbell with a wider grip and bend over more than you traditionally do. This variation puts more pressure on your back.
  1. Benefits of deadlifts on back or leg day

So, what are some benefits of deadlifting? Well, it’s not just an exercise for bodybuilders. Anyone in need of strength can start doing deadlifts and observe several benefits. The trick is to commit to this exercise and perform it accurately. If done right, deadlifting can have the following advantages:

  • Lose some fat
  • Grow your muscles
  • Reshape your body
  • Gain more confidence
  • Get rid of lower back pain
  • Your core will be activated
  • Train your hip extensors properly
  • Improve your overall metabolism
  • Release anabolic hormones (they repair your muscle tissues), e.g., testosterone
  • Moreover, increase your bone mass density up to 7.3% but only in some body parts

Frequently Asked Questions about deadlifts on back or leg day

Question 1: Can I do my legs for two days consecutively?

Yes, there’s nothing wrong with training your legs two days consecutively.

Question 2: How many sets of deadlifts are okay for back/leg day?

Experts recommend three sets of 5 reps for average gym-goers and five sets of 5 reps for professionals.

Question 3: What about deadlifts in the same workout on back or leg day?

No, gym-goers should avoid training two muscle groups in the same workout.

Question 4: What happens when you deadlift the wrong way while exercising?

You can injure yourself and acquire some strains or sprains.

Question 5: Are deadlifts targeting your legs, backs, or none of these muscle groups?

You may have realized by now experts are divided in this matter. Some believe that deadlifts target your back, but others favor legs. So there’s no definite answer, honestly speaking.


Doing deadlifts on back or leg day” has experts sharply divided. Thus, one may argue that it depends on the gym-goer’s fitness objectives. Your goals decide whether you will perform deadlifts on back day or leg day. There’s nothing wrong with performing deadlifts by the end of a productive workout session. Learn about the different variations of deadlifting we have described. You should realize that deadlifting benefits your back and legs because this exercise involves both muscle groups. However, some experts claim that deadlifts mainly target leg muscles, while others mainly target back muscles. In the end, your fitness objectives determine your workout routine.


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