If I could only do one exercise for the rest of my life, it would be a toss up between the deadlift and the squat. Both are serious compound movements that stimulate muscles across the entire body, and require serious mental discipline to master.
Many men shy away from the deadlift because they’re afraid of it and claim that deadlifting will screw up your back. That’s a load of crap if you’re smart. It’s an exercise that can really and truly fuck you up if you don’t respect it and use strict form, but if you maintain a sensible progression (don’t start out trying to pull 500 lbs) there’s no reason that men who have healthy backs should worry. In fact, deadlifting properly is one of the best movements for strengthening your lower back muscles. That in turn can help stave off injury and soreness from bad posture.
Like all of the goals we discuss, a 500lb deadlift is not something you will achieve overnight. While professional powerlifters can often lift almost double this amount, for the untrained it’s a feat of strength that will likely take a couple years of dedicated strength training to achieve. Proper diet and training will no doubt accelerate the process, but don’t expect to start deadlifting tomorrow and be pulling anywhere near 500lbs several months later.
Aside from that feeling of accomplishment, a man who can deadlift 500lbs will also have a strong back, crushing grip and will enjoy the higher testosterone levels that accompany performing a heavy compound movement on a regular basis.
500 lbs wont make you the strongest most badass guy in the gym, but it will earn you that guys respect. Most men don’t go to the gym, most who do don’t deadlift and most who do deadlift never get up above 300-400lbs.