Dead lifts and dead rows are basic moves we do with weights.

I understand "lift" and "row", but why is the word "dead" used as an adjective?

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    Welcome to SE.Sport. Could you please add any references on where do you find those expressions? – Ale Aug 17 '16 at 16:01
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    "Deadlift" is a reasonably well-known term. Sourcing it should be unnecessary. – Nij Aug 18 '16 at 8:23

You are picking up "dead weight" from the ground, hence the origin of the name.

Deadlifts are a movement that involved picking up some weights from the ground while it is immobile or "dead". A deadlift rep starts with the weight on the ground, it does not bounce between reps.

Googling "Dead row" referred me to Bent Over Rows, which again involves picking up a weight from the ground up until your abdomen with a rowing movement. The weight has to be dead on the ground between each rep. Yes, there are variations, but the "Dead Row" appears to be a "Pendlay Row".


Deadlift refers to the lifting of dead (without momentum) weight, such as weights lying on the ground. It is one of the few standard weight training exercises in which all repetitions begin with dead weight.

Crossfit Amplify

According to myth, the Deadlift got its name somewhere in ancient Rome, after military battles when young Roman soldiers would go out into the field to lift their fallen comrades onto wagons to later be buried. Literally, “lifting the dead.” This was used not only to help young soldiers get familiar with battle and death, but to also increase overall strength.

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    Could you provide some references which support this answer? – Philip Kendall Aug 17 '16 at 18:40
  • @PhilipKendall Added a Wikipedia definition as well as another website that refers to the myth behind the name of Dead Lifts which backs-up my answer. – Yousend Aug 17 '16 at 18:48
  • I agree with this answer which seems to be what I was planning to post. "Dead" means "dead", nothing more, nothing less. – user10632 Aug 17 '16 at 20:18
  • There is also a nuance of "dead" where it serves as an intensifier meaning "accurate": dead on, dead straight, dead serious. A deadlift is dead accurate: you're exerting that much force to get that thing off the ground without any momentum transfer. – Kaz Aug 18 '16 at 0:09
  • @Kaz You are absolutely right. – user10632 Aug 18 '16 at 8:23

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