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?

  • 1
    Welcome to SE.Sport. Could you please add any references on where do you find those expressions?
    – Ale
    Aug 17, 2016 at 16:01
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    "Deadlift" is a reasonably well-known term. Sourcing it should be unnecessary.
    – Nij
    Aug 18, 2016 at 8:23

1 Answer 1


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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