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Which is harder the bench press or deadlift? [Article, Video]

Posted by Pascal Landshoeft

Mar 21, 2017 11:00:00 AM


Which is the hardest lift?


Which is harder the bench press or deadlift?

Especially as a beginner, you might have asked yourself that question. Which is the hardest lift of the big three? Is it harder to bench press or to deadlift? I personally think the easiest way to find out for yourself is to try both and judge for yourself, as "hard" is always a very subjective thing. Still, I would not be me if I did not discuss the topic in a bit more depth.

 Bench press calculator


The bench press is definitely the lift which is more popular and commonly used, even though with the latest CrossFit craze the deadlift seems to be gaining momentum and popularity in the gym. Generally speaking, I personally would say the deadlift is the harder of the both lift to master for several reasons.

Motor pattern

The bench press is easily imitated and often this is done so by newcomers to the gym. The deadlift, on the other hand, is harder to learn. While the bench press is a simple upwards and downwards movement in the chest area, the deadlift involves activating your arms, back, and legs on a path from the floor to the hip.In total, this is harder to perform than a bench press.

Muscle activation

To perform a heavy deadlift you need to activate more muscles which are also harder to train than just the pecs. This makes it a lift which is generally more straining on your body the bench press.


All in all, if you were to ask me to pick between the two and just do one of them for the rest of my life it would e the deadlift. Stil,l the bench press has its place amongst the iconic lifts.

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Topics: Lift stronger, Bench Press, Deadlift, Powerlifting, Bodybuilding