Why the Reeves Deadlift Is Trending So Hard Right Now

A fun video from YouTube personality Jon “Jujimufu” Call (check our interview with him here) has ignited a hunger for an old, near-forgotten version of the deadilft.

First up, let’s take a look at the man’s Instagram post that combines actual, popular versions of the lift with some pretty funny ones. Our favorite is probably the “all you bro” deadlift, but that rapid fire snatch-snatch sumo-sumo-conventional combination was pretty darn impressive.

[Did you catch that Jefferson deadlift, which Call called a Washington deadlift for some reason? Check out our full article on the unusual, highly beneficial lift.]

But a few folks in the lifting community raised an eyebrow at Call’s video. Where the heck is the Reeves deadlift? Here’s one of the response videos we found, from powerlifter Tom Finn.

500LBS. Hey @jujimufu you forgot about this deadlift!! Ok bye.

And another, over on deadlifty Instagram account Deadlift Til I’m Dead. Note that there’s even in-fighting among the Reeves enthusiasts about whether or not using straps or even plates with handles is a legit lift.

The new trend? 🤔 @swolebiz Today on @deadlifttillimdead I saw @huckfinnbarbell call out @jujimufu on a 500lb Reeves deadlift but homie had straps around the handle of a plate. Bro that ain’t how you Reeves deadlift 500lbs, THIS is how you Reeves deadlift 500lbs!

This seems like as good enough time to ask what the heck the Reeves deadlift is and why we’ve somehow never written about it.

Welp, it’s named after one of the first famously jacked Hollywood actors Steve Reeves, best known for playing Hercules and Goliath in a series of films in the 1950s. (As well as famous Malaysian pirate Sandokan, despite Reeves being pret-ty not Malaysian.)

The Reeves deadlift is the kind of exercise to work on if you’re a) a huge fan of developing crazy grip strength, because this exercise absolutely smokes the forearms and b) fanatical about upper back strength. Having the arms all the way out to the sides, a lot like a snatch grip Romanian deadlift, can have a ton of benefits like better back tightness for heavy squats, better pulling strength, and a crazy yoked upper back. If you think snatch grip deads are the end all for grip and traps, you haven’t tried the Reeves deadlift.

The heaviest we’ve seen lately is this 600-pounder. Seen heavier? Let us know in the comments.

Featured image via @huckfinnbarbell on Instagram.

Nick English

Nick English

Nick is a content producer and journalist with over seven years’ experience reporting on four continents. His first articles about health were on a cholera outbreak in rural Kenya while he was reporting for a French humanitarian organization. His next writing job was covering the nightlife scene in Shanghai. He’s written on a lot of things.

After Shanghai, he went on to produce a radio documentary about bodybuilding in Australia before finishing his Master’s degrees in Journalism and International Relations and heading to New York City. Here, he’s been writing on health full time for more than five years for outlets like BarBend, Men's Health, VICE, and Popular Science.

No fan of writing in the third person, Nick’s passion for health stems from an interest in self improvement: How do we reach our potential?

Questions like these took him through a lot of different areas of health and fitness like gymnastics, vegetarianism, kettlebell training, fasting, CrossFit, Paleo, and so on, until he realized (or decided) that strength training fit best with the ideas of continuous, measurable self improvement.

At BarBend his writing focuses a little more on nutrition and long-form content with a heaping dose of strength training. His underlying belief is in the middle path: you don’t have to count every calorie and complete every workout in order to benefit from a healthy lifestyle and a stronger body. Plus, big traps are cool.

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