As the star of Hercules, Goliath, and dozens of other bare-fisted, bare-chested adventure flicks, Steve Reeves helped lay the groundwork for latter-day action icons like Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, and Jean-Claude Van Damme. He also happened to be an accomplished bodybuilder during his day, winning the 1947 Mr. America and 1950 Mr. Universe titles during a brief but successful competitive career.

It was during this period that Reeves experimented with training techniques and invented a unique variation on a standard move that is as valid today as it was back in the 1940s.

The Reeves Deadlift effectively targets the hamstrings, spinal erectors, and lower and middle back, with the added benefits of building a stronger grip and a massive set of forearms—everything you need for a Herculean physique.

Here’s how to do it


Place a loaded barbell on the floor with the smooth sides ofeach plate facing inward.


If you can use multiple 45s on each end, place a 10-pound plate between them to create space for your fingers.


With your feet shoulder-width apart, bend at the hips, hold a plate in each hand, and perform a deadlift.


To seriously nail your upper back and traps, perform a shrug at the top of the movement.