It is the most efficient and potent way to build total-body strength and even prevent injury.
The deadlift uses the powerful joint action of hip extension, coupled with strong back muscles and a locked-down core to pick a weight up off the floor. The weight could be a barbell, kettlebell, or some other implement. Everybody, regardless of current strength and fitness level, should practice this movement in some way.
The deadlift is special for another reason: it provides vast benefits at a relatively low level of proficiency. Consider this: the world record in the deadlift is about 1,000 pounds. But a person who can deadlift 200 pounds with perfect form will have reaped tremendous benefits in their strength, athleticism, movement quality, and injury resilience. That's a mere 20% of the world record.
Let's compare that to another popular fitness activity, running. The world record in the mile is 3:43. To achieve 20% of that, you'd need to cover a mile in 18.5 minutes. Even an overweight person could walk that pace. With a cigarette break, maybe.
My point is: odds are, achieving an 18-minute mile does nothing for you. But a 200-pound deadlift could mean a whole new quality of life. No aches or pains. No struggles with groceries, luggage, or shoveling.
How long does it take to go from "what's a deadlift?" to lifting 200? It depends. For men, maybe only a few weeks. For women, maybe a few months. Check out Char below. She's 40. That is 225 on the bar. It took her 3 months, training about three times per week.
200 is an arbitrary number; I chose it because the math was easy. You might find that your life-changing deadlift number is 185, or 315, or 405. The reward is in the process. The final number is just bragging rights. RISE UP!