If you think deadlifts are just for the guys, think again. Deadlifts are an ideal exercise for anyone seeking a firm butt, lean legs a strong back and better posture, but they’re also one of the best moves around for realizing your true strength potential.
There’s no need to be intimidated. These five deadlift variations are uncomplicated, yet extremely effective.
1. Single-Leg Dumbbell, Straight-Leg Deadlift
Flexibility, balance, strength, sculpting: this full-body, single move will help you improve on all of these areas.
- Stand with a dumbbell in each hand.
- Balancing on your left leg, pull your right leg behind you as you bend toward the ground from your left hip.
- Do not change the bend in your knee as you do this.
- Your back should be straight, your knee should have only a slight bend, and your right leg should form a straight line behind your body perpendicular to the floor.
- Hold the weights with straight arms at knee height as you balance.
- Squeeze your glutes as you pull yourself back to the starting position. You should feel the burn not just in your arms, but in your core as well as you attempt to balance yourself.
- Do 10 reps on each leg for one set.
2. Sumo Stance Deadlift
- Start with your legs far apart as if you’re about to get down into a sumo squat.
- Holding onto a dumbbell in each hand or a weight bar, initiate the movement from your hips as you bend toward the floor.
- Do not round your back as you do this – keep your back straight throughout the entire movement.
- If you’re not able to get all the way down to the ground without rounding your back, stop at the lowest point you can go while keeping your back straight.
- Keep your weight in your heels and look straight ahead to prevent injury.
3. Kettlebell Suitcase Deadlift
- The “suitcase” in this scenario is a kettlebell that you place on the floor just outside your feet.
- Stand in a narrow stance with your toes facing forward. Hinge from your hips as you reach down to grab the kettlebell, as if you were about to pick up a suitcase from the floor.
- Remember to keep your back straight and look forward throughout the entire movement.
- Do not lean sideways to pick the kettlebell up – keep your spine neutral.
4. Double Suitcase Deadlift
This is the same as the move above, except it uses two weights on each side (either kettebells or dumbbells) instead of one weight on one side. Start with the single suitcase deadlift and work your way up to this one as you grow stronger.
5. Crush Grip Kettlebell Deadlift
- Hold onto the ball portion of the kettlebell with both hands, squeezing tightly. (Picture yourself crushing the kettlebell with your hands.)
- The movement for this deadlift is the same as a standard deadlift, but the crush grip adds more resistance for your bicep and chest.
- Be sure to remember all the safety tips from earlier: don’t round your back, look straight ahead, and keep a slight bend in your knees.