Chances are that you are already familiar with the classic deadlift: fantastic exercises for strengthening your back, core and legs. Do you have a specific weakness or do you just want to be able to vary in your training? These are the best 5 variations on the ‘standard’ deadlift that you can do.
1. Classic deadlift
Back to the basics. You can do the classic deadlift like this:
Grab an Olympic barbell. Spread your feet hip-width apart and grab the barbell with a ‘mixed grip’ (one hand overhand, one hand underhand). Your grip is just a bit wider than hip width. Bend your knees, push your chest forward, keep your shoulders low, chin up, your buttocks back and let the barbell slide down your legs and flat along your shins as it drops to the ground. Tighten your abdominal, hip and back muscles and stretch your legs again.
2. Sumo deadlift
The sumo deadlift is most suitable for people with mobility problems, but you do need a wider posture that demands more from the quads (in contrast to the standard deadlift, which demands more from the gluteal muscles and hamstrings). The narrow grip puts more strain on the shoulders, which means that less pressure is placed on the lower back.
This is how you perform the sumo deadlift:
Stand with your feet slightly wider than the hip width apart, turn your toes slightly outwards. Make sure your shins touch the bar before you bend. Then lift up on the bar until you are upright in one quick movement. Lower it back down again and make sure your back stays straight.
3. Stiff leg deadlift
Because you don’t bend your knees with this deadlift variant, your hamstrings have to work extra hard. But beware: it is not movement for people with low back pain.
This is how you perform the stiff leg deadlift:
Stand with your feet hip-width apart, your shins touch the bar. Bend down and hold your back straight as you grasp the bar.
Tighten your shoulder muscles, feel the weight of the bar in your heels. Pull the bar up in one movement and at the same time stretch your legs. Hold on for a moment and then lower the bar again while keeping your knees slightly bent.
4. Single-leg deadlift
This deadlift is ideal for improving balance and stability. Dead lifts with one leg also ensure strong hip muscles and better mobility. Make sure that you do not bend your hind leg while lifting.
This is how you perform the single-leg deadlift:
Grab a kettlebell with an overhand grip in your left hand. Keep your knees slightly bent and bend your hips. Lower your upper body with your weight on your left leg until you are almost parallel to the floor. Your right leg must stay in line with your body. Return to the starting position and repeat on the other side.
5. Suitcase deadlift
This deadlift variation is ideal for beginners and for those who are not yet experienced enough to handle heavy weights. It is great for strengthening your hind legs and improving your stability.
This is how you perform the deadlift suitcase:
Stand a straight back, lean back slightly and bend your knees, in line with your ankles. Take the kettlebell from the ground with an overhand grip and stand up straight. Make sure you get full hip extension by contracting your glutes. With control and your core tightened, you return to the starting position. Repeat on the other side.