This might already be your favorite exercise. Or, the name alone might sound scary! The fact is, the deadlift is a great full-body exercise that can improve posture and help you run faster or jump higher. There are many different variations of the deadlift, all with different benefits.
In short, hip hinge … your ability to flex and extend at the hip. When you are sat down, which the majority of us spend a lot of the day doing, your hips are in flexion. By including some form of deadlift in your workout, you can counter the negative effects of sitting, leading to better posture. That’s not the only bonus. Creating a better, stronger, faster hip hinge will help you sprint faster, jump higher, hit harder or throw further.
The other common position found in prolonged sitting is a hunched back with shoulders rounded forward. Another check mark for the deadlift. Proper deadlift form requires you to actively hold a neutral spine and shoulder position by pulling against the bar, dumbbell, kettlebell or whatever you are lifting.
Last but not least, you will be working hard! You will be using your glutes, hamstrings, quads, lats, trapezius and gastrocnemius muscles, plus many more. Pretty much every muscle … larger, visible outer muscles and hidden stabilizers will be working hard during a deadlift. So including them in your workout will give you an intensity boost and a results boost!
Check out these variations to find the one for you.
Maybe the most common form of deadlift. It can be performed with any bar from 1lb to 1000lbs+. This exercise is way easier to show than to explain, so check out the video below. (I’ll be adding my own video when I get a chance to film it!)
Single Leg Romanian Deadlift
Single Leg Romanian Deadlift or SLRDL for short. Let’s break down that definition. A Romanian deadlift is a straight leg or almost straight legged deadlift. So to lower the bar, weight or hand, all the movement (ideally) has to come from the hips. A two legged Romanian deadlift is a great way to check your hip hinge. A single leg Romanian deadlift adds an extra balance challenge to that. Being on a single leg will also expose your stronger side and your weaker side. Work at this exercise until both are equal.
A sumo deadlift starts with a much wider stance than a regular deadlift, around double hip width. The toes also start turned out This can be a great variant from a regular stance deadlift. Due to the wider stance and turned-out toes, the sumo deadlift will make you “sink into the hips” more like a squat, rather than push them back like a regular deadlift. This may make it a more effective exercise for you. The sumo variant is also a great option if you currently suffer lower back problems, as less stress is put on the back. (I will add a video soon!)
Single Leg Single Arm Deadlift
Check out this video from Kettlebell master Steve Cotter. This exercise is great for building a solid core and hips.
There are plenty of different dead lift variations. Each variation will work the body in a slightly different way. Try them all. See what you find easy and see what you find harder. This can give you some great insight into your body’s movement patterns, strengths and weaknesses.