Deadlifts are a sacred exercise within the gym goer community. It’s the bench of the lower body. ‘How much can you deadlift?’ is an easy icebreaker, with the answer being something a friendship can be built on.
But what if deadlifts aren’t your thing, due to injury or just pure hatred?
Not to fear, there are some great variations available that will keep you in the deadlifting loop.
Deadlifts are great for strength. It’s an exercise you can keep loading weight on to which makes you feel good, and looks impressive.
However, done wrongly they can cause serious pain and injury, especially in your lower back.
For some people, even when deadlifts are done well, the tightness felt the day after isn’t worth the trade off.
Trap bar, hex bar whatever you call it this is a great way to keep the load high, but the pain low. By changing the angle of your arms and body during the lift, the tension shifts away from your lower back.
Instead of leaning forward to a barbell you just squat down to the handles at the side of your ankles.
Feet wide, hands together. That’s the basics. It changes the position your body is in, taking a lot of the strain off your lower back.
With the legs wider the centre of gravity shifts down, the distance the bar has to move also shortens. Small distance = bigger lifts.
Straight leg deadlifts, if your hamstrings have stopped feeling it during deadlifts then this one is for you. It’s almost an isolation exercise for your hamstrings, squeezing every last inch out of the stretch.
They are also a great exercise to do on one leg. Making them a great exercise to return from injury as a lower weight can be used whilst still getting maximal gains.
Sometimes the hardest part of a deadlift is that first inch or so off the floor, so take that bit out. You still get the benefit of the lift, just without the part that overloads your body and makes you loose your form from the off.
This can be applied to all the other variations as well. Double up, add some boxes and make a variation of a variation!
If you are really struggling lifting the weight off the floor then try starting with the weight up. The bar goes in the same place as it does for squats, on your shoulders. Then you bend forward hinging at the hips, before quickly going back up to standing.
You should feel this exercise working in all the same places that a deadlift does, hamstring, core and back.
If you love deadlifts but want a little something extra try any of these to spice up your training and move on from a plateau, bound to send the crowds crazy on social media as well. Do it for the likes
The classic deadlift is the perfect move - not sure I ever want to change it up. The thrill of deadlifting for me is adding that extra 5-10kg and pushing for a new PB.
I agree. Deadlifts definitely give you the build of a bodybuilder. They take a lot out of me, but they give a lot back.
Deadlifts are the best thing to get you bigger and stronger. Better than bicep curls anyday.