Deadlift, in a nutshell, is lifting something up and putting it back down. This vital lift is amongst the best for building total-body strength and athleticism.

Basic steps

  • Bar should be above mid foot
  • Hip-width stance with knees and hips square
  • A mixed or overhand grip on the bar with hands just outside legs
  • Shoulders placed directly above the bar
  • Hips backward, head and chest up, to ensure a straight spine
  • Lift weight by pushing through your heels
  • Thrust hips forward at midway
  • Hold position at the top
  • Look forward and keep your shoulders back
  • Lower the bar by bending your knees and pushing hips back and down

The deadlift not only improve your force transfer while standing, running, jumping, and throwing but also gives you a quick athletic advantage by developing your initial strength.

Before doing Deadlift exercises

There are a many exercises that can strengthen your weak points for the deadlift and all other major lifts. The key lies in picking the one that works on your weakness and helps you to perform this exercise effectively.

  • Push-ups
  • Glute-hamstring raises
  • Good mornings
  • Deficit pulls
  • Band hip rotation

Types of Deadlift

Conventional vs. Romanian Deadlift

Conventional deadlift is the most basic deadlift and is perfect for beginners. Once you have mastered the traditional deadlift, you can always switch to any other variation. The conventional deadlift is ranked higher on the list of full body movement as it works on every muscle of your body. While you perform this workout, your hands must be placed outside of your feet while standing at about hip-width apart.

Romanian Deadlift

Romanian Deadlift (RDL) or stiff legged deadlift is an excellent exercise for developing your glutes and hamstrings. You maintain a slight bend in the knees, but your back should be straight. The weights remain off the floor for this workout and you use your hips to drive through the weights.  It is good for your lower back and can be performed with a barbell, dumbbell or kettlebell.

Snatch Grip Deadlift

The snatch grip deadlift is not a traditional deadlift, but it works undoubtedly well. Snatch grip deadlift is a type of deadlift having the stance and positioning same as the conventional deadlift. The only difference between conventional and snatch grip deadlift is the full hand positioning.

Many weightlifters like to grip at the ends of the bar. You can use straps to maintain the grip. This type of deadlift taxes your upper back by widening your hand width. The wide handgrip forces you to bend lower than a straight-arm narrower grip. It also forces you to pull the bar a little higher than the traditional deadlift.

Single Leg Romanian Deadlift

Apart from benefiting glutes and hamstrings, this variation also increases the balance of your body as a whole. It emphasizes your core strength. In addition, it works independently on either side of your body.

Stand with your feet close together. Use your stronger leg to balance the body weight and lift your other leg to hinge forward. Push your hips back, lean forward and stretch your hamstring to keep your leg parallel to the floor. Keep your back straight and knee soft. Return to standing position. You can use a kettle bell or dumbbell with both hands or single hand to make this work out more intense.

This exercise is used extensively in the physical therapy world because of its potential to transform the lower extremity posterior chain. The posterior chain includes your back and the muscles involved are calves, hamstrings, glutes, multifidus, erector spine muscles, trapezius, posterior deltoids, and external oblique.

Dumbbell Stiff leg deadlift

The dumbbell stiff leg deadlift targets the muscles of your lower back causing lateral movement of your trunk and lumbar spine. Your arms and forearms are responsible for keeping the proper grip lasting throughout the rep.

Stand with a narrow stance and grab the dumbbells to the sides. Keep knees stationary and back straight. Now exhale, push your butt out and lower the dumbbells over the top of your feet. Keep your back nice and tight. Keep your knees slightly bent but do not lock them. Inhale and return to standing posture by extending your hips and slightly pull your shoulders back. This workout improves strength, stability and flexibility of your glutes and hamstrings.

Trap Bar Deadlift

It is a lot different from other deadlift styles. The main benefit is primarily for those who don’t have the experience of deadlifting. In a conventional deadlift, you have a single bar, but in a trap bar deadlift, you stand inside a specialized trap bar. Chassis looking diamond or hexagonal shaped bar is used in this kind of deadlift. It is far superior to the barbell deadlift for power and strength. The trap bar provides a safer version of deadlift than the straight bar version as it produces significant levels of peak force, power, and velocity while allowing you to lift more weight over an extended period.

Single Leg Deadlift

This type of deadlift works on your hamstrings and glutes. It also improves your balance and posture.


While performing a single leg deadlift, line the toe of your back foot with the heel of your front foot. Keep your knees slightly bent, abs tight, back straight and hinge your back. Lower your torso parallel to the floor and grab the weights placed beside your front foot. Pull back and move your hips forward. You may raise your non working leg slightly or fully depending on the variation you perform.

Common Mistakes while Deadlifting

  • Pulling with your back and not pushing through your legs and hips
  • Using the wrong foot stance
  • Losing initial explosive power by taking too long to set-up your lifts
  • Not locking your elbows before starting
  • Rounding your back by letting the weight pull you as opposed to you pulling the load
  • Bouncing the weights during repetitions
  • Excessive use of lifting gear and improper footwear

If you are beginning to deadlift without any supervision and warm-up, you might hurt yourself. Therefore, practice correctly and build additional endurance with deadlift exercises.

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