The conventional deadlift has been considered the king of powerlifting since ancient times. In short, the deadlift involves lifting the weight up to waist height and bringing it back down, and repeating the same thing two or three times.
Some people tend to break records by lifting 100 or even 200 kg, but that comes at a price. Every deadlift method requires a technique; If hinted incorrectly, it may hurt your back.
Tensioning the whole body while lifting isn't easy, so people are looking for alternatives. Here are some effective total body exercises that are gentle but great alternatives to the deadlift.
What are dead weights?
The deadlift is a full-body exercise, one of the most important basic movements, in which a person lifts more weight than usual, but only to waist level. If you lift the weight properly, you'll put extra pressure on your legs, but you'll feel the tension throughout your body.
Some people tend to lift much heavier to push the limits, which puts extra strain on the back and requires a support belt to protect the body from injury. Despite learning the right technique, heavy lifting can damage your back.
This leads to people avoiding the barbell deadlift and trying deadlift alternatives that also affect their entire body.
Muscles engaged in the deadlift
The main muscles involved in the deadlift are the hips and legs. Simply move your hips and legs from a bent to an extended position, which puts a lot of stress on your legs, back, hips, arms and shoulders (back short chain).
Even if your position is perfect and your weight is lighter, your shoulders and arms will be strained. The more weight you use, the more stress your body is subjected to.
The same muscles will be engaged even if you choose the deadlift alternatives, but the pressure will be less.
Since the deadlift is a compound exercise, it relies purely on strength. In comparison, deadlift alternatives are more technical exercises for lifting more weight without injuring yourself. They may not be as effective as the deadlift, but they will get the job done.
Reasons for Choosing Deadlift Alternatives
While the Romanian deadlift or a traditional deadlift is great, sometimes you have to choose deadlift alternatives for the following reasons.
- You have an injury that requires less intense hip exercise.
- You are in a recovery phase that requires a break from heavy weights.
- The deadlift becomes challenging for you and requires you to change method or choose an alternative.
Taking a break from heavy lifting is great for your body as you can spend more time shaping it properly. If the traditional deadlift becomes challenging, you can choose another method that offers more support but the same results.
The idea is to give your body a hard time preparing to lift heavy weights and build endurance; There are other ways to achieve this.
Heavy Weight Deadlift Alternatives
The alternatives can't replace the deadlift, but you can achieve similar results by adding extra support. Some choose this alternative to add more weight without breaking the bar, while others choose these because they are easy.
- Trap bar deadlift
This is an ideal option for relieving stress on your legs and hips and transferring it to your arms and shoulders. Plus, you maintain your balance as you lift, so you don't have to put pressure on your back to perform the full action. It's the same as the traditional deadlift, except you grab the bar from the sides with the help of a collar.
Your starting position is the same where you bend down and grab the bar by the handles at your sides. After that, slowly raise your legs so the trapeze bar doesn't hit your back, and once you're straight, you can do the action again.
One problem with the trap bar deadlift is that the tripping hazard is high. If you're standing in the hex and you're moving too fast or don't have enough clearance from behind, it can hit the bar on your back or legs. This disrupts your flow and you will stumble if you can't keep your balance.
Again, there is no pressure on your upper body unless you decide to lift extra weight. The weight will pull your body down instead of pushing it forward because your body is right in the middle. This is a great option if you're trying deadlifts and want to maintain proper position.
- elevated deadlift
Traditional deadlifts require balance to lift the weight so it doesn't put extra strain on your back. This is one of the reasons most people give up because they can't keep their balance. The problem starts with lifting the weight as it takes a lot of strength to lift it. Without proper positioning, you're putting extra strain on your back and not your legs and hips.
An elevated deadlift eliminates this problem by allowing you to lift the bar without bending over. You can use boxes or grab bars to lift the weight, so all you have to do is bend your legs a little and lift the weight. Instead of putting pressure on the hips, this method puts more pressure on the legs and some stress on the back.
While there is no prescribed height for the safe position, you can set the safety bars 4 to 6 inches high and deadlift as usual.
- Dead weight of land mines
Here's another alternative to the traditional deadlift that primarily targets the hips and legs but requires a landmine attachment and barbell. If there is no landmine mount, you can stick a barbell in the corner of the room, shift the weight to one side, and start the lift again.
Keep your feet apart and make sure to put pressure on your thighs and hips instead of your knees or back.
Also, the bar should sit in your palm and have a firm grip so it doesn't fall off. It would be better to wear gloves for more grip. Landmine deadlifts are easy to set upbest exercise bikesince all you need is a bar, weights and a court corner.
Other exercises for alternatives to the deadlift
These alternatives are different exercises that work on your entire body without additional stress. They don't offer the same results as deadlifts, but they're great for back, leg, and hip exercises.
- Kettlebell swings
For this exercise, you need a kettlebell that gives your hips the same intensity as the deadlift. The kettlebell swing is not only a good alternative to the deadlift, but also a great option for cardio.
The best part is that you can do this exercise at home as no barbell or weight is required.
Keep your feet shoulder-width apart and stand facing the kettlebell. Lean down at your hips and grab the kettlebell with both hands. Here's the main part, take the kettlebell and spin it between your legs at minimal speed.
If you swing fast, the kettlebell could slip and hit a wall or another person.
Rock your hips forward so the momentum brings the kettlebell up toward your chest. Keep moving your hips to stop and push off the kettlebell without using the extra support of your hands.
- bent over row
If you don't want to bend over and lift heavy weights, this bent-over row provides the same exercise as deadlifts. This exercise can help strengthen your back, which is the main reason for deadlifts.
Hold two dumbbells in your hands, do not attempt this exercise with just one dumbbell. Bend 45 degrees at the waist; Get someone's help to keep your back at the right height.
Make sure your spine is neutral, your knees are soft, and your arms are straight. Move your elbows up like you're doing a chicken dance. Once raised, squeeze your shoulder blade and hold it there for two to three seconds.
Lower your elbow back to the starting position and do as many repetitions as you like.
- Romanian One Leg Deadlift
If you have a leg injury and can't put more pressure on it, this exercise is the best alternative to the deadlift exercise. Instead of using both legs, it only takes one leg and doesn't require you to move up and down. You need good balance so you don't trip when you move your leg.
Stand up straight, hold dumbbells in your hands and hold them tight so you don't drop them.
Shift your weight onto your non-injured leg and rotate forward. Remember to keep the knee relaxed to know if this exercise is right for your body and legs.
With your body in a T-shape, let the dumbbells hang from your arms, hips straight and muscle groups like your chest tight.
Once you've made the T, hold it for a few seconds and return to the original position. When both legs are in perfect condition, do as many reps as you like before switching to the other leg. If there is additional pain in the teeth, you can reduce the weight or stop this exercise.
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- Langhantel Hip Thrust
The Barbell Hip Thrust is a great exercise for beginners that strengthens the hips and smooths out the movements. This is another exercise to keep your posterior chain muscles active; if you have recently had an injury.
You can add more weight to create more resistance for an intense workout. Since you're close to the ground, when you can't hold the weight, just drop your hips and the weights will hit the ground instead of hurting you.
Keep your knees bent, feet flat on the floor, and arms by your sides while lying on your back. Place the bar on your hips; You need someone else's help. Once the weight is on your hips, inhale and slowly move your hips toward the ceiling.
Once the hips are lifted, hold for a few seconds and return to the original position. You can do 10-12 reps before feeling the intensity of a deadlift.
- cable gland
The cable pull is the opposite of a land mine deadlift, but instead you use a cable and your back is facing the machine. This exercise is extremely taxing on the hips, so be prepared to feel the strain of the deadlift after 10-12 reps.
One thing to keep in mind when pulling the cable is not to move your hands; Instead, rely on hip movement.
The glutes, hamstrings, and deep spine are the most affected areas, making this exercise best for bulking.
Take a rope and tie it to a low pulley; Turn your back to the machine and carry the rope between your legs. Bend your legs slightly and spread them apart so you can move the rope slightly. Lean forward enough so your back isn't rounded; Stop, hold and push your hips forward pulling the rope with you.
Squeeze your hamstrings and glutes to control the movement, and keep it slow through reps.
- tire jumps
Tire flips are a powerful exercise that hits all parts of the body without any equipment. You can grab a truck tire and flip it with your arms, shoulders, legs, and back. The difference between the hoop pull and deadlift is that in the deadlift, the force is applied horizontally while in the hoop pull, the force is applied vertically and horizontally.
You can take a tire from a junkyard, clean it and get ready for a workout. Lay the hoop on the ground and use your whole body to lift it up. Open your legs, put your hands under the hoop and try to lift it. Remember to apply equal force to each part to avoid extra pressure on your back.
Once you've lifted the hoop, try to hold it and slowly move it forward with both hands, keeping your legs bent but not putting all the pressure on one leg. Keep your balance so you don't fall; Once the hoop is on the ground, repeat the process and feel the tension throughout your body.
- 45 degree back extension
Another alternative is great for lower back and glutes that require a barbell and 45 degree lean rack. The recommendation is to do this exercise post-workout with higher reps to build a strong mind-muscle connection. Be sure to use a heavy barbell for this exercise, about 40 pounds or more, and try to hold no more than two heavy weights.
Go for a waist extender that is comfortable enough not to put extra pressure on your tummy. Grab a weight plate or barbell and hold it close to your chest. Place your feet on the platform with enough footing not to trip and begin to lower yourself to the floor. Keeping your spine neutral and your legs straight, put all the pressure on your back and hips.
Continue leaning down until you feel a stretch in your hamstrings and slowly pull your body back to the starting position. This may sound easy, but standing up requires a lot of strength and you need to do it without straining your back.
- Row Penlay
The Pendley row is a back strengthening exercise because your back stays parallel to the floor as you row the bar from floor to chest. Unlike a deadlift, which focuses more on the entire body, the Pendley Row trains the entire upper body. You may need to combine this exercise with an exercise that improves your lower body.
Spread out a barbell and place it on the floor, stand next to it and hold it with a wide grip, just like you use it with the bench press. The bar should be a few inches from your shins; Bend your knees slightly and keep your back parallel to the floor.
Row the bar up to your sternum; If you can't, the load is too heavy and you'll need to throw something before continuing. Hold your torso tight as you row the bar, putting pressure on your back. Return to the starting position and pause before repeating the process.
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Benefits of non-deadlift exercises
The deadlift exercise is great for multiple purposes, including activating the hip extensors and cores and improving jumping performance and bone mineral density. The problem is that the deadlift requires more weight, and with more weight the risk of injury is high.
If you choose these alternatives, you'll get the same results as deadlifting, but without the added stress and reduced risk of injury. You can build your base, hone your engineering skills, strengthen your weak points, and even get better results without the right gear. Once you get the hang of it, you can switch to deadlifts.
Bottom Line: Why Deadlift Alternatives Are Better For You
When you first start training, the deadlift seems like the ultimate goal, and you may want to get there quickly. However, deadlifts are best when you want to strengthen your back for heavy weights.
In the meantime, you can look for an alternative to the deadlift and get the same results without putting extra strain on your back. Once you find you can easily lift 180+ pounds, start deadlifting.