How to Do Deadlifts - Conclusion

By Laura High @healthwriter61
January 03, 2018


There are many variations of this exercise. Now that you know how to do deadlifts of the standard variety, you may want to consider one of its many modifications.

Straight leg deadlift

This version gives you many of the benefits of a traditional deadlift without involving your knees.

  • Grasp a barbell so your body is centered and your hands are placed shoulder-width apart, outside your legs. (You can also do this version with dumbbells.) Engage your core.
  • Keeping your gaze forward, hinge at the hips while lowering the bar as far as you can without rounding your back (don’t look down). Keep your shoulders engaged; don’t let them protract.
  • As you lower the bar, keep it close to or touching your legs.
  • Squeeze your glutes, keep your core engaged, and raise yourself in a slow, controlled manner to a standing position.
  • Repeat 8 to 12 times for two to three sets.

Kettlebell deadlift

  • Place a moderately heavy kettlebell on the floor and stand over it with your feet hip-width apart.
  • Bend your knees slightly and engage your core.
  • Keep your gaze forward, keep your back straight, and hinge at the hips as if you were going to sit back in a chair.
  • Grasp the handle of the kettlebell firmly with both hands. Imagine trying to break the handle in half, which will engage your lats (upper back muscles). Keep your arms straight throughout the move, but don’t lock out your elbows.
  • Drive forcefully through your feet and hips to lift your body, coming to a standing position.
  • Actively engage your glutes at the top of the move.
  • Repeat.

Single leg deadlift

  • Stand with all of your weight on your right foot. Engage your core and lift your chest.
  • Hinging at the hips, reach your torso forward while lifting your left leg behind you. Strive to create a flat tabletop with your lifted leg and back so both are parallel to the floor.
  • Reach your arms out to your sides for balance.
  • Reach back with the heel of your lifted leg and consciously engage your glute and hamstring. Hold for a few seconds.
  • Hinge at your hips to lower your leg and straighten your back to come to a standing position.
  • Perform the move 8 to 12 times on one side and then switch. This is one set.

Functional add-ons

Deadlifts and their many variations are ideal for overall conditioning and if you’re seeking a super-effective exercise to tighten and strengthen your backside.

Once you have mastered the basic move, you can create a more complex compound movement by adding a tricep kickback or shoulder press. These additions create movements that look more like activities of everyday living and therefore make these activities easier to perform, especially as we age.


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January 03, 2018

Reviewed By:  

Janet O’Dell, RN