January 07, 2022 10 min read
It is undeniable that deadlifts are the king of bodybuilding and strength-training exercises. When it comes to getting a full-body workout, deadlifts are the compound exercises to be included in your routine.
There are various types of deadlifts, but all these variations have one thing in common; they are great muscle and strength-building exercises. Below, we provide you with the 10 best deadlift variations and their effects on your muscles.
Many gym enthusiasts and athletes would agree that deadlifts are best for activating multiple muscles all at once.
It doesn't matter if you are looking to get jacked, work on stability, or muscle endurance, deadlifts are the exercises you need. When done properly, deadlifts activate and engage your hamstrings, glutes, trapezius muscles, bicep and triceps muscle groups, core muscles, hip flexors, quads, and muscles of the back.
Most people who work out can tell you that the more weight you can deadlift, the more shredded you are going to be. This is why many gym noobs will more often than not spot a powerlifter pyramiding with heavier weights, trying to beat their personal best. Since body weight and muscle mass play a role in the amount you can deadlift, it makes sense that the more you deadlift, the heavier you can go.
While it might take a bit of dedication to stay in form, deadlifts get less challenging the more frequently you practice. Although this is great news for your muscles, it might get a little uninteresting with time and progressive overload. Mercifully, there are a slew of deadlift variations that are just as interesting and even more challenging than the conventional deadlift.
Although it might seem to mirror a squat, the traditional deadlift is done more with the flexion of the hip. Standing with your feet hip-to-shoulder-width apart, shoulders back and chest high, you simply hinge your hip forward while keeping your back straight. As you lift the barbell, dumbbell, or kettlebell, you flex your hip inward till you are standing.Other Deadlift variations make use of a similar range of motion to achieve great muscle results and strengthen your core.
Although the conventional deadlift is a great exercise, coupled with other variations, your workout routine is bound to be a killer superset of deadlifts.While many of these variations are easy to get the hang of if you are used to the conventional deadlift, some others make use of resistance and are tasking to your muscles.
Below are 10 deadlift variations from the easiest to the hardest.
The sumo deadlift looks like the conventional deadlift but provides a shorter and more limited range of motion. This is not entirely bad news, as the sumo deadlift is great for engaging quads and glutes. The major difference between the sumo deadlift and the conventional deadlift lies in your stance. Regardless of this minor change, the sumo deadlift variation is a welcome addition to your workout routine.
To do the sumo deadlift:
With sumo deadlifts, you can lift more weights and so progressive overload is easier. It is beginner-friendly, increases pulling strength, and places less strain on the lower back.
The landmine deadlift is a beginner-friendly deadlift variation. With a more upright position, this variation is easier on the spine and thus, is a great option for gym noobs with back problems.The landmine deadlift works the same muscles as the conventional deadlift, with the bonus of better hip hinge training. It is a safer option for training at a higher volume.
To do this variation:
Although trap bars, also called hex bars, are most popularly used for shrugs, they are equally great for deadlifts. This variation activates and engages the same muscle groups as the conventional deadlift but places less stress on the spine. Research has however shown that you can lift more weight with a hex bar than you can with a conventional barbell.
To do the Trap bar deadlift:
Using the trap bar allows you to position your hips low, like the conventional deadlift or higher to put more weight in your legs.
Many lifters often dismiss the rack pulls as a poor variation of the conventional deadlift. While admittedly, the range of motion in this variation is shorter, it is a great way to bulk up the upper back muscles while activating similar muscles as its conventional predecessor.The rack pull deadlift increases pulling strength and is a great option for men who suffer from lower back pain, as it is easier on the lower back muscles.
To do rack pull deadlifts:
Other than being a great exercise to prepare your body for other pulling exercises, the rack pull deadlift is a functional exercise for healthy muscles and better performance.
If you have mastered the art of conventional deadlifting, the RDL is a walk in the park. While it might be classified as a little challenging, the RDL is a more isolated exercise that helps to work your hip and knee joints. Although many newbies often confuse RDLs with the conventional deadlift, the major difference is you are not lowering the barbell to the ground. In RDLs, the bar remains in the air throughout the sets.RDLs can be a barbell or dumbbell deadlift.
To do the Romanian deadlift:
For many beginners, the tension in the hamstring is a limiting factor to how low you can go. With time, this improves.The RDL is a great exercise for strengthening the posterior chain. It is also a brilliant choice for your leg day routine, as it strengthens and builds up the hamstring while improving overall muscle strength.
The snatch grip is a more difficult barbell deadlift variation with an increased range of motion. This variation works the same muscles as the conventional deadlift but, thanks to the extremely wide grip position, focuses more on the muscles of your upper back while sparing your lower back.
To perform the Snatch grip deadlift:
Although it requires more mobility, this variation is great for grip and posterior chain strength. A less common variation, the snatch grip provides great muscle results for those who dare.
The stiff leg deadlift, also known as the straight-leg deadlift is another deadlift variation that works wonders on the posterior chain. It is an entirely different option from the conventional deadlift as it changes the starting position, leg posture, and range of motion. The major difference is the degree of knee flexion throughout the exercise.
To do the stiff leg deadlift:
Many gym enthusiasts steer clear of the touch n go deadlift, leaving this variation for the tough guys and seasoned powerlifters. This variation is a fun way to increase muscle hypertrophy, explosive power, and grip strength.The Touch n go variation movement is in its name; instead of resetting each rep by dropping the barbell to the floor, you slightly tap the floor with the barbell and repeat.
To do the touch and go variation:
If you are in the mood for a bit of a challenge, the Single-Leg RDL is no doubt a staple on the “deadlift exercises you should do” list. This variation is a unilateral exercise that activates the muscles of the entire posterior chain. While it might be tricky to balance on one leg and keep the proper form, the SLRDL allows you to target one side of your body at a time.
To do the Single-leg barbell RDL:
While the Single-leg RDL is a great way to gain killer calves and firmer glutes, it requires stability and upper body strength. This makes it difficult for noobs to perform.
This is a deadlift variation performed on an elevated surface. The deficit deadlift is an advanced option not every gym goer is privy to.The deficit deadlift provides increased leg strength, better pulling strength, greater posterior chain strength, and better force production. The elevation empowers you with an increased range of motion and improved time under tension. This variation engages the same muscle groups as the conventional deadlift but provides better lats activation, hip flexion, and lower back strength.
To perform this deadlift:
The best deadlift variation for your workout routine depends on your fitness goals. Are you looking to have boulder-like shoulders and bigger arms? Or are you more interested in working your lower body to strengthen your hamstrings and the muscles in your thighs?There are many variations tailored to suit your workout needs.
These variations can be made even more challenging by using resistance bands and weighted vests. Regardless of your choice of workout, it is important to listen to your body, stock up on your macros, and incorporate the ULTIMATE MASS STACK for increased muscle hypertrophy and muscle fullness.