August 21, 2021 10 min read
It's no secret that we at Steel Supplements love the traditional deadlift. It's perhaps the best strength training exercise for building muscle mass, strength, and power all at once. Not only that, but it targets almost all of the muscle groups in your posterior chain, including the shoulders, back, glutes, and legs.
However, there may be instances where the deadlift is not the best exercise for you, including if you have back pain. If this is the case for you, you can exchange your regular deadlift for an effective deadlift alternative! To help you get started, we are sharing our top ten favorite deadlift alternatives!
These exercises make great alternatives because they have almost all of the same benefits as the OG deadlift. At the same time, they can help you avoid back pain caused by regular deadlifts.
Cancel your conventional deadlift and replace it with one of these ten best deadlift alternatives to avoid pain!
There are countless different kettlebell exercises, and the kettlebell swing is one of the most popular! It’s also a fantastic deadlift alternative exercise.
Swings are similar to deadlifts in two particular ways, including:
At the same time, kettlebells are significantly lighter than heavy barbells. Therefore, if you struggle with pain due to the weight of barbells, then kettlebell swings are ideal for you! Choose a kettlebell between 50 and 60% of your max load to go easy on your back.
Here is how to do the kettlebell swing with proper form:
Don't stop at kettlebell swings!
Check out our complete guide to the ten best kettlebell exercises.
Many of them, in addition to the swing, make great barbell deadlift alternatives!
We love cable machine exercises! If you want a deadlifting alternative that initiates hypertrophy very well, then give the cable pull-through a try! Cable machine exercises are excellent for hypertrophy because they put constant tension on your muscles.
The longer your muscles are under tension, the sooner you should see muscle growth! Moreover, if you want to see posterior chain gains ASAP, then give cable pull-throughs a try!
Here is how to do cable pull-throughs with proper form:
Barbell hip thrusts primarily target the lower body posterior chain muscles. More specifically, they target the gluteal muscles, including the gluteus medius and gluteus maximus.
The glutes are commonly neglected muscles. However, if you want to improve your deadlifts, you must have strong glutes!
Not only will having glutes of steel improve your deadlift performance but they will also:
Here is how to do the barbell hip thrust with proper form:
Love doing barbell hip thrusts but can’t make it to the gym? No problem! Glute bridges are an excellent alternative to barbell hip thrusts. They target the same muscles but require no equipment.
If you want to take things a step further, you can put together an entire glute bridge workout that includes:
Here is how to do glute bridges with proper form:
Is one side of your body stronger than the other? Or, are you experiencing pain in one side of your body and not the other? If so, then we suggest trying single-leg Romanian deadlifts (RDLs) to strengthen your weaker side or avoid pain!
RDLs are a deadlift variation that splits your body into two. Instead of working the entirety of your posterior chain muscles at once, they work on only half of them at a time. That way, you can either strengthen your weaker side or avoid the side of the body causing you pain, but still get a great workout!
Here is how to do the single-leg RDL with proper form:
Resistance band deadlifts are significantly easier on the joints than regular deadlifts. Lifters struggling with arthritis, herniated disks, or severe back pain should opt for banded deadlifts!
Not only do resistance band deadlifts take pressure off of your joints, but they also do an excellent job at targeting your stabilizer muscles. Stabilizer muscles are those that keep your body upright and in good alignment. They include the core muscles in your midsection and lower back.
Here is how to do resistance band deadlifts with proper form:
Bulgarian split squats are a deadlift variation that targets all of your major leg muscles, including the hamstrings, quads, and calves. Each of these muscles gets worked during conventional deadlifts.
While the split squat fires up the same leg muscles as the deadlift, it does not work any of the same upper body muscles. Therefore, if you want a deadlift alternative that won’t aggravate any upper body pains, then give the split squat a try!
Here is how to do the Bulgarian split squat with proper form:
Do you feel pain in your hips or lower back when doing regular deadlifts? If so, then we highly suggest giving the trap bar deadlift a try!Trap bar deadlifts have all of the same benefits as the conventional deadlift.
However, the trap bar helps take tension off your hips and back by shortening the distance between the weight plates and your body. With less space between you and the weights, your hips and back have more balance and are relieved of their pain.
Here is how to do the trap bar deadlift with proper form:
Good mornings do a great job at firing up your spinal erectors, a set of back muscles active during regular deadlifts. The spinal erectors are a group of back muscles that run up and down the entire length of the spine. When they are weak, many lifters experience back pain and find it challenging to rotate their spine.
If you are one of those people with painful and weak erectors, try the good morning deadlift alternative!While we know that good mornings are excellent for your back muscles, we are still unsure why they are called good mornings.
Here is how to do good mornings with proper form:
When you do a deadlift, does your lower back start to hurt as you hinge your upper body forward? If so, then try doing rack pulls!With rack pulls, the barbell starts higher up on power rack pins instead of on the floor. That way, you don’t have to hinge all the way forward when lowering the barbell in between reps or picking it up.
Rack pulls are also very popular in bodybuilding for improving sticking points. Therefore, if you want a deadlift variation that avoids pain and puts you in the bodybuilder leagues, then look no further than rack pulls!
Here is how to do rack pulls with proper form:
You no longer need to avoid deadlifts altogether to avoid pain! Just opt for one of our top ten deadlift alternatives. You will get almost all of the same benefits as you would doing regular deadlifts, but keep pain at bay. The deadlift is the king exercise! Don’t let pain get in the way of you doing them!
Bonus tip: Looking for more exercises that fire up your posterior chain muscles? If so, check out our top ten upper back exercises for size and strength!