The deadlift is one of few movements that work all major muscle groups in the body and depending on the variation and stance can work your lower back, hamstrings, glutes, calves, quads and even your upper back and arms, with major emphasis on the traps, spinal erectors, hips, glutes, and hamstrings. 

How it Works?

To develop a big deadlift, your plan should include multiple deadlift variations and accessory lifts to maximize your strength. This plan focuses on building strength in the hamstrings and glutes along with the rest of the body. It also helps to build core strength – a must-have to prevent injury when pulling heavy weight.

You must perform the following workouts once per week with at least a day of rest in between. 60 minutes time needed. Must rest 2-3 minutes between sets for the main exercise and 90 seconds between the accessory lifts.

Like many exercises, there is more than one type and variation of the deadlift and ultimately. It is up to you to make the decision of which deadlift is your favourite and most suited to your goals, strengths, and weaknesses that make you super strong. 

Here’s The Deal:

1. Rack Pulls

Rack Pulls are essentially just a conventional deadlift with the bar raised slightly off the floor. For those who prefer conventional deadlifts but don’t have the mobility to pull from the floor with good technique, this is a good option. Adjust the pins in the power rack to the point where you can pull with a flat back.

Rack pulls are also a great exercise to build up the upper back and traps, as they allow you to use more weight than you’d otherwise be able to pull from the floor.

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2. Sumo Deadlift

Sumo deadlifts allow you to maintain a more upright torso and put more stress on the legs, particularly the glutes and quads. They can feel awkward at first you’ve never done them, but most people find that it’s easier to pull with a flat back as compared to conventional deadlifts once they get the hang of the movement.

3. Trap Bar Deadlift

The trap bar deadlift is another great option that takes stress off of the lower back and puts it onto the legs. In fact, the trap bar deadlift acts as a hybrid between traditional squats and deadlifts, giving you the best of both worlds.

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While most deadlift variations focus more on the posterior chain, trap bar deadlifts work the quads to a high degree as well. Unfortunately, not all gyms will have the trap bar available, but if you’re lucky enough to have one, take advantage of it.

4. Romanian Deadlift

Romanian deadlifts (RDLs) put a greater emphasis on the hamstrings and glutes so if you’re zeroing in on those areas. RDLs are a good choice. They’re also a great option for people with knee issues who want to get the benefits of deadlifts but find that most variations bother their knees.

You can do RDLs with a barbell, dumbbells, or kettlebells. As an aside, stiff leg deadlifts are unnecessarily risky on the lower back when you could just do RDLs and get the same benefit at a fraction of the risk.

5. Kettlebell Sumo Deadlift

Kettlebell sumo deadlifts are another great option. While its name implies that it would be similar to a sumo deadlift, the movement actually resembles more a trap bar deadlift motion, almost like a squat with the weight in your hands. Because the weight is lighter and the movement allows you to maintain more of an upright torso, these are great for people with lower back issues who don’t tolerate barbell deadlifts well.

This can be a great exercise to start with as a way to progress to heavier barbell deadlift variations or as an exercise for more advanced lifters looking to do some higher rep work near the end of a workout. 

6. The Low-Down on Deadlifts

If you’ve given up on deadlifts because they just don’t feel right, it could just be that you haven’t found the best variation for your body. Experiment and see what works best. There’s also no rule saying you can’t use more than one variation, so don’t limit yourself.

What’s the Bottomline?

Right now, which deadlifts variation is the best for you? The best deadlift ultimately depends on which movements you can perform with the best form and a neutral spine.

For beginners, the best deadlift to start with is the Romanian deadlift. Once mastered the trap or hex bar deadlift is the next stage up, whereby the structure of the bar and high handles can allow you to master the deadlifting form, whilst minimising motion demands and a likelihood of injury.

Performing the deadlift can be simple once you’ve mastered the correct stance and form, however, this is not an exercise to be taken lightly, whereby it is just as easy to suffer injuries.

To avoid injury and mistakes you need to make sure you have the correct deadlifting form down to a T. To do this practice both without a bar and with a standard bar on it own. Once mastered make sure you progress steadily with weight- lifting to a heavy too soon is a recipe for disaster.

Sources: Deadlifts For Beginners | Mix Up & Master the Deadlift with these 7 Deadlift Variations 6 WEEKS TO A BIG-NUMBER DEADLIFT THE 5 BEST DEADLIFT VARIATIONS The Deadlift