Moving a mass outside the gym requires resiliency—the capacity to tolerate the unique demands of everyday tasks. Whether we’re picking up a child, lifting furniture or simply grabbing our clothes off the floor, we need variable deadlifts and deadshifts to train our bodies to become more resilient.
Look for ways to add these sample deadlifts and deadshifts below to your training programs. Your body, your clients and your baby will thank you.
Kettlebell Long-Stance Deadlift
Setup: Assume long split stance. Place kettlebell in front of lead leg.
Execution/cues: Maintaining tall spine, bear weight onto lead leg while bending through hips. Lift kettlebell to chest height as you return to starting position before placing kettlebell back on ground.
Benefits: tensile strength through anterior/posterior compartments of hip (glute on lead leg and hip flexors on trail leg); sagittal-plane positional strength and starting strength with trunk stabilization
Regression: Shorten stance or elevate kettlebell to knee height.
Half-Kneel Windmill Deadlift
Setup: Assume tall half-kneeling stance with dumb-bell on floor, medial to lead leg, in line with hips.
Execution/cues: Maintaining a tall spine, laterally bend through the hips to pick up the weight with one hand while purposely driving the other hand away in the opposite direction. Drive through the floor and stand up to a neutral posture, lifting the mass to hip height. Slowly return the mass and your body back to the starting position.
Benefits: tensile strength through lateral compartments of hip and trunk (gluteal medius, obliques); frontal-plane positional strength and starting strength with trunk stabilization
Regression: Start with dumbbell closer to body.
ViPR PRO® Deadlift
Setup: Assume athletic stance with ViPR PRO on its end in front of body. Using on-tube grip, grab equipment as low as can be controlled.
Execution/cues: Using squat pattern, lift ViPR PRO off ground, keeping the equipment vertical while driving it overhead. With control, bring it back down to ground.
Benefits: starting strength (and a great way to introduce deadlifting to clients who have trouble bending)
Regression: Grab ViPR PRO near its top.
Goblet Get-Up Deadlift
Setup: Assume kneeling posture, sitting on top of feet, with kettlebell resting in front of knees.
Execution/cues: Bow forward, maintaining tall spine to pick up kettlebell at chest height in goblet position. In one movement, transition to half-kneeling posture to stand up. Reverse motion to starting position and be sure to alternate legs with each rep.
Benefits: starting strength to get off ground to standing position
Regression: Place kettlebell on step or small box.
Dumbbell Transverse Sumo Deadlift
Setup: Assume wide stance with feet externally rotated (about 45 degrees) and dumbbell between legs.
Execution/cues: Squat and bend down to grab dumbbell with one hand. While lifting dumbbell off ground, step trail foot to meet lead leg, resulting in 45-degree turn. Reverse motion to starting position and switch sides.
Benefits: starting strength through adductors and pelvic floor.
Regression: Place dumbbell on step/box.
See also: Upgraded Movement Preparation
Wide-Stance Bent-Over Deadshift
Setup: Assume wide stance with free weight just in front of right leg.
Execution/cues: Maintaining tall spine, transfer body weight onto right leg by shifting pelvis over right foot while maintaining length in trail leg. Reach across body with left arm to pick up weight. Staying low, transfer body weight to opposite side while shifting mass low to ground until it reaches left leg. Place weight down, then grab it with right arm and shift back to right side, repeating this maneuver until you achieve desired rep range.
Benefits: tensile strength of adductors, pelvic floor and glutes; positional and starting strength in frontal plane; mastery of bent-over posture
Regression: Allow trail leg to bend.
Rotational Pivot Lunge Deadshift
Setup: Place mass on box/step that is knee or hip height. Assume split-stance position next to box/step lateral to lead hip.
Execution/cues: Rotate over lead leg so that trunk faces mass. Pick up mass and then lunge forward with trail leg while shifting mass across body to other side. Return to starting position.
Benefits: tensile strength through hips and obliques; transverse-plane positional and starting strength, core strength and stability
Regression: Keep mass closer to midline.
Single-Leg Romanian Deadshift
Setup: Assume single-leg balance position and place dumbbell in front of stance leg.
Execution/cues: Maintaining tall spine, hinge through hip to pick up dumbbell with opposite arm. Perform lateral lunge while lifting dumbbell to shoulder height. Step back to neutral stance and slowly bring back weight to its starting position using squat pattern before beginning next rep.
Benefits: tensile strength through adductors and pelvic floor; balance and coordination
Regression: Lift dumbbell to hip height or add extra support if balance is an issue.
Medicine Ball Bounding Deadshift
Setup: Assume split stance with medicine ball lateral to lead leg.
Execution/cue: In one fluid motion, pick up ball while explosively bounding forward and shifting mass forward at chest height. Slowly return to starting position before beginning next rep.
Benefits: starting power and acceleration
Regression: Lunge instead of bounding forward.
See also: Variable Deadlifts and Deadshifts
Our most sincere thanks to George-Anthony Dulal-Whiteway, founder and head coach at Brainstorm Fitness in San Diego, for hosting and modeling deadlifts and deadshifts for this shoot at his gym. Many thanks also to Evelyn Valdes, who modeled for us, as well. You both make it look easy!
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