THE DEADLIFT IS AN AMAZING COMPOUND EXERCISE WHEN PERFORMED CORRECTLY…..But have you been doing the correct variation for your current strength, mobility and ability?

When we Deadlift we use a movement called the hip hinge. When you hinge you flex your hips, to push them back and extend them to bring them forward helping to recruit your glutes. This is used in everyday movements, getting up, sitting down and manual handling. It works so many muscle groups and helps to get the under active areas (which really shouldn’t be under active) working.

Due to the high demand placed on your whole body, the deadlift will make you stronger and due to the amount of muscles recruited you will burn more calories in a shorter period of time than isolation exercises. The main issue with Deadlifts is that people do them incorrectly which leads to injury.




  • Stand with your feet around hip width.
  • Bar should be over mid foot. Shins should not be touching yet.
  • Grip the bar narrow with straight legs.
  • Move your hips down, keep chest up and back flat – your shins will come forward until they touch the bar.
  • This is the final starting position of the deadlift.


  • Use normal grip first and hold the bar low in the hands and lock your elbows.
  • Head in line with torso, don’t look up.
  • Keep shoulders in front of the bar and lower back neutral.
  • Lift your chest up, take a deep breath and keep your entire back and core tight. Drive through your heels and pull. – Push the floor away, keeping the bar close to your body.
  • All of your weight should be on your heels and mid foot.
  • During the movement, your entire body should move upwards at the same speed. – No bum rising faster than chest
  • Keep the bar in contact with your body- Drag it over your shins, knees and thighs to lockout.
  • Squeeze your glutes as you pull. – Push your feet through the floor and squeeze your glutes.
  • Stand tall with locked hips and knees.


  • Move your hips first then bend your knees. – Lower the bar by pushing your hips back first. Once the bar has passed your knees, bend them
  • Don’t lose tightness until you let go of the bar.

So this is how to deadlift with a barbell, using other variations the movement is much the same but with some adjustments depending on the equipment. If the barbell isn’t comfortable, you are a beginner or looking to challenge your body with a new variation then the following may suit you better.

THE KETTLEBELL DEADLIFT- This movement is the same as the deadlift, however the kettlebell is used instead of the barbell. Put your kettlebell between your legs and stand with feet around shoulder width apart.
Anchor your resistance band to a rig or stable item. Step over the band and walk away with it between your legs. Start from the hinge position with slightly bent knees then drive your hips forward and through contracting glutes at the top of the movement. Pause and contract then return to the start.
THE TRAP BAR DEADLIFT- Using a trap bar means you are situated inside of the weight and this gives you a more centralised lifting position. Your trapezius and quadriceps will become more dominant from the loading position. This positioning is great if you have any shoulder issues or rounded shoulders and can help correct internal rotation of the shoulders. This is also a great variation when focusing on explosive and speed work.
THE SUMO DEADLIFT- Much the same as the Conventional Barbell Deadlift in set up, it is the feet position that change I this movement. Rather than having the feet around hip to shoulder width, the stance is much wider adopting to wider than shoulder width. As a result your hands will now be placed inside your legs and you can hold the bar with them closer together. This is especially popular in powerlifting as the bar has less distance to travel due to the legs being wider and hands being closer. When it comes to choosing between sumo and conventional there is not a huge amount of difference to advantages or disadvantages so choose the style you feel most comfortable with.

While I have included 4 variations to the conventional deadlift, there are many more and you can even do Single leg variations with dumbbells or kettlebells. As always if you have any questions about the variations discussed or if you want to improve on your deadlift, give us a shout! We offer FREE personalised programming as part of your membership and can book you in for a TECHNIQUE session to solely focus on lifting, moving and correctly adapting exercises you struggle with.
REMEMBER At future Fitness we are more than just a gym, so let us help you get the most out of your membership!