If you want a strong, sexy back and great looking glutes, you need to include the deadlift in your workout routine.
Too many movements that we do work our frontside, creating poor posture, muscle imbalances and injuries. That is why the deadlift is such an important move to include. It strengthens your entire posterior chain - everything down your backside from your shoulders to your knees.
Try these 5 Deadlift Variations to work your backside!
1. Conventional Deadlift
The Conventional Deadlift is a great move to strengthen your back, glutes and hamstrings as well as you core. It can be done using a kettlebell, barbell, sandbag or even dumbbells.
To do the Conventional Deadlift using a barbell, stand with a barbell right up against your shins and your feet about hip-width to shoulder-width apart. Then hinge over and push your butt back as you bend your knees and lean over to grab the bar with your hands right outside your lower legs.
Keep your back flat and place tension on the bar with your arms hanging down straight. Then drive back through your heels to begin to pull the bar up off the ground. Come to a full stand and squeeze your glutes at the top.
Lower back down, sitting your butt back as you bend your knees and hinge over to lower the bar back down. Make sure that as you lift and lower the bar, you keep it close to your body. Drive through your heels as you lift and do not let the bar get away from your body.
Brace your core as you lift and make sure you keep your back flat and squeeze your glutes at the top.
2. Sumo Deadlift
The Sumo Deadlift is a great way to really target your inner thighs while also working your glutes, back and core.
To do the Sumo Deadlift using kettlebells, place a kettlebell back between your heels with your feet wider than shoulder-width apart and your toes slightly turned out. Bend your knees and sit your butt back as you hinge forward at the hips to grab the kettlebell in both hands. Keep your back flat and brace your core.
Driving through your heels, pull the kettlebell up off the ground and come up to standing. Keep your back flat as you lift the kettlebell up. Come up to standing nice and tall and squeeze your glutes at the top.
Then sit your butt back and hinge back over as you lower the kettlebell back down to the ground. Do not round your back as you lower the kettlebell back and down toward your heels. Keep your arms straight and do not bend them as you touch the kettlebell down.
Use two kettlebells or a heavier single bell to make the move more challenging.
3. Single Leg Deadlift
Isolate each leg and work your core even more with this Single Leg Deadlift variation.
To do the Single Leg Deadlift, hold a weight in each hand and shift your weight to stand on one foot with the other toe lightly touching the ground. Then begin to hinge over, pushing your butt back as you lean forward and keep your back flat. As you hinge over, lower the weights down toward the ground as you lift your raised leg back and up toward the wall behind you.
Do not let your back round out as you hinge over and lower the weights down. Keep your standing knee soft to help you push your butt back but do not turn this into a squat. Then drive through your standing heel to come back up to standing. Do not push off your other foot until fully standing. Feel your hamstring and glute work.
You can make this move even more core intensive by unilaterally loading it down with a weight on only one side.
4. Front-Loaded Straight Leg Deadlift
The Straight Leg Deadlift is a great exercise to really work your hamstrings and by front-loading the move, you can also really work your core.
To do the Front-Loaded Straight Leg Deadlift using a sandbag, hold the sandbag up at your chest with your arms wrapped around it and stand with your feet about hip-width apart. Then push your butt back and hinge over, keeping your back flat.
Keep your knees soft so that you can really push your butt back, but do not squat. Also, do not simply lean forward. Feel a stretch down your hamstrings as you push your butt back. Keep your core engaged as you keep the weight up at your chest.
Drive through your heels to come back up to standing and squeeze your glutes at the top. Do not let your low back take over as you repeat, hinging back over.
5. Unilaterally-Loaded Deadlift
To make any deadlift variation more challenging, you can unilaterally load the movement down aka you can hold a weight on only one side.
To do the Unilaterally-Loaded Conventional Deadlift, hold a weight in one hand down at your side like a briefcase. Stand nice and tall with your feet about hip-width to shoulder-width apart and then hinge over, sitting your butt back as you lean forward to lower the weight down to the ground. Bend your knees as you hinge over and keep your back flat.
Drop the weight down without allowing your body to rotate or lean. Don’t shift to one side. Your deadlift should look like you are holding weights in both hands.
Then drive straight back up to standing and squeeze your glutes at the top. Repeat, holding the weight on the same side until all reps are complete. Do not let your back round out as you lower down and make sure that you don’t lean or rotate.
Cori is the owner of Redefining Strength, a functional training facility in Orange County, California focused on helping each client find their strong. She started training and writing a fitness blog in 2011 because she wanted to empower people through diet and exercise so that they can lead healthier, happier lives.