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Deadlift Alternatives

Posted on Sep 2, 20

A traditional deadlift is a great way to build muscle and melt fat. It engages major muscle groups and serves as a foundation for strength. There some people who have limiting physical factors that make this exercise extremely hard. It is estimated that 10 to 20 percent of the population struggles with this lift, but there are alternative movements you can do to still build your strength in the same fashion.


  • Barbell Rack Pull. This is mimicking the mechanics of deadlifting from the floor without doing the first part of the movement (which can be problematic). To do this you set up blocks or use a rack, so the bar is at mid-shin height. You start by bending at your hips and knees, grabbing the bar with your hands outside your legs. Stand up as your thrust your hips forward and pull the bar upward close to your body from the blocks or the floor.
  • Farmer’s Carry. Here you target your grip, upper back and core without putting force on your lower back. For this exercise you grab a heavy set of dumbbells or kettlebells and walk slowly keeping your core engaged and your chest up.
  • Barbell Hip Trust. When doing this exercise, you place a huge load on your glutes and hamstrings with less stress on your lower back which happens in a deadlift. You begin this by sitting on the floor with your back against a bench and a heavy barbell across your hips Grip the bar, bend your knees keep your feet flat on floor under your knees. Thrust your hips up and squeeze your glutes then slowly lower the back down.
  • Single- Leg Dumbbell Romanian Deadlift. This will challenge your posterior chain without the stress of heavy weight. Start by holding a heavy dumbbell in each hand and shift your weight to your left foot. Hinge from your hip until the dumbbell comes close to the floor, keeping your right leg in line with your torso and your right foot pointed toward the floor. Also be sure to keep a neutral spine throughout the movement.


Adding these exercises once a week will build the strength you might be missing if you can’t deadlift. Remembering that just because you might have limitations doesn’t mean you still build a strong body!

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