After Barbell Squat, Deadlift is undoubtedly the greatest strength building as well as overall muscle building compound exercise & majority of the gym-goer or athlete in rookie and pro level perform this movement in their workout sessions but due to multiple reasons, many people find the standard or Conventional Deadlift either difficult or habituated.
Beginners often find the deadlift difficult as they perform this with poor form that might lead to severe injuries. On the other hand, advanced lifters or bodybuilders find the standard form of deadlift habituated enough which is a proof that they might need advanced level lifting movement for better progress.
But now, it doesn’t matter whether you are a newbie or an elite because here we are with top 8 best deadlift variations in which some are for the beginners so that they can learn the proper form & get enough strength to start the conventional one and some variations are for elites who want to take their lifting goals to the next level. Let’s discuss about these 8 best Deadlift Variations in detail.
Sumo Deadlift is a unique still one of the most popular Deadlift variations that you can add in your lower body workout routine for gaining size and strength in the glutes, hams & in the quads. As Sumo Deadlift is performed by placing your hips extra-wide, this exercise fully emphasises on the lower body muscles rather than lower back.
Sure, your shoulders & traps will also get tension while doing Sumo Deadlift but as this deadlift variation is the specialist for lower body, you have to focus the tension on the lower body muscles while doing this strength movement. Start with moderate weight and focus on the proper form, mobility & your muscles under tension. Balance is the most important part while performing this deadlift variation.
If you’re a newbie to the strength training department & want to learn the deadlift, you have to practice proper form & mobility first. To do that, Kettlebell Deadlift is ideal. You have to just hold a kettlebell with your both hands & pull it off the floor in correct form just like the picture below.
Surely, practicing Kettlebell Deadlift is not going to provide you huge muscles or great strength like most other deadlift variations do, rather as a beginner, you will learn the proper form as well as mobility so that after few months of practicing this movement, you can switch to Conventional or other variations of Deadlifts without any mistake or poor form.
N.B. You can also use a dumbbell instead of a kettlebell.
If you have already challenged your back muscles enough by doing Conventional Deadlifts then maybe, you should try Deficit Deadlifts in which you have to stand on a slightly higher ground (on a small box or short bench) but your barbell must be placed on the floor so that the range of motion will be greater and the distance between the weight & the ground will be higher.
Thus, Deficit Deadlift is the next level deadlift variation that is quite enough to challenge your back muscles if you are an elite athlete and habituated with standard one. Try to lower your body & the barbell as close as possible to the floor to utilise the longer range of motion. Although you can’t lift as much weight as you can in Conventional Deadlift, you can still build great strength & size in your overall back from traps to calves with this even more challenging strength building movement.
After the Conventional Deadlift, Romanian Deadlift or in short, RDL is the most popular deadlift variation & you most probably have heard or tried this effective movement. Unlike the standard one, Romanian Deadlift focuses on your glutes & hams more than your lower back because you don’t have to make the bar touch the floor in every rep.
If you want to build really strong & muscular glute and hamstring, you have to switch your deadlift variation from conventional to romanian. Keep in mind, while deadlifting in romanian form, your focus of mind should be in the glutes & hams, not in the lower back definitely!
Just like Kettlebell Deadlift, Dumbbell Deadlift is also a very good deadlift variation for novice athletes that helps to improve mobility, form & balance in both side of your body. Grab two medium size dumbbells of your preference to start the movement.
While deadlifting, try to focus on the form & your balance so that after few months of practicing Dumbbell Deadlift, you can switch to Barbell Deadlift without any imbalance or poor form. Dumbbell Deadlift is much better when it comes to increase your strength & lifting abilities than Kettlebell Deadlift.
Block Deadlift/Rack Pull
Block Deadlift or Block Pull or popularly known as Rack Pull is undoubtedly one of the most popular & effective Deadlift variations out there. This is kind of opposite from the Deficit Deadlift thus, it is much easier deadlift variation than the previous one & the standard one.
You have elevate your bar on blocks or rack pins to create partial or shorter range of motion. This will allow you to lift more weight obviously. Additionally, Rack Pulls are the specialist for building a strong lower back & muscular glutes. Moreover, Rack Pulls or Block Pulls will pave your way for lifting more weight with proper form in Conventional Deadlift. Anyway, whether you are a beginner or an advanced lifter, you should add this partial deadlift variation in your routine.
Snatch Grip Deadlift
Snatch Grip Deadlift or SG Deadlift is another very advanced deadlift variation recommended only for elite athletes & weightlifters. If you want to build wide lats & big traps then you should add this deadlift variation in your workout sessions.
In this variation, you have to use extra-wide grip to perform the deadlift so your back (especially the lats) & traps will be under much more tension compared to other variations. You will feel the longer range of motion in this deadlift which is another reason why this is a challenging lifting movement. The interesting thing is, Snatch Grip Deadlift is quite opposite from Sumo Deadlift in terms of grip, isn’t it?
Trap Bar Deadlift
Trap Bar Deadlift is nothing but using a Trap bar instead of a barbell. In short, this is an easier version of deadlift than the other deadlift variations because while deadlifting using the trap bar, you have to stand in the middle of the weight so you can lift the same weight with less effort.
With the help of trap bar, you can do almost every type of barbell deadlift variation but with more ease so if you are a beginner & want to master any deadlift form, you can practice that particular form using trap bar first then go for barbell versions.
So, What Deadlift Variation is Best for You?!
Therefore, in a nutshell, if you are a beginner & find the standard Deadlift difficult, you should practice with one of these deadlift variations: Kettlebell Deadlift, Dumbbell Deadlift, Trap Bar Deadlift & Rack Pulls. Practising these movements for few months will improve your form, strength & mobility so that you can perform the conventional one without any mistake.
On the contrary, if you are an advanced lifter & want to challenge your lifting abilities in order to go to the next level then you should try one of these deadlift variations: Sumo Deadlift, Romanian Deadlift, Deficit Deadlift & Snatch Grip Deadlift. So, now you have understood what variation will be most suitable for you. Anyway, if you really find this article helpful then don’t hesitate to express your valuable thoughts in the comment section below. Thanks for visiting & appreciating our work.