Deadlifts are a staple in my programs.

Why wouldn’t they be? They are an awesome exercise with so many benefits.

I like using all variations of the deadlift, including the conventional, sumo, trap bar, and kettlebell deadlifts.

With clients who are a new to training, I like to use the kettlebell deadlift. This is a great variation, it helps ingrain the hip hinge pattern and it isn’t as complicated of a movement.

The kettlebell deadlift is just like a regular deadlift, but you don’t have a heavy barbell out in front of you, that you have to fight from pulling you forward.

This variation makes it easier to remain in control of the weight. You maintain that control by focusing on keeping your body in proper alignment, a neutral spine, and loading your hips. Learning to the load your hips properly by hinging is very important to keeping that neutral posture.

Lets go over the video below. Here we have the kettlebell deadlift from the front position.

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In the video, you should notice three things.

  1. You can always see my chest. One of the main cues I give is to make sure the logo on your chest is showing. I obviously didn’t do a good job of wearing a shirt with a logo to give you a go good example.
  2. I pull my shoulders back. A good cue is to think about is squeezing baseballs between your armpits and keeping them from falling. Doing this it will help keep the weight back and keep the weight from pulling you forward.
  3. I keep my neck packed. Try to make a double chin, by doing this you will be maintain a neutral posture and keep your neck from going into extension.

Now lets go over the side view.

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I want you to look at the following 3 things:

  1. I am hinging my hips. I tell people to think about touching their butt to the wall behind you. By doing this we are properly loading our hips, putting them in the best position to pull from.
  2. The next thing to look at is my back angle; from my butt to the top of head my spine is in alignment. We want to stay in neutral position from start to finish. Doing so will put us in the safest position to pull from.
  3. When I go to start the movement, I think of leading with my chest. After I have started with my chest, the rest of the movement is the opposite of what I did to load my hips. Instead of pushing my hips back, I pulling my hips forward, squeezing my glutes as hard as I can.

The actions in a kettlebell deadlift are the same as in your regular deadlifts, but is a little more beginner friendly.

When doing these, I like to raise the kettlebell off the ground a little bit. Getting down to the kettlebell on the floor is a long range of motion, so putting it on a bumper plate, or some pads will make it easier to get into position and will be closer to the starting position of a conventional deadlift.


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How To Implement

If you are training somebody that is just learning to deadlift you can use these as one of your first movements. To start, do a small amount of reps (4-6) to ensure that you are doing them properly. As your client improves, increase the weight of the kettlebell or increase the number of reps.

I also like using kettlebell deadlifts when I am conditioning a client because they are not as taxing or as demanding and thus will be easier to maintain form when you are getting tired.

Next time you are training try incorporating the kettlebell deadlift. Use them with someone who is new to lifting or might have mobility restrictions. Or use them with you veteran clients who are doing conditioning.

If you have any questions please let me know and if you liked this post please share!

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