The Deadlift is a technical movement and one that can be…well…scary!

But there are ways to break down the exercise and perfect that hip hinge movement even if you, or your client, is just starting out!

So what does the Deadlift work?

The Deadlift will work your entire backside – your upper back, lats, hamstrings and glutes. It will also work your abs.

But too often people ONLY feel their lower back working, which can lead to overload and injury. It’s why sometimes the Deadlift can be considered a “dangerous” move.

And that’s why it is key we first really learn how to perform the Deadlift hip hinge movement pattern correctly.

The hip hinge is a movement where you hinge or bend at the hips to push your butt back toward the wall behind you.

The key is really pushing your butt back so you can balance and load your glutes.

Your knees will be soft, but unlike a squat, you will not try to sink or lower your butt toward the ground. Bending your knees should NOT be your focus. The exact amount of knee bend you include will even vary based on the Deadlift variation you use.

While most often we see this exercise done with a barbell, that variation is more advanced than we give it credit for.

So if you, or your client, is just starting out and trying to learn how to properly hinge at the hips to load the glutes, you may not want to jump right into using the barbell.

Instead using a tool like a kettlebell (dumbbells work too) or band can be a good place to start.

The kettlebell or dumbbells make it easier to focus on loading your glutes while still working your upper back, lats, abs and hamstrings without your weight shifting forward.

While the band allows you to break down the movement a bit and really focus on working your glutes using the hip hinge movement. This move is actually a great accessory exercise as well to include even as you advance (aka I use this even with many of my advanced lifters to strengthen their glutes!).

And if you’ve wanted to use the Single Leg Deadlift (either yourself or with your clients) to improve your balance and prevent injuries, but your balance is…well…not so good, the slider and 80/20 variations are great option.

Both of these give you a balance “assist” while still forcing each side to work independently.

But even though these may take out some of the balance challenge, they aren’t easy moves by any means and even advanced exercisers should include them as accessory exercises because they do allow you to potentially use heavier loads than the full unilateral or single leg variation.

So if you are just starting out, or training a client new to exercise, and want to use that amazing Deadlift movement, try these variations to start!

Make sure to watch the full video for more tips and coaching cues!

Want To Learn More To Really MASTER The Deadlift?

Check out my Mastery Series – Deadlift Edition!