8 Most Effective and Safe Deadlift Alternatives

Did you know that deadlift is arguably the king of mass builders? Well, this is because this exercise targets the entire posterior chain.

If you wish to start doing exercises, you can consider a conventional deadlift. There are also various effective deadlift alternatives if deadlift is not your option.

Why Deadlift Exercise?

I know you might ask yourself why deadlift and not other exercises. There are many benefits attained by doing deadlifts. One of them is that they are the secret sauce to improving athletic performance. If you wish to train the whole posterior chain, this is for you.

When doing a traditional deadlift, you involve many muscle groups. There are various deadlift alternatives that you can do. Yet, it is not a walk in the park.

Deadlifts play a vital role in bodybuilding. Depending on the program, you can use the deadlifts to build muscle mass and power. But, if you are not in good form, do not do a deadlift.

8 Most Effective Deadlift Alternatives

Deadlifts are effective but not practical for everyone. That is due to various questionable reasons. If you have a pre-existing injury, this exercise is not fit for you. But, this does not mean you cannot hit the same muscle groups without doing deadlifts.

If you are looking for the best deadlifts alternatives, you are in the right place. Below are the most effective and safe deadlift alternatives.

1. Trap Bar Deadlift

Trap bar exercise is one of the safest deadlift alternatives. It allows you to keep the weight closer to your body and create a shear force on your back. Trap bars are usually a few inches higher off the ground as compared to straight bars.

While doing this exercise, you hit most of the matching muscles, putting less stress on your lower back. Unlike the traditional deadlift trap bar, the weight is in line with your center of gravity. That is a good alternative if you have back pains that prevent you from doing regular deadlifts.

Steps of doing the exercise

  • Stand inside your bar, so the weight is in line with your center of gravity.
  • Bend your knees, squat down and grasp the handles on either side.
  • Drop your hips, lift your chest, and support your abs tight without rounding your lower back
  • Keep your arms straight and stand up. Initiate the movement in your hips and squeeze your glutes upmost.
  • Flex your legs, lower the weight back to the floor, and repeat.

Ensure you complete three sets of 10–12 reps.

2. Barbell hip thrust

Barbell hip thrust is comparable to regular deadlifts. That is because you go through the same range of motion. The difference between the two is how you load them and sticking points. Barbell hip thrust helps in training the posterior chain.

If you are asking why this alternative, I have you covered. The exercise helps you target the hamstrings and glutes with more rebellion. But, there is a very little lower back implication.

Steps to follow

  • Sit on the floor and bend your legs bent and a barbell past your hips. You should bend your knees and lay your feet on the floor.
  • Weigh the bench down to stop it from moving during your workout.
  • Drive your feet down into the floor and wind your hips regarding the sky. Keep your bowels engaged and press the glutes.
  • Maintain the contraction for 1-2 seconds and lower your butt back down to the floor. Repeat.

Complete three sets of 8–10 reps, and increase your load by 20 or 25 pounds.

3. Single-leg Romanian Deadlifts

A single-leg Romanian helps to develop your balance and strengthen your posterior chain. The exercise is a variation of Romanian deadlift, and you only use one leg while exercising. You do not need any exercise equipment to perform it.

Exercise Single-leg Romanian Deadlifts

  1. Stand tall and tight with your feet angled slightly outward
  2. Change your weight and place it on your left leg.
  3. Hinge forward on your left leg
  4. Lean forward, reach down and touch the floor with your fingertips. Do not bend your knees.
  5. Your back should stay straight throughout.
  6. Push your non-weight-bearing leg out behind you for balance.
  7. Stand back up and repeat the process.
  8. Do the same number of reps on each leg.

4. Glute-Ham Raise

The glute-ham raise is a posterior-chain exercise that focuses on the hamstrings. The exercise involving glutes is unique since it works by challenging the hamstrings. You can do this exercise after doing all your compound lifts and increasing your hamstring size and strength.

Glute harm plays a vital role in halting hamstring and ACL injuries from occurring. It also helps improve posture by strengthening the posterior chain muscles.

Steps you should follow

  • Go to a glute-ham raise apparatus. Press your feet against the metal base and your knees resting on the pads.
  • Put your hands on the big pad to push your body up until it is vertical.
  • Descend your torso forward until you parallel to the floor.
  • Extend your hips and contract your hamstrings and glutes to return your body to the first position. Ensure your heels rise off the plate.
  • Repeat the process.

5. The Sumo Deadlift

Sumo deadlifts are like conventional deadlifts. The only difference is that you set up with a much wider stance for Sumo deadlift. That allows you to keep a more upright torso and takes stress off your lumbar region.

How to exercise

  • Position yourself directly in the center of the barbell.
  • Pre-tension your shoulders, hips, and core. Bend toward the barbell
  • Drive your hips, lift your chest, brace your abs, and straighten your arms
  • Take the barbell with an overhead grip and hold your back muscles
  • Propel your feet into the floor and, without bending your arms or rounding your lumbar region, stand upright.
  • Do not lean backward.
  • Allow your hips and knees to bend to lower the barbell back toward the floor.
  • Reset your starting position and repeat.

6. Snatch-Grip Deadlift

Do you wish to broaden your upper back? Snatch-Grip is a suitable deadlift alternative for your upper body. It works by placing the focus on lats, traps, and rhomboids. If you do it with a controlled eccentric, it is a great muscle builder.

Ensure you perform this as an assistant exercise for higher reps or the first lift on a strength day. You can also use lighter weight, so it’s easier on your joints and spine.

Steps for the exercise

  • Stand up with feet shoulder-width apart in front of a loaded barbell.
  • Drive your hips back until you’re almost in a full squat position
  • Move out of the squat position while holding the bar.
  • Draw the bar up and drive your hips forward to lift the bar off of the floor.
  • Retain your back straight and your arms extended throughout the movement
  • Put down the bar back down to the starting position. Repeat.

7. Kettlebell swings

Kettlebell swings exercise the same muscles but in a much more explosive way. They develop your muscle power as well as strength. If your main focus is fat-burning, swings are the best deadlift alternative. The good thing is that you can also perform the technique with a single dumbbell.

Swings help to improve power, balance, core strength, and stability. They are also suitable for training at home since they do not need a lot of space.

Performing kettlebell swings:

  • Position a kettlebell on the floor slightly before you and curve your knees slightly.
  • Thrust your hips back and lean your torso forward.
  • Go ahead and lower the weight between your knees.
  • Drive your legs and push your hips forward. Let the weight swing and extend your arms to aim it to the chest height.
  • Load the glutes and hamstring while you shift the weight.
  • Swing the kettlebell back down between your legs. Ensure you drive through your hips and heels. Redo.

Complete three sets of 8–10 reps on every leg.

8. Good Mornings

The good-morning exercise engages the lower back muscles, glutes, and hamstrings. It is very popular with powerlifters. Good morning does not need you to grip the barbell with your hands like in the deadlifts.

While doing this exercise, ensure you know how to stabilize your back before adding good mornings to your routine. Do it in good form to avoid damaging your spine.

How to exercise

  1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart and place a bar over your shoulders
  2. Bend at the hips while exhaling.
  3. Maintain your knees slightly bent and you’re back straight.
  4. Squeeze your elbows back and open your chest.
  5. From this position, push your hips backward and then drive your hips forward.
  6. Do not round your lower back.
  7. Inhale and return to the initial position.


If you want to work your glutes, core, lower back, hamstrings, or full-body, then deadlift is the real deal. But, there are cases where it may be unsuitable despite being the king of all exercises.

There are different programs based on your needs. Every exercise is effective and safe to get fit and build muscles when deadlifts are not your option.

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