6 Deadlift Variations Your Butt Will Thank You For

The deadlift is one of the best full-body exercises you can do. Many trainers would argue it’s THE best, because it’s the perfect example of a compound exercise, which means it forces you to use multiple muscle groups at once.

As a result, your workout becomes more efficient. You can also lift heavier weights, allowing you to really build strength, when you’re using several big, strong muscles.

Basic Stiff-Leg Deadlift

Basic Stiff-Leg Deadlift

Before getting fancy, master a basic deadlift like this one. Proper form here will make the fancier versions easier to nail and let you reap the muscle-building benefits without accidentally injuring yourself.

  • Stand with feet hip-width apart, knees slightly bent and a weight by each foot.
  • Hinge at your hips and bend your knees to lower your body.
  • Grab each weight with your arms straight.
  • Push your butt way back and keep your back flat. Your torso should be almost parallel to the floor.
  • Keeping your core tight, push through your heels to stand up straight. Keep the weights close to your shins as you pull.
  • Pause at the top and squeeze your butt, then slowly lower the weight along your shins.

Single-Leg Deadlift

Single-Leg Deadlift

Working unilaterally (on one side at a time) gives you a chance to work on imbalances, Williams says. “Everyone has a stronger side or different issues on either side of the body. Single-leg work gives you the opportunity to focus on improving that.” Here’s how to do it:

  • Stand with feet together, holding one weight in your right hand in front of your right thigh.
  • Shift your weight to your left leg and while keeping a slight bend in your left knee, raise your right leg straight behind your body, hinge at the hips to bring your torso parallel to the floor, and lower the weight toward the floor.
  • Keep your back flat. At the bottom of the movement, your torso and right leg should be almost parallel to the floor, with the weight a few inches off the ground.
  • Keeping your core tight, push through your left heel to stand up straight. As you do, keep the right leg straight and bring it back toward start, tapping your toe to the floor, and slide the weight back to start.
  • Think of it as moving your body in a seesaw motion.
  • Pause at the top and squeeze your butt, then slowly lower the weight back to the floor.

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