April 19, 2022

8 Types of Deadlifts and how to do them properly with great form

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Exercisers & Clients
8 Types of Deadlifts and how to do them properly with great form
Cory McKane
Blog Post Summary:

One of the most common workouts you’ll come across in the fitness world is deadlifts. It’s often used in even the most basic fitness routines and can benefit professionals and beginners. Check out this article to learn all about the 8 Types of Deadlifts and how to do them properly.

Different Kinds of Deadlifts Plus the Benefits and Downfalls 

One of the most common workouts you’ll come across in the fitness world is deadlifts. It’s often used in even the most basic fitness routines and can benefit professionals and beginners. As a trainer, you’ll want to equip your clients with the skills to perform at least one type of deadlift exercise. This movement works out all of the major muscles in your body, and there’s more than one variation to try out. There’s a different kind of deadlift to fit into any fitness regime or program. 

Disclaimer: Before performing any of these exercises please speak with your medical professional.

8 Types of Deadlifts

When you add these eight different kinds of deadlift movements to your workout plans you can get the most out of this common exercise without having to add extra weight all the time. And for personal trainers ~ there’s sure to be a deadlift exercise perfect for all of your clients.

1. Dumbbell Deadlift

A conventional dumbbell deadlift is one of the most frequently seen variations of this workout. This kind of deadlift involved using two dumbbells, instead of the single-bar seen in most variations. It relies more on core strength than single-bar deadlifts. Variations of dumbbell deadlifts typically require you to lift less than usual since the weight isn’t distributed across one bar. 


  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart, and with one dumbbell in each hand. Make sure your palms are facing your thighs. 
  • Keep your arms straight as you push your butt back, and slide both dumbbells in front of each leg at the same time.
  • Lower weights until they touch the floor, or until you can’t anymore.
  • Keep your chest out as you stand back up.

2. Snatch Grip Deadlift

WeStrive Video of the exercise

When performing a snatch grip deadlift, your hands will be spread farther apart on the lift bar. This variation works out the hamstrings the most and can be witnessed in Olympic competitions. It can help build strength in your back, build up your conventional deadlift, and strengthen your grip. 


  • Take your stance behind the deadlift bar, and set your grip. Make sure your shins are against the bar.
  • Stick your chest out and pull the bar up your body until you are standing tall.
  • When done properly, your back will go from rounded out to straight. 

3. Trap Bar (Hex) Deadlift

WeStrive Video of the exercise

Trap bar deadlifts, also called hex deadlifts, require the use of a specialized bar. This bar, a hex bar, will distribute the weight in a way that makes it easier to lift evenly. 


  • Take your stance and stand with the bar at thigh height.
  • Bend at the hips, moving your butt back and lowering the bar to the front of your shins.
  • When you feel a good stretch in your hamstrings, lift back up.
  • Keep your back straight the entire time.

4. Sumo Deadlift

WeStrive Video of the exercise

A sumo deadlift will look similar to anyone who has ever done a sumo squat. It involves a wider stance and keeping your hands between your feet. This form of deadlift emphasises the quads and hips and allows more range of motion than other variations. Typically sumo deadlifts also let you lift more than conventional deadlifts. 


  • Take a wide stance, keep your hands between your feet, and grip the bar.
  • As you grab the feet with your ground, pull the bar into you. Make sure to torque your knees to provide the full range of motion. 
  • Make sure to stay tight during the entire deadlift, and keep your spine neutral. 

5. Deficit (Rack Pulls) Deadlift

WeStrive Video of the exercise

Deficit deadlifts are a great workout if you want to increase your deadlift range of motion. Also called rack pulls, this movement can be harsh. Even so, deficit deadlifts can build up your standard deadlifts.


  • In a squat rack, start with the bar resting at about knee height.
  • Stand so your shins are one inch from the deadlift bar. The bar should be positioned over the middle of the foot. 
  • Lean over, keeping your legs straight, and grab the bar just outside your feet.
  • Bring your shins forward so they are touching the bar.
  • Brace your core, squeeze your chest, and drag the bar up your legs.

6. Barbell Romanian Deadlift

WeStrive Video of the exercise

Romanian deadlifts are often called stiff-legged or straight leg deadlifts. This variation focuses more on hamstrings instead of the lower back, which many kinds of deadlifts do. For the entire movement, your back should be straight while your torso bends. Your legs have to remain straight, or stiff, with no bending at the knee.


  • Have feet hip-width apart, with shins touching the bar. Bend torso forward to grab bar, keeping hands shoulder-width apart. 
  • Keep back flat, and pull the bar as you stand back up.
  • Push hips back to lower the bar to the front of your legs.
  • Stop at the knee and then slowly rise back up

7. Conventional Deadlift

WeStrive Video of the exercise

The conventional deadlift is the basic kind of deadlift and the one you should always start off with. Once this movement is down, you can move on to different variations. This exercise will target your glutes, lower back, forearms, calves, hamstrings, traps, quads, and middle back. You can use a bar or two dumbbells.


  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart and core braced, with shins against the barbell.
  • Bend forward, keeping back straight and arms straight, and grab the bar.
  • Keep hands should width apart, palms facing shins. Screw your pinkies into the bar for lats.
  • Keep your neck neutral by looking straight ahead, and pull the bar up your legs while keeping your arms straight. 
  • Return to start by sliding the bar back down your legs, keeping a straight back.

8. The Hack Lift

WeStrive Video of the exercise -

Photo & Video pulled from the AlphaDestiny YouTube Channel

The hack deadlift is a form of deadlift that emphasizes the quadriceps. It mimics the traditional variation, but the bar is behind your back. This workout puts extra stress on the knees, so this kind of deadlift is considered riskier. This variation should be reserved for more experienced athletes. 


  • With this variation you will follow the conventional deadlift method, but with the bar position behind your legs.
  • It forces you to stay more upright during the movement and puts more focus on the quads.

Benefits of Deadlifts

Doing deadlifts has a number of major benefits that any level of athlete or fitness buff can take advantage of. For one, understanding the proper form of deadlifts decreases the odds of pulling or straining a muscle during everyday movements. While variations of deadlifts don’t work every muscle in the body, they do work a lot of them. 

Just a few of the muscles benefiting from deadlift movements are your hamstrings, core, calves, glutes, and lower and upper back. Deadlifts work your deep core muscles, and can actually be more beneficial than many core-strengthening exercises. 

Common Injuries Caused by Deadlifts

While this go-to workout can be beneficial for any kind of athlete, it can be damaging if not performed right. The safest way to do this exercise is alongside a certified fitness instructor. Deadlifts might be one of the more simple exercises, but it can be easy to get hurt. If you lift the bar with a rounded back instead of a straightened one you could cause back injuries. 

Lifting more weight than you can handle will also put more strain on your lower back and spine, and can lead to injury. Other injuries can be caused by lifting too quickly or jerking your back. The best way to keep from getting hurt is to make sure you are using the proper form.

Tips For Being Safe

In order to avoid injury when deadlifting, there are a few safety tips you can follow. 

  • Make sure to master the standard deadlift form before moving on to different variations. 
  • Workout alongside a certified fitness instructor or personal trainer.
  • Keep your back straight when lifting.
  • Go slow, and never lift too fast or jerk your back.
  • Never lift more weight than you can handle.

As long as you follow the proper forms, and keep these safety tips in mind, the different kinds of deadlifts can be enjoyable movements for any workout regime. They can benefit athletes of any fitness level and should be added to every trainer's list of go-to client exercises. 

So, which deadlift are you going to add to your routine?


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About the Author:

Cory McKane

Cory is a huge fan of fitness - and an even bigger fan of helping you with your fitness. He's started on his journey with WeStrive back in 2015 and has been building it ever since.

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Written by
Cory McKane
CEO | WeStrive
Huge fan of fitness - Even bigger fan of helping you with your fitness. I've been building up the WeStrive platform for over 5 years and I'm excited to keep building out the greatest Health & Wellness platform on Earth.

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8 Types of Deadlifts and how to do them properly with great form