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a man performs a barbell deadlift

This popular compound movement strengthens the hamstrings, glutes, back, and core. “When we do compound exercises that use all these muscles at once, there’s so much bang for your buck and so many benefits,” says Danny King, master personal trainer at Life Time.

If mobility is an issue, though, you could be compromising the lift’s effectiveness — as well as increasing your risk of injury, says human-performance educator Mike T. Nelson, PhD. “You might round your back, or allow your hips to pop up too fast.”

Conventional Barbell Deadlift

. . . Now Meet the Kettlebell Deadlift

Kettlebell deadlifts deliver benefits that are similar to the barbell variation, while helping you fine-tune your deadlift form and supporting your lower back.

To Do It Right: Stand with a kettlebell between your feet. Hinge your hips and bend your knees, keeping your spine neutral and core engaged. Grasp the kettlebell and stand up. Push through your feet, which will allow you to raise the kettlebell naturally.

. . . and the Glute Bridge

The supine position reduces pressure on the lower back while strengthening the glutes, hamstrings, and abs.

To Do It Right: Lie face up, keeping your knees bent, your feet flat on the floor, and your arms at your sides. Squeezing your glutes and drawing in your abs, lift your hips off the floor until a straight line is formed through your shoulders, hips, and knees. Hold for five seconds before easing back to the floor. Progress the move by adding weight with a sandbag or barbell across your hips or by using the glute bridge machine (commonly known as the Glute Drive) at your health club. (For additional form tips and variations, see “BREAK IT DOWN: The Glute Bridge“.)

This was excerpted from “Beyond the Basics” which was published in the October 2021 issue of Experience Life magazine.

Photography by: Kelly Loverud; Styling: Pam Brand; Fitness Models: Alejandro Martinez
Sarah Tuff

Sarah Tuff Dunn is a Colorado-based outdoors, health, fitness, and nutrition writer.

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