T Nation

Deadlift Alternatives?


I need a rest from deadlifts. What should I do instead?

My training

T-bar Rows
Weighted Chin-Ups

Incline Bench
Seated BB Overhead Press
Weighted Dips

Weighted Sit-Ups

all basic and heavy.

and sorry - I'm not 35, but since people are arguing about everything, your forum is a golden place


What's the issue with deadlifts? Low back pain?


Glute Ham Raise.

and / or you could try and figure out why you are having problems with deads.

when people have low back pain i like to suggest they lay off the sit-ups. boring old planks tend to be good for whatever ails ya.


Yea need more info? Since you are not 35 you probably dont have a chronic condition.


DL is my best lift so far, in comparison to squats it's way to big

besides I feel a light lower back pain for about a month or two

and I can't add any weight from about two fucking months


After OP's response then ^ this for sure.


Don't stop training it just because it's a strong lift. There is carryover between squat and DL...glutes, hams, low back.

If I had to make a guess from your comments (light low back pain, can't add weight) you are probably maxing out too often.

I would recommend keeping it in the rotation, backing off the weight quite a bit and just work on form and speed. Every week add 5-10 lbs to the lift. No grinding reps. Mentally, it gives you a break from trying hit a new PR since that is not the objective. And it will give your back a break.


you could try using your legs more and your back less, too. get your hips down lower with your torso more upright and use knee extension to squat the weight up rather than the hip extension that is tiring for the lower back. you won't be able to move as much weight that way but should get a good leg workout and save the back a little.

i've started weighting planks (to help my torso remain rigid for squats). 3x60 seconds with as much weight as i can for that amount of time. avoid anything involving back flexion in the weight room to save the lower back, again.

i read somewhere (Everett article on the first pull for Olympic LIfting in case it matters) about how the lower back usually is the first thing to fatigue since there isn't much muscle mass to support the lower back. His style of Olympic pulling is all about not using the lower back / hip extension until you have to - so you get to live to train another day. He had some interesting stuff on how the Olympic Lifting first pull was different from a deadlift in part because of this. That is where the 'using the legs more and the back less' idea comes from. If you want to make them really hard widen up to a snatch grip and really squat your hips down under the bar then try pulling it from there lol.


Do you do any mobility or activation work?

I am a big advocate of mobility and stabilization work- its never too early to incorporate
10 minutes into your training that can change everything and make you move better.

I get the most from simple things added to my training as a warm up.
it takes 10 minutes.

hanging leg raises feet to bar gives a great stretch to low back and mid back and lats.

back raises sends blood to low back to prime it for heavier work

cat camels - spinal flossing - google it.

cycle thru those for 5 to 10 minutes or 3 or sets of 10+ reps.

Git and Alexus offered some good advice-

dont stop deadlifting,
try other variants.

you could deload the spine with some trap bar deadlifts for a cycle or two
Clean or snatch grip pulls are great for hip explosion and for speed off the floor.

If it really is an issue see a Dr.


don't pull heavy from the floor every week. for most mortals too taxing, alternate rack pulls, pulls from blocks, RDLs, reverse band pulls, etc.

And for most raw lifters your pull is usually going to exceed your squat by 50-100lbs.


^ Pete question so in geared lifting what is the difference in DL and Squat?


DJHT, depends on whether you pull sumo or conventional. Geared conventional not very much carryover, for me right now it is about 10lbs lol or nothing, most I have seen conventional is maybe 30-50. However my hips feel better for the gear.

Sumo pullers can usually gearwhore their pull quite a bit more, 50 to 100lb carrover if you work your gear hard. I just feel so damn uncomfortable sumo that I can't do it.


^ Thanks Pete. I have to pull sumo with my build and back history. Maybe some day I will put on the gear. You never know.


Interesting. I was thinking earlier today about adding in reverse band pulls.

Do you have any guidelines on what band tension I should use (how much off at the bottom due to bands)?


Yes it is.

I'm assuming you pull conventional. I'm really enjoying RDLs right now. Since the lift is initiated from the top, I can maintain a beauteous tight arch for the duration, which really saves my back and works the glutes/hammies tremendously. Have you tried those?

My raw DL far exceeds my raw squat, too. By about 40%. The gap is closed tremendously with gear for me. My raw squat jumps up 40% in gear. But I'm lucky if I get 10% outta my DL suit.



you start your RDLs from the top? my understanding is that made it an SLDL. I always start my RDLs from the floor


I pull my first from the floor. I guess I didn't clarify. After that, it mentally feels like I'm initiating the lift from the top because I don't hit the floor after that. Roll down, pull up, lock out. Pause. Start the process again. So you go back to the floor each time? Huh? Confusion reins.


yeah, I touch the floor with each one

giterdone you are spot on back off the weight and start over.work on speed and form make sure to add in some good mornings.remember with good mornings it is FORM not the amount of weight.also don't forget the glute ham raises john meadows showed a variation of them on one of the live spills you should check it out.