4 Alternatives If You Have Trouble With Deadlifts

So you want to build muscle and melt fat? The traditional deadlift is a great place to start. The exercise is known to many as the king of all lifts for a reason—the structural movement engages major muscle groups and serves as a tentpole guide for strength.

But not everyone can handle the deadlift, through no fault of their own. For some guys with limiting physical factors, like hip width and spinal thickness, the move will be tough. Some experts, like exercise physiologist Dean Somerset, C.S.C.S., even estimate that up to 10 to 20 percent of the population will struggle with the “essential” exercise. So if you’re one of those guys, what is there to do? No need to perform deadlifts. Just do these four exercises from celebrity trainer Ben Bruno once a week.

1. Barbell Rack Pull

Ben Goldstein

Why It Works: You’re mimicking the mechanics of deadlifting from the floor but eliminating the first part of the movement—the part that’s typically most problematic.

How to Do It: Set up blocks or a power rack so the bar is at mid-shin to knee height (or higher). Bendat your hips and knees and grab the bar overhand, your arms just outside your legs. Now stand up,thrusting your hips forward as you pull the bar from the blocks or rack. Do 3 sets of 6 reps.

2. Farmer’s Walk

Ben Goldstein

3. Barbell Hip Thrust

4. Single-Leg Dumbbell Romanian Deadlift

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