The deadlift is one of the most popular exercises ever. It is considered to be the best full-body weightlifting exercise by many. As a large compound lift, it trains your whole body, with the main focus going on your posterior chain muscles.
It’s also one of the most beneficial lifts you can perform. It is great for building tons of muscle mass, increasing your overall strength, improving your mobility, and strengthening your core. To be honest, this exercise has way too many benefits to bring specifically out in this article.
There are literally tons of different types of deadlifts, varying from the way the barbell is held to the movement of the exercise itself. As one of the most popular and beneficial powerlifting exercises, the deadlift has been modified to match any specific needs.
Some deadlift types are changed so they would focus more on a specific muscle group. Two good examples would be the snatch grip version that works your upper back and traps more and the stiff-legged DL that lays the locus on your lower back and body. Other types are modified to increase specific functional strength needs.
Many of these variations have become quite mainstream and popular amongst all types of weightlifters and gym-goers. They are often used as either an alternative to the conventional lift or as a complementary exercise. Two good examples would be the sumo stance and the Romanian DL.
But there are also a lot of different types of deadlifts that aren’t so mainstream and are rarely seen by the average gym-goer. These exercises are either made for very specific needs, very challenging, or just overlooked by many. In this article, we are going to take a closer look at 5 types of deadlift that you don’t see every day at the gym.
1. The Bulgarian Deadlift
The Bulgarian deadlift is a challenging variation of the original exercise that combines one of the hardest lifts anyone can perform in the gym with a very unstable and difficult position. What makes it so challenging is the fact that you are performing this DL while balancing your weight on a single leg while you rest your other leg on a bench behind yourself.
The main benefits of this deadlift type lie in the awkward position it’s performed in. Because you have to keep your body balanced on a single leg for the whole time, your core and stabilizing muscles have to work extra hard to keep you from losing your balance. That makes it an insane core workout that will both increase your balance and strengthen your whole core.
2. The Shovel Deadlift
The shovel deadlift is another unorthodox and strange-looking deadlift type that focuses heavily on your core muscles. What makes it so strange? Well, the only real distinction between this and the conventional lift is that in the shover version, you load all the weight on one side of the barbell.
Seeing someone do this shovel variation of the classical lift is a strange sight that looks wrong on many levels. But in reality, it might look weird, but there is nothing wrong with this lift. It’s actually an amazing core exercise that forces your obliques and stabilizer muscles to work overtime in order to keep your body straight and stable.
It is one of the best weighted core exercises anyone can do. Its both an isometric and a dynamic lift at the same time. That will strengthen your core like crazy and make your functional strength gains skyrocket.
3. The Reeves Deadlift
The Reeves Deadlift is somewhat of a strange old-school variation of the original exercise. It gets its name from the famous actor and bodybuilder Steve Reeves, who is considered to be the man who placed this exercise on the map.
But what makes this modification so different from the classical lift? Well, its both where the barbell is held from and how it is gripped. In the Reeves variation, you grasp the bar from its plates. It makes your grip extra-wide, which will shift the main effort of this exercise onto your traps and upper back muscles. Also, the wide grip increases the overall range of motion of this exercise.
The second distinction is the way the weight is gripped. The plates are usually gripped in a pinch grip. It’s quite challenging to hold a single plate in this grip, let alone the whole barbell. That makes it an insane grip workout and a true test of grip strength.
4. The Zercher Deadlift
The Zercher deadlift is one of the most challenging deadlift types out there. It’s a true feat of strength, and anyone who does these in the gym has my respect.
The Zercher variation is done by holding the bar on your forearms near the crooks of your elbows. First of all holding, a bar like that is painful as heck and it will leave some big bruises you can show off to your mates. So it requires a little bit extra mental strength to even hold the bar.
Secondly, it is very challenging to grip and lift the bar like that from the floor. The starting position is both very uncomfortable and low. The unorthodox starting position is very difficult, and it requires a lot of mobility and flexibility to even get into it and to perform the exercise safely and with proper form.
5. The Jefferson Deadlift
The Jefferson deadlift, also known as the Jefferson lift, is one of the weirdest and strangest deadlift types. This weird DL variation is actually a classic strongman movement that has been used by strongmen and weightlifters for a long time. In recent times it has sadly lost a lot of popularity and has been forgotten by many.
In the Jefferson lift, you start with the bar between your legs. You basically saddle the weight, with one of your feet in front of it and the other behind the bar. And you perform the deadlift from there.
At first, this lift might look strange because of the starting position and the overall movement, but it has many hidden benefits. Just like the conventional DL, its a heavy compound lift that works your entire body. And just like any big lift, it will both increase your muscle mass and overall strength.
It also puts a little less pressure on your spine and lower back, so it can be used as an alternative to the original DL if you have some smaller back issues. Also, the exercise involves a little rotation, making it a multiplanar exercise that will build both asymmetrical and ant-rotational strength. The lift will also work your core and stabilizer muscles. All in all its a great exercise to increase your functional strength.
There are a lot of different deadlift types, modifications, and variations out there, all designed to serve a specific purpose. Either to increase functional strength, focus on a particular muscle group, to make the deadlifting more challenging, and so on.
In this article, we took a look at five less popular and not so conventional types of deadlifts. All these types have their own distinct benefits. But with every upside, there is a downside. Not all of the exercises are safest, and some require a lot of practice and proper technique to be performed safely and with the right form. So, when trying out these lifts, keep the weight on the downside, and always focus on achieving proper lifting form to reduce the risk of any possible injuries.
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