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3 smart, creative ways to do a deadlift

DeadliftYou’re not still doing the same combination of bicep curls and tricep kickbacks every time you hit the weight rack at the gym, are you?

“There are only so many movements we can do,” reasons trainer Larry Twohig. “But if you have some background, education, and creativity, you can turn a dozen basic movements into thousands of exercises, so it never gets stale.”

Twohig is the co-founder of chic Chelsea functional training gym Culture with partner Lauren Gordon, and he’s the kind of smart fitness expert you really should listen to. “We adhere to scientifically proven training principles,” says Twohig, who’s a fan of strength training over “specializing” in spinning, boxing, or barre. “They’re all components of a well-rounded fitness routine, but not a complete fitness regime,” he says.

To that end, Twohig and Gordon gave us full-body exercises that you can master and then put to work in your gym routine whenever you need to shake it up. First up: three smart, creative ways to deadlift a 20-pound kettlebell… —Lisa Elaine Held

(All Photos: Molly Gallagher and Lisa Elaine Held for Well+Good, Model: Lauren Gordon)


Get Started

DeadliftSuitcase Deadlift with Kettlebell 

Align yourself so that the weight is to one side, as if picking up a suitcase. Bend down by pushing the hips back, then bending the knees. Pick up the weight and reverse this action to stand back up. Be sure to not twist, and keep the shoulders and hips squared up.



DeadliftSumo Deadlift 

If they have them at your gym, place cardio steps shoulder’s width apart and place a foot onto each, straddling a kettlebell (if you don’t have cardio steps, standing on the floor is fine). Keep your feet turned out to eleven and one o’clock. Bend down by pushing the hips back, then bending the knees. Reach both arms forward to grab the kettlebell and reverse the motion to stand back up holding the weight.



Deadlift DeadliftOne-leg Romanian Deadlift

Place a kettlebell in front of your right shoulder and stand on your left leg, keeping your knee slightly bent. With the hips and shoulders squared, allow your right leg to swing straight back behind you parallel with the floor as you reach down to touch the kettlebell. Once you can maintain control, balance, and a neutral spine with no weight, repeat the exercise with kettlebell in hand.

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