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March 25, 2021
Most people love to deadlift. It’s the best full-body exercise there is and will add some serious mass to your frame while making you the strongest version of yourself possible. Traditionally, the “King of Exercises” is done with a barbell or even a trap bar. But what if you don’t have access to a barbell? Well, resistance band deadlift exercises are the next best thing.
Maybe you can’t get to the gym or your prefer to do your workouts at home. Perhaps you’re traveling and just want to get in a quick workout. This isn’t a problem, as using a solid pair of resistance bands allows you to perform deadlifts anywhere. This article will go over how to perform an effective deadlift with just a resistance band, as well as the best resistance band deadlift variations.
Performing deadlifts with resistance bands brings some great benefits that can’t (or are very hard) to duplicate with the barbell. Here are some of those benefits:
1. Great For Beginners: As the barbell deadlift is a bit of a technical lift compared to most other lifts, there is a learning curve that goes along with it. During this time, trainees will need to learn the correct movement pattern and strengthen the muscles to start adding a heavier load. It is not uncommon for beginner lifters to spend 4 weeks merely learning the movement without ever adding weight. Using resistance bands can help this progress in a few ways:
2. Allows You To Concentrate On The Eccentric: Due to the heavyweights used with the barbell deadlift, the eccentric portion is largely ignored as trainees generally use a controlled drop. This is due to the eccentric portion being too complicated to use with heavyweight and the risk of injury outweighs the reward (but don’t be scared of it!). When using the resistance bands, the trainee can take the time to really focus on a nice, slow descent.
3. Great For Recovery: Even when you have access to a barbell, you will find some benefits to perform deadlifts with resistance bands. If you are recovering from an injury or maybe just running a recovery or reload week, using bands is a great way to easily and efficiently get in a light workout. Plus, you won’t even need to leave your house!
4. Great For Rehab Too: If you have ever tweaked your back, there is a good chance that you may decide to give your back a rest. Don’t! Research has shown that performing light movements that engage the posterior chain (like deadlifts) are superior to other therapy forms when treating sore backs. Assuming it is a mild tweak, take a light band and perform some deadlifts and watch your discomfort go away. *Note: We are not licensed medical practitioners. If you are concerned about your back or it is more severe than just being sore i.e., you have trouble walking, see a licensed practitioner.
These resistance band exercises will work almost every single muscle in your body. However, there are a few that it will focus on. These are the top muscles used listed from the most concentration to the least.
The glutes are comprised up of three muscles:
Together, these muscles act as the primary muscle for hip extension. They do this by working together with two other muscles (hamstrings, erector spinea) collectively known as the “posterior chain”.
The hamstrings are located on the posterior of the upper leg and are also comprised of three muscles:
The hamstrings are part of the posterior chain meaning they are also responsible for hip extension. They are also responsible for flexing the knee and pulling our leg back as in walking. In fact, the hamstring is the most important muscle for developing speed (it’s also the most injured muscle in sports because of this). You need to have strong hamstrings for performance and injury prevention.
3) Erector Spinae:
The erector spinae completes the posterior chain and straddles the spine. It runs down the entire back from the spine all the way into the glutes. If you have ever looked at a persons lower back and seen two little ridges or seen a “pit” in the middle of the back, that’s caused by the erector spinae. The erector spine is comprised of three different muscles which run down the entire spine in columns. Going from medial to lateral (middle to outside), they are known as:
These muscles work together to extend the spine and maintain stability. Even though many people think of the abs when they say “core”, the erector spinae also plays a very important part role for this group of muscles that provides stability and support.
Related: 13 Best Erector Spinae Exercises
Finally, a group of muscle that doesn’t have 3 muscles. The quadriceps are comprised of 4 muscles that sit on the anterior side of the upper leg. These muscles are known as:
Together these muscles are paired with the hamstrings as agonist-antagonist muscles and are responsible for extending the knee. This is crucial for many movements such as jumping, running, and squatting. The rectus femurs also acts as a powerful hip flexor to pull the leg up while the vastus medialis helps stabilize the knee during running
5) Upper Back:
The last group of muscles is the upper back in general. These muscles include the:
These muscles all have different functions but during the deadlift, they are responsible for keeping the scapula retracted and maintaining rigidness in the upper back.
Resistance band deadlift form is quite similar to using a barbell with some minor changes
The first deadlift to do with a resistance band is the classic conventional deadlift…..well, it actually a different movement pattern than the conventional deadlift as the hands are down to the side of the body rather than out in front. It’s actually more similar to the Trap Bar Deadlift, which is still a great version of the deadlift. Actually, it brings an extra benefit as you can manipulate your leg position to emphasize your quads or posterior chain.
Resistance Band Deadlift Muscles Worked:
HOW TO PERFORM THE RESISTANCE BAND DEADLIFT
As mentioned, there are two ways to perform this movement. The main difference concerns the knee placements.
How To Perform The Movement:
The resistance band Romanian deadlift is similar to the deadlift but puts more focus on the posterior chain. This is because when performing the Romanian deadlift, there is much less knee flexion which requires more hip flexion to compensate. Since the posterior chain is responsible for hip extension, who have your superior activation of these muscles. The Romanian deadlift is a favorite for anyone who wants to develop a nice set of glutes.
Resistance Band Romanian Deadlift Muscles Worked:
HOW TO PERFORM THE RESISTANCE BAND ROMANIAN DEADLIFT
Tips For The Romanian Deadlift:
Related: Barbell & Dumbbell RDL Guide
The infamous sumo deadlift. When looking at the sumo deadlift vs. conventional deadlifts biomechanics, it’s almost a completely different movement than the conventional deadlift. Its main similarity with the conventional deadlift is it consists of lifting something off the ground. The sumo deadlift has significantly more knee flexion, resulting in far less hip flexion and a much more vertical torso. If set up properly, you should be able to easily see your chest. This set-up results in much more activation in your quads, and aside from your glutes, significantly less activation in the posterior chain.
Resistance Band Sumo Deadlift Muscles Worked:
HOW TO PERFORM THE RESISTANCE BAND SUMO DEADLIFT
Performing a resistance band single leg deadlift is a great exercise to train your balance and stability and emphasize your glutes. Due to the need to stabilize the body, the single-leg deadlift is one of the best movements to hit the gluteus medius. This muscle sits on the outside of the hip and is responsible for keeping your hips from sagging when you walk or run. It has also been found that strengthening this muscle can mitigate the chance of developing injuries to the lower leg.
Resistance Band Single Leg Deadlift Muscles Worked:
HOW TO PERFORM THE SINGLE LEG RESISTANCE BAND DEADLIFT
There are two ways to perform this movement with the band. Both are performed in the same way and are very similar to the Romanian deadlift movement, just on one foot.
Variation 1 is performed by wrapping a band around the foot and holding on to the end loop for resistance. If you need to adjust the resistance, you can wrap the band around your foot more or less times, depending on your need. In this method, the force will be applied vertically and require your upper back to maintain good posture.
Variation 2 is performed by wrapping the band around a pole (or any solid structure) and then putting the end loop around your waist. Because the resistance is pulling directly on the hips horizontally, a more significant proportion of force must be generated by the gluteus and hams. In contrast, less force is needed from the erector spine. This version basically mimics a standing hip thrust which is the best exercise for your glutes.
Some common errors occur when trainees perform the deadlift the first time. You want to be aware of these so that you do not learn improper biomechanics. Here are the most important things to keep in mind when performing the resistance band deadlift
1. Do NOT Use Your Arms
There is an inclination to want to use the arms to pull up while performing the deadlift. This occurs either during the actual lift or at the top part. Either way, it’s wrong. While it may not be a considerable issue using resistance bands, you still don’t want to create this habit. If you start performing a barbell deadlift and pull on the bar, you put yourself at risk of popping a bicep or some other injury due to the weight. Your arms are just there to connect the bar to your body. KEEP THEM STRAIGHT!
2. Do NOT Perform A Shrug
Similar to the above, many people feel the need to perform a shrug at the top of the movement. If you can perform a shrug, the weight is most likely way too light. Regardless, this is not part of the movements and you are again putting an unneeded risk on your body
3. Do NOT Allow Slack In The Band
When using a barbell, the cue “Get The Slack Out” is used to remind the lifter to pull up on the bar until it gets tight as it will bend a little. This keeps lifters from jerking up on a loaded barbell which can throw them off balance while also acting as a “speed bump” in power production. Either way, it can result in an injury or a smaller pull. When using a resistance band, the same concept applies. Before using attempting to stand up with the band, make sure there is tension in the band. You would also be better of maintaining minimum tension the entire time.
4. Do NOT Let Your Hips Rise
When performing deadlifts, many lifters have the tendency to allow their hips rise first and then pulling with their back. You don’t want this as you are essentially doing a stiff-leg dead leg with crappy form. When you rise, your entire entire body rises together. Remember, the angle in your back should remain the same as you drive up with your legs.
5. Take Time To Concentrate On The Muscles Used
Since the resistance will be lighter than when using a barbell, take the time to really focus on the muscles and your form and get the mind-muscle connection.
6. Use This For Explosive Movements
Using resistance bands are a great time to focus on powerful explosions. Once you get an adequate amount of tension on the band, explode on the way up.
You now have all you need to perform deadlifts wherever you are so there’s no reason to neglect these amazing movements. The good thing is that these movements differ enough that these are all you need for a quick and powerful lower-body workout on the go.
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