Kettlebell Deadlift Form – The 3 Step Definitive Guide

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Why chose a kettlebell deadlift? Whether you’re new to training or an experience lifter the kettlebell deadlift offer multiple benefits and alternative options compared to the standard deadlift. Read on to learn:

Are kettlebells good for deadlifts?

Put simply, yes! Kettlebell deadlifts are a great addition to the traditional deadlift because the allow you to focus on subtle details of your deadlift you don’t get when you use a barbell. Kettlebell deadlifts for beginners are great so that you can load gradually and increase the weight as you feel comfortable

Benefits of the kettlebell deadlift

Proper kettlebell deadlift form has numerous benefits. Depending on your level of experience these can include

  • Better trunk or core stability
  • Improves hip extension and posture
  • Develops your hip hinge pattern
  • Strengthens your posterior chain

If you’re a busy professional or someone who spends a lot of hours on the computer or at the desk, maintaining proper deadlift form is usually the pattern or skill you struggle with the most when it comes to the fundamental movements or squat, hinge, push, pull and loaded carry.

Why sitting is bad for your kettlebell deadlift

  1. Sitting shortens your hip flexors which can cause lower back pain and tight hips
  2. Sitting compresses your diaphragm and reduces your ability to stabilise your trunk
  3. Your posture is also effected by being in too much forward flexion
  4. Hamstrings and glutes switch off from not being used.

The kettlebell deadlift muscles worked

When we’re talking about the muscles worked in the kettlebell deadlift it’s all about the posterior chain. This includes your back, glutes and hamstrings.

How heavy should kettlebell deadlifts be?

The answer is, whatever you can maintain perfect form with. By adding too much weight too soon you will run the risk of injury. Take your time when adding extra weight to the movement. By following the process below, you will be able to avoid injuries.

How to deadlift

Step #1 – Mobilise Your Posterior Chain

Start with elements such as trigger point therapy for the lower back and hips we then can use mobility exercises such as:

  • Strap stretches
  • Neural flossing and;
  • Hip extension exercises like the couch stretch.

This will allow you gain the required posterior chain mobility in order to maintain proper kettlebell deadlift form. Here’s a complete video tutorial:

Step #2 – Stabilise Your Hip Hinge Pattern & Deadlift

Exercises such as the plank and hip hinge patterning with a dowel are effective and low/no equipment options that reinforce all of those gains in mobility but you can also use the following exercises to help improve stability:

  • Hip bridges like the straight leg and elevated hip bridge and;
  • Loaded carries like the farmers carry

Here’s a complete video tutorial on how to improve your stability for deadlifts:

Step #3 – How to Deadlift properly? Choose the right deadlift variation

Once we have the required mobility and stability for proper deadlift form it now comes down to correct exercise selection for the deadlift. Rushing straight back to heavy barbell deadlifts might not be the best method instead, focus on movements that challenge trunk and single leg stability in your hinge pattern like:

  • Single Leg Deadlifts
  • B-Stance or Kickstand Deadlifts
  • Kettlebell Sumo Deadlift
  • Suitcase deadlift
  • Double kettlebell deadlift
  • Romanian deadlift with a kettlebell

This allows you to isolate asymmetries and correct them before adding the conventional deadlift into the mix. Choosing deadlift varieties like sumo deadlifts also allow you to keep your spine in a more upright position which will allow you to protect your lower back even more.

Pass through the gates with flying colours? You’ve most likely earned proper kettlebell deadlift form and you’re ready to get back to loading the movement but be sure to start small and increase load only when your technique allows.

Can heavy kettlebell swings replace deadlifts?

Once you’ve mastered the kettlebell deadlift, there’s nothing stopping you from moving to kettlebell swing. Be sure to take your time to master the kettlebell swing.

Here’s a full workout that puts everything you’ve just learned together:

Kettlebell Deadlift Workout

Complete the sequence below for 2-3 rounds. Use as little rest as possible and add more rounds if required:

10 Kettlebell Leg Lower e/s
60sec Couch Stretch e/s
15 Elevated Hip Bridge e/s


10 Nordics
25 Kettlebell Deadlifts

You can swap nordics for hamstring slides and variations for the kettlebell deadlift can be single leg and asymmetrical options.

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