Deadlifts are a foundational compound exercise that is tremendously effective in strengthening the posterior chain – glutes, hamstrings, and back.
Some would argue it’s the best exercise there is, and you know what – they’re probably correct.
Today we’re focusing on banded deadlifts – in other words, using a resistance band to make the exercise more challenging.
In any case, deadlifts belong in most training plans.
In general, all deadlift variations (such as Romanian, sumo, or straight leg) are fairly technical but nothing a beginner should shy away from.
The first step is to always master the hip hinge and learn to control the movement.
What is a banded deadlift?
I guess you figured that out yourself, didn’t you?
Yes, the banded deadlift is an exercise where you use a resistance band strapped to your barbell/dumbbells to make the movement more challenging.
The unique thing about putting additional resistance that way is that the higher you move the barbell, the greater the resistance.
This way the lift is much harder at the top than at the start, forcing you to produce progressively more force at lockout than you normally would.
Can you do a banded deadlift without a barbell?
You don’t need a barbell to reap the benefits of the banded deadlift.
You can either use dumbbells, kettlebells, or simply the resistance band alone.
Keep reading to see the exercises demonstrated below!
How do you set up the banded deadlift?
Banded Barbell Deadlift
Let’s start with how to attach the resistance band when you’re doing a barbell-banded deadlift.
There are two main variations to do that.
One is to have a fancy lifting platform with hooks/carabiners at all corners.
Don’t get discouraged if you don’t have access to a lifting platform though.
There’s another very simple and easy way to do that.
All you need to do is wrap a single resistance band to the middle of the barbell, make sure you’re dead center when you step on it, and proceed with the deadlift.
Check out the video and pictures below to get a clear idea.
How to set up resistance band barbell deadlift
How to perform resistance band barbell deadlift
Banded Dumbbell Deadlift
Here again, we’ll be using your body weight as an anchor point keeping one end of the resistance band to the ground.
We wrap both sides of it around each dumbbell and once again make sure we’re dead center when stepping on the band.
Here’s how to easily set up your resistance band dumbbell deadlifts.
Don’t forget to follow the usual cues for proper movement mechanics – neutral spine, tight and engaged lats.
Resistance Band Deadlift
As mentioned before, you can simply use a single resistance band to practice banded deadlifts. This is a great way for beginners to practice good form and learn to engage all the necessary muscles.
You can use various resistance bands to adjust the level of difficulty. Always stay in control of the movement and focus on your technique.
How to perform resistance band deadlift
Why should you do banded deadlifts?
There’s a term in weightlifting called Accommodating resistance.
It simply means that by adding a band or chains to the exercise you can make certain portions of it harder or easier.
For example, when doing a regular barbell deadlift, the hardest part is usually the first few inches off the ground.
By adding a resistance band to the barbell you alter that and the movement gets progressively harder the higher the barbell moves.
This method is used by both advanced athletes and people early on their fitness journey as it brings multiple benefits to the table.
Resistance Band Deadlift Benefits
- Improves form and technique
It’s not uncommon for beginners to fail to engage their lats, allowing the weight of the barbell to naturally pull their upper body forward and down.
Thus we often see the rounding of the upper back instead of maintaining a neutral spine throughout the movement.
Sometimes even experienced lifters will get some rounding when fatigued.
Adding the band exacerbates this pull and you’re forced to consciously engage your lats to counter the force pulling you down.
Having your lats tight and engaged ensures that the barbell’s path is vertical and moves close to your shins and body.
Better control over the barbell.
The band leaves no room for error.
Teaches you to keep the tension in your hamstrings, glutes, and core.
- Helps to overcome sticking points
A common problem among lifters is the so-called “sticking point”.
When we’re talking specifically about the deadlift, these sticking points often happen somewhere halfway through the movement.
The usual reason behind this is that the lifter doesn’t use maximum force to lift the weight, doesn’t get the necessary speed to bring the barbell to the top position, and loses momentum in the middle of the movement.
This can not only make you fail your rep but more importantly – it puts extra strain on your lower back.
Once again, the resistance band amplifies this effect and forces you to apply maximum force from the start in order to be able to complete the deadlift.
Training this way will help you overcome such weaknesses and get you into the habit of using maximum force regardless of the weight and reps.
- Improved grip strength
Sometimes insufficient grip strength can hold you back from lifting to your full potential.
I don’t think anyone would be surprised that adding a band to your deadlift will challenge your grip more than your regular deadlift.
You’ll have a lot more resistance to fight at the top of the lift while the band is mercilessly pulling the weight down and out of your fingers.
But hey, that’s how you get stronger! Once you return to bandless deadlifts you should find your grip much more reliable.
The benefit of this increased grip strength will carry over into every other exercise. Additionally, there’s solid research indicating that grip strength is a trustworthy biomarker for identifying older adults at risk of heart disease.
Resistance Band Deadlift Muscles Worked
The deadlift will work just about every major muscle in your body but the focus falls on your posterior chain. This involves your glutes, hamstrings, and lower and upper back.
Speaking of, this 20-minute legs & glutes dumbbell workout will address your posterior chain like no other! It’ll also give you the opportunity to practice your deadlifts (add a resistance band if you’re feeling daring!).
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