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Benefits of Kettlebell Deadlift | Strength, Power, Posture

Updated: Feb 3

An image of a trainer performing a kettlebell deadlift. The images displays the benefits of kettlebell deadlift with headings outlining the various benefits.

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The strength and fitness benefits of kettlebell deadlift make it a must-have exercise in your routine. Deadlifting with a kettlebell, as opposed to a barbell, is not only equally as effective but much safer.

Also, the kettlebell deadlift offers a range of novel variations that serve to enhance the benefits that this exercise confers. For example, when you’ve mastered the basic single kettlebell deadlift, you can double up for added resistance.

Below you will discover a number of surprising benefits of kettlebell deadlift and a comprehensive tutorial of this excellent exercise.

Benefits of kettlebell deadlift Atomic Kettlebells book.

Benefits of kettlebell deadlift

The kettlebell deadlift offers a lot of bang for your buck. Though a simple exercise, it engages a wide range of muscles. As the author of The Russian Kettlebell Challenge, Pavel Tsatsouline, tells us, the kettlebell deadlift is ‘favoured by Russian weightlifters’ because it ‘develops spectacular hamstring flexibility and strengthens the hips.’

In addition to developing hip strength and ‘spectacular hamstring flexibility’, the kettlebell deadlift also actively engages the erector spina. The erector spinae muscles support the lumbar region of the vertebrae and are especially important in maintaining correct postural alignment.

Furthermore, the erector spinae forms an integral link in the group of muscles known as the ‘posterior chain’.

Why train your posterior chain?

The posterior chain refers to the group of muscles that run the length of the back of the body. These muscles include the hamstrings, gluteus maximus, erector spinae, trapezius, and posterior deltoids. It is important to activate and strength your posterior chain as it confers many benefits. Four of those benefits have been briefly outlined below.

#1: good posture

Strengthening the posterior chain can improve postural alignment. Improved posture reduces injuries risk while minimising excessive wear of joints.

#2: transferable physical attribute

As we discussed in the sumo deadlift tutorial, developing the posterior chain offers a wide range of benefits. For example, the muscles of the posterior chain feature heavily in many sports and other active pursuits. Thus, by strengthening these muscles you will cultivate a transferable physical attribute that could translate to improved performance in areas of your physical life.

#3: helps stabilise spine and hips

Because the posterior chain controls backward force, by strengthening it you will enhance the stability of your spine and hips. Stabilising these two areas enables us to maintain correct posture when standing or seated for prolonged periods.

#4: Improves performance across a wide range of exercises

The posterior chain muscles feature extensively throughout most forms of exercise and sport. Developing and strengthening this group of muscles can improve our effectiveness when performing other exercises.

Related: 5 Frequently Asked Questions About Kettlebells

Benefits of kettlebell deadlift

  • Spectacular hamstring flexibility

  • Strengthened spine and hips.

  • Activated posterior chain.

  • Improved postural alignment.

  • Engages a wide range of muscle groups.

  • Develops transferable physical attributes.

Muscles targeted

As previously noted, the kettlebell deadlift engages the hamstrings, glutes, lower back, and trapezius. But kettlebell deadlifting also improves grip and deltoid strength.

How to perform the kettlebell deadlift

  1. First, position yourself directly over the kettlebell. This is an important point. By standing back from the kettlebell, when lifting it off the floor you will inevitably be pulled forward. A common lifting error that can destabilise your position while also increasing lower back injury risk.

  2. Bending at the knees grasp the kettlebell.

  3. Keeping the back straight, stand up out of the position.

  4. You should now be holding the kettlebell in front of your thighs, palms facing inwards and your legs shoulder-width apart.

  5. Hinge at the hips and keeping your hamstrings straight, scrape the kettlebell down your inner calf.

  6. Engage your core and bring your chest parallel with the floor, before moving back up to the top of the exercise.

  7. Throughout the movement keep the eyes fixed forward as this helps to maintain correct postural alignment.

Key kettlebell deadlift teaching points

  • Positioning yourself directly over the kettlebell

  • Adopt a stance slightly wider than shoulder-width.

  • Bending at the knees grasp the kettlebell.

  • Using glute and lower back strength, stand up.

  • As you stand ensure to drive the hips forward.

  • Once upright, return the kettlebell to the floor for the next rep.

How to modify the kettlebell dead lift

When you have mastered the single kettlebell deadlift, try the exercise with two KBs. Deadlifting with twin bells is surprisingly more challenging – and not just for the fact that you’ve doubled the weight. Keeping control of two bells requires considerably more core and cognitive engagement.

Related: Check out the Three Best Kettlebell Sets

Another method of modifying the kettlebell deadlift is by using a resistance band. The resistance band, a brilliant training tool in its own right, is tethered to the handle of the kettlebell. You are standing on the remaining slack. Kettlebell deadlifting with a resistance band offers a novel variation that increases resistance at peak contraction points.

Kettlebell deads dos and don’ts
  • Do make sure that you position yourself over the kettlebell before executing the lift.

  • Don’t round the back at any point throughout the exercise.

  • Do select a weight that you can lift.

  • Don’t snatch or wrench the kettlebell from the floor.

  • Do keep the muscles of the core actively engaged throughout.

  • Don’t lean back at the top position.

  • Do use deadlifting shoes as they improve the stability of your base.

  • Don’t go any deeper than the level at which you can maintain correct form. If you feel your form deteriorating, stop and return to the start position.

  • For a more detailed tutorial, see this step-by-step guide to mastering the kettlebell deadlift.

Related: Master these 10 Killer Kettlebell Exercises

About Adam Priest –

A former Royal Marines Commando, Adam Priest is a content writer, college lecturer, and health and fitness coach. He is also a fitness author and contributor to other websites. Connect with Adam at

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