Whenever I don’t have access to a gym because of travels, I start to miss certain movements. Deadlifts are one of them. I never thought I could benefit from them without heavy weight, but thankfully, Al Kavadlo proves that you can still build those important back muscles with body weight only.
Image by Al Kavadlo.
Deadlifts work the muscles along your entire backside, collectively called the posterior chain, which includes your hamstrings, glutes, lower back, calves and traps. Kavadlo’s suggested alternatives target many of these muscles just the same without any weights.
- Back bridges: The bridge challenges your flexibility while also strengthening your posterior chain muscles.
- One-legged bodyweight deadlifts: Because you’re keeping only one foot on the ground, this exercise puts your stability and the amount of control you have over your body to the test.
- Pistol squats: Pistol squats, AKA one-legged squats, are tough! You need a really strong core, as well as glutes and hamstring strength to power yourself up. Meanwhile, you need excellent balance to keep from toppling over and flexibility to get low enough.
- Back levers: Back levers are the culmination of intense back, core, arm and total-body strength. If you don’t have healthy shoulders, you don’t want to be doing these.
OK, to be fair, some of these bodyweight exercises are actually tough as hell and take a lot of time to learn, because they require a decent starting foundation of strength and flexibility to do. Deadlifts in the gym are hard to replace, after all, so it’s not surprising that their bodyweight alternatives aren’t easy to pick up either. Pun intended.
Bodyweight Deadlift Alternatives [Al Kavadlo]