What To Deadlift When You Don't Have A Barbell

Photo: Todd Durkee, Reshot

I hope everybody's having fun in the deadlift challenge, but if you're not, is it because you don't have a barbell to lift? We covered some dumbbell and bodyweight alternatives last week (the trick is to do the deadlifts on one leg), but here are some more options for when you still want to lift something heavy, but you don't have convenient equipment.

October Is For Deadlifts

Welcome back, friends! We've done a lot of bodyweight exercises in our fitness challenges, and last month we got out on the road for some running or walking. This month we head into the gym for some heavy lifting — but don't worry, even if you don't have a gym membership we'll have options for you too.

Read more

  • Dumbbells. Large enough dumbbells can give you a challenging deadlift workout, especially if you count the effort it takes to get them on and off the dumbbell rack. You'll also be challenging your grip strength, since dumbbells tend to be harder to hold than a barbell of the same weight.

  • Kettlebells. Straddle a single kettlebell and pick it up sumo deadlift style.

  • A deadlift machine. Take a close look around your gym for a contraption like this. It's a deadlift machine! Machines never work quite as many muscles as free weights, but if your gym is short on deadlift bars, this is a good alternative.

  • Sandbags. Many gyms have sandbags made for lifting, but if you're at home and don't have a proper sandbag, consider filling a backpack or duffel bag with whatever you can find: books, canned food, rocks. Be sure to set it down gently if you have any doubts about the durability of the bag or its contents.

  • A child. Kids love to be picked up and, optionally, flung in the air. Don't underestimate the strength-building potential of lifting your kid (carefully!) in sets of ten or so.

  • A couch. Go ahead, offer to help your friends move! Boxes are great too. I'm not even joking. If you've got a home gym in your basement, look around for boxes you've been meaning to unpack for years but never got around to. Move them from one side of the basement to the other, and then back. Now you have a perfect excuse never to unpack them! And if you have a workout buddy, you can absolutely pick up furniture and put it down again as part of your workout.

Really, anything heavy can work as long as you're able to use good form while you pick it up. What have you lifted this month?


Comments

Be the first to comment on this story!

Trending Stories Right Now