Racked deadlifts might sound weird, maybe even impossible, especially when you’re thinking barbell. But, we’re talking kettlebells here. I’ll explain why including this exercise in your WODs, or training, is going to be such a huge benefit to your athletes’ progression, squat technique, and squat mobility. (full exercise name: Racked Squat Deadlift)
First, let me show you what a racked deadlift looks like:
Here’s what’s happening:
- One side has the elbow extended and weight hanging
- One side has the elbow flexed and weight supported
- Two different forces pulling on the torso
- The torso remains upright to stop the weight from pulling the athlete forward
- The hips need to come low and the shoulders need to stay high
The main reason I like and use this exercise often is that it requires the athlete to remain upright, promoting a good deep squat for the deadlift, hence, this exercise is a beauty to work on squat mobility.
The second exercise I used a lot when my athletes or clients are showing excessive forward flexion, is the goblet squat, this one is great as a progression to the racked deadlift, and also allows working with lighter weight. Use the goblet squat with lightweight early, and see how quick the squat technique and mobility improves.
Check out the Heavy Kettlebell WOD, DUO BRUTUS, it includes the racked deadlift.
PS. following is NOT a goblet squat, as the voice-over mentions “hold the kettlebell by the horns“, it’s a horn grip squat, a goblet grip is with the hand around the bell. Download the 25+ kettlebell grips PDF to learn these things.
Interesting Facebook Conversation
Facebook User: “Squat, or deadlift, not sure it can be both? Racked bell will keep you more upright, but does that make it a squat technique?”.
Me: “Hi …, a squat is a movement. Deadlift describes that something is dead on the ground and is lifted off.
A deadlift can be performed in many many ways, don’t confuse it with a hip hinge, just because that’s the conventional way.
A squat is a movement, if the movement is made, it’s a squat. Squat vs Hip hinge.
Squat = flexion in three joints
Hip Hinge = flexion in or two”
Facebook User: “A deadlift is also a movement, so I don’t know what you mean when you say a squat is a movement. In a squat knees and hips flex at the same time, in a deadlift hips flex more than the knees. In your racked deadlift, the racked bell forces you to keep the torso more vertical, and your knees come forward much more than a standard dead lift. My query was does that change the exercise from being a deadlift to a squat, as you state it is a squat technique in your description. I do think it could be a useful variation, just querying the explanation provided. I can agree it would increase core activation, but does that make it a squat?”
Me: “Squat = movement.
Dead lift = defines range, not a specific movement.
If I lay flat on the ground with my arms out and lift a 4kg kb off the ground, I deadlifted a kb. A lot of people have this thing where they think a deadlift defines a movement, just because they do it 1000 times with the same movement does not make that the only deadlift style. And when I say style, I refer to the movement used to deadlift. A (key being ‘A’) deadlift is a range, A squat deadlift is movement and range, the movement implemented to perform the lift and achieve the range.
‘In your racked deadlift, the racked bell forces you to keep the torso more vertical, and your knees come forward much more than a standard dead lift.’ I agree -> [ref to this article]
‘My query was does that change the exercise from being a deadlift to a squat’ No. It’s a Deadlift Squat style. The flaw in your logic, I think, is that you see a deadlift as solely hip hinge, which I deduct by the question ‘My query was does that change the exercise from being a deadlift to a squat’. Separate movement from ranges. [ref to another interesting article]”.