Kettlebell Deadlift Form—3 things to get it right

The correct kettlebell deadlift form is super important to prevent injury but also to target the intended muscle groups. Not using a correct deadlift form can result in injury and time wasted.

Three things to get it right: The first is a straight or slightly hollow back; the second is to keep the neck in line with the rest of the spine; the third is to keep the shins vertical (for the hip hinge deadlift). Read on for much more information about the deadlift, and follow us on social media for other kettlebell tips.

The correct form for a kettlebell hip hinge deadlift as demonstrated in the video is:

  1. The back remains neutral or slightly hollow
  2. The shins remain vertical
  3. The hips move slightly back and down
  4. The arms are straight and hanging
  5. The neck follows the rest of the spine

On page links:

Kettlebell Deadlift Form

How to Perform the Kettlebell Deadlift

  1. Feet neutrally placed under the hips
  2. Place the kettlebell in between the feet
  3. Break at the hip and knee joints
  4. Bend forward and push the hips back
  5. Keep the spine neutral throughout the movement
  6. Keep the shins vertical
  7. Grab hold of the handle
  8. Brace the core
  9. Pull the shoulder blades slightly together and down to keep the shoulders back
  10. Push the feet into the ground and distribute the force over the full feet
  11. Focus on the back of the upper legs driving the weight up
  12. Focus on the pelvis moving and coming back upright
  13. The spine should do nothing but stay erect in a neutral to slightly hollow position
  14. The arms should remain straight and hang loosely
  15. Come fully upright
  16. Look ahead
  17. Reverse the movement
  18. Place weight gently on the ground
  19. Release
  20. Repeat

Correct placement of the kettlebell will assist with great kettlebell deadlift form. The placement of the kettlebell is dictated by where the shoulders end up at the bottom of the hip hinge. The kettlebell should be positioned directly under the shoulders which is usually between the feet with the middle of the bell being in line with the toes.

The spine can be nice and straight or slightly hollow, which is the opposite of slouching. Unlock the kettlebell deadlift golden tip that will keep your back safe and increase the efficiency of your deadlift.

As covered in the video, the deadlift can also be performed with a squat movement, it can even be performed with a common lunge or a Curtsy lunge. If you’re interested in learning a whole lot more, and potentially opening a whole new world, then check out our kettlebell workouts or kettlebell exercise encyclopedia. Unlock the Curtsy lunge deadlift video further below.

The above photo sequence does not show the weight dead on the ground, but this is the movement pattern for the squat deadlift which you can recognize by the shoulders remaining high and the ankles bending. Join our mailing list below for more awesome kettlebell tips, combos, and workouts.

Kettlebell Good Morning

The kettlebell Good Morning is the same movement pattern as the hip hinge deadlift. It can also be performed using one joint less, i.e. just the hips and taking out the knee joints. This is called a stiff-legged Good Morning. The kettlebell rests on the upper back for this exercise which makes it a lot harder to lift the weight.

Kettlebell RDL

The kettlebell RDL stands for Romanian deadlift and is performed with the same movement pattern as the previous exercises. The difference is the height from which the weight is lifted which is from a hang and not dead. For some reason along the way, a lot of people think a deadlift means hip hinge, and performing an exercise with a hip hinge movement in it is a deadlift, this is incorrect. Lifting weight dead from the ground or platform is a deadlift. Lifting a weight that’s hanging is a hang lift.

Romanian Deadlift With Kettlebell

You can perform the Romanian Deadlift with one or two kettlebells. It’s a great exercise to keep tension on the muscles. With a deadlift, you return the weight back to dead and thus releasing tension. It’s also a great exercise for those that are lacking flexibility, i.e. not being able to keep the back straight when going all the way to dead.

Kettlebell Squat Deadlift

The squat deadlift variation is a great exercise to work the bigger muscle groups and remove some of the load on the back. I programmed them in a kettlebell deadlift Tabata workout for which I’ll post a video further below. This deadlift variation is also great to create kettlebell combos like the deadlift into the renegade row combo for which a video is further below.

Squat Deadlift Form
Squat Deadlift Form

Kettlebell Deadlift Variations

There are many kettlebell deadlift variations, most are covered in our kettlebell exercise encyclopedia or on our YouTube channel. The books in our shop will not only teach you how how to get your kettlebell deadlift form right, but also common mistakes, alternatives, and progressions. I highly suggest checking out our shop if you’re keen on becoming better at kettlebells. In the meantime, here are a few deadlift variations for you to explore:

  1. Hip hinge deadlift
  2. Stiff-legged hip hinge deadlift
  3. Suitcase deadlift
  4. Staggered deadlift
  5. Reverse lunge deadlift
  6. Curtsy lunge deadlift
  7. Squat deadlift
  8. Single leg deadlift
  9. And so on…

Kettlebell Deadlift FAQ

Can you do deadlifts with kettlebells?

Yes, you can, and you should definitely do deadlifts with kettlebells. It adds a whole new dimension to the movements. You can do deadlifts with one or two kettlebells, hip hinge or squat style, and many other variations.

Where should I feel the kettlebell deadlift?

You should feel the kettlebell deadlift (hip hinge) in the back of your upper legs and in the gluteal muscles. Those are the main areas for the prime-movers, but you will also feel it in your back as that works to remain erect, your traps to keep your shoulders up, and your grip, as that is what allows you to lift the weight.

Do kettlebell swings increase deadlift?

Yes, kettlebell swings can increase your max deadlift. As the movement pattern is the same, working nearly identical muscles. The reps are generally much higher and faster for kb swings which increases muscular endurance and power. The benefits of a stronger core, etc., all transfer to the deadlift.

Are kettlebell swings the same as deadlifts?

No, kettlebell swings are not the same as deadlifts. Yes, the movement pattern is the same for the hip hinge swing as it is for the hip hinge deadlift, but that does not make the exercise the same. The kettlebell deadlift is a slow lift and the kettlebell swing is generally an explosive and ballistic exercise.

Should I deadlift with shoes on?

No, not if it’s a question of running shoes or no shoes. The best is without shoes, but flat-soled shoes with a big toe box and flexible soles are also a good choice. You want to be as connected to the ground as possible so you can distribute the weight over the whole of your feet evenly. More.

Is form important when deadlifting?

Yes, the correct kettlebell deadlift form is super important to avoid not only injury but also for the exercise to be effective. The exercise is effective when it works the intended muscle groups.

Deadlift Videos

I’ve covered a lot of information about the kettlebell deadlift form, variations, and more, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to learning about kettlebell training. I highly recommend you check out the books, courses, and online certifications on this website to take your knowledge a big leap forward. For those that want to learn and work out from home, we have the Caveman Inner Circle which is a private group solely focused on improving technique and completing workouts from our 170+ workout library. Below are the videos referenced above and others related to the kettlebell deadlift.

Kettlebell Tabata Deadlift Workout

Let us know on social media if you completed this workout. There are two other Tabata workouts on our channel that you can complete either in the same session or on another day.

Curtsy Lunge Deadlift

Deadlift into Renegade Rows

Kettlebell Deadlift Golden Tip

The Difference Between a Hip Hinge and a Squat

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Shoes

As previously mentioned, I work out in bare feet as much as possible, but when I do have to wear shoes I wear Vibrams or XeroShoes Prio Running and Fitness. I can highly recommend either of those. You do have to take your time to get used to them, you can’t convert from always wearing shoes to wearing these all the time, and a step-by-step progression is required.

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