Crossfit Workouts

Deadlift WOD Variations – Find Your Technique

CrossFit is not about limitations. It’s about gaining more ground and removing those limitations, which is why variations exist. This is especially true for a deadlift WOD, because many beginners believe there’s only one way to do it. The great thing about deadlift variations is that you can make them work for you. Do you have an injury? Does your size or posture make a conventional deadlift too uncomfortable?

Do a deadlift WOD that fits your ability.

You can still use the deadlift to build muscle and strength, without having to stick to the conventional approach. It’s just a matter of using the variations the right way. To help all the beginners find a better footing for their deadlift WOD, here are some variations you can try.

The Rack Pull Deadlift WOD

Essentially the rack pull is exactly like a conventional deadlift. The only difference is that you don’t have to lift from the ground. Not everyone has the mobility to pull off the ground with a healthy posture, so set the pins on the rack so that you lift with a straight back. Apart from fixing the mobility problem, chances are you’ll be able to lift a little more weight, seeing as you’re not pulling from the ground. Rack pulls are very effective in terms of strengthening the upper back and traps.

deadlift wod

Sumo Deadlift

The Sumo deadlift WOD is going to see you pulling from the ground, but you’ll be spreading more of the tension to your legs. You’ll definitely feel it in the the glutes and quads, but this particular deadlift allows for a more upright torso position. For many CrossFitters, they find it easier to pull with this variation.


The Trap Bar Deadlift

With the trap bar you’re looking at a completely different piece of equipment. Instead of a straight barbell, you stand inside a frame with handles and weights on each end. Fundamentally it works exactly like a typical deadlift, but there’s a difference regarding weight distribution. In other words, it takes the pressure off the lower back and utilizes a squatting position. However, it’s not the type of equipment you’re going to find in every gym.

deadlift wod

The Romanian Deadlift

The target areas for the Romanian deadlift include hamstrings and glutes. There’s less pressure on the knees, which is why it’s so popular. But the other reason why we suggest this variation above the stifleg deadlift, is because the latter can be a little dangerous. Instead of keeping the knee locked in place, allow it to bend about 20 degrees or so.

The Kettlebell Sumo Deadlift

By itself, there are several variations to the kettlebell Sumo deadlift, but from the picture you can deduce the basic technique. Despite the similarity in names, the technique between the barbell Sumo and the kettlebell Sumo is different. You’ve got less weight to worry about, you’re in more of a squatting position, and the pull can start with a straight posture.

Sumo Kettlebell Deadlift

It goes without saying that this deadlift WOD is perfect for beginners in terms of building foundation. Start small, focus on the right technique, and push the limits from there.

Start Experimenting

There’s a reason why there are so many variations, and it’s because not everybody has the same mobility. For some CrossFitters the deadlift is more than just an intimidating workout, it’s also an exercise that puts a lot of pressure on the body. And yes, the variations will see you increase in strength just like a conventional deadlift would. In addition to testing the variations, consider using more than just one. It’s your WOD, and if it doesn’t do you any good then you’re wasting your time.

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