The barbell deadlift is an effective way to train your lower back, butt and legs, but it requires experience to perform safely. Whether you’re working on developing your technique or are recovering from an injury, there is no need to forego training on these muscle groups. There are a variety of exercises available that allow you to safely continue your training.
Smith Machine Deadlift
The Smith machine deadlift mimics the movements of the barbell deadlift but doesn’t require the dynamic stabilization necessary to balance the weights when using the barbell. Load the machine with your desired weight and stand with your feet about shoulder-width apart. Bend your knees and grasp the bar. Keep your back straight and your eyes looking forward and use the muscles of your back and legs to return to a standing position, lifting the weights off the floor. Hold this position for a second and return to the starting position. Repeat according to your exercise program.
Like the barbell deadlift, the squat strengthens the muscles of your lower back, legs and butt. Stand with your feet about shoulder-width apart with a loaded barbell across the back of your shoulders. Hold the bar with both hands and bend both knees as you keep your back straight and your eyes looking forward. Continue bending until your thighs are nearly parallel to the floor. Hold this position for a second and straighten both knees to return to the starting position. Repeat until exhaustion or according to your exercise program.
Seated Leg Press
The seated leg press works your thighs and butt, similar to the deadlift. After selecting your desired weight, sit down in the leg press machine with your back firmly against the back rest and your feet on the weight plate about shoulder-width apart. Use the muscles of your butt and legs to straighten both knees at the same time, lifting the weights. Be sure you don’t lock your knees, as this can cause injury. Hold this position for a second before using a slow and controlled motion to return to the starting position. Repeat according to your exercise program.
Stiff Leg Barbell Good Morning
Like the deadlift, caution should be used when starting the stiff leg barbell good morning because it can cause injury if performed improperly. Load a barbell with your desired weight and place it across the back of your shoulders. Hold the bar with a wide grip with your palms facing forward. Keep your eyes looking forward and your back straight. While keeping your knees straight, bend over at your hips until your upper body is nearly parallel to the floor. Hold this position for a second before using the muscles of your lower back to return to the standing position. Repeat for your desired number of repetitions.
Keith Strange spent more than a decade as a staff writer for newspapers in the southeastern United States, winning numerous awards for his work. He has a B.S. in wellness/sports medicine from Averett University and completed graduate work in exercise physiology. Strange is a former competitive martial artist and holds a third-degree black belt in tae kwon do.