Best Deadlift Accessories Reviewed [Boost Your Lift]

Written
Zing Coach
Medically reviewed
Walter Gjergja
6

 min

Published on 

May 6, 2024

Maximize your deadlift potential with essential accessories. Learn how the right gear and techniques can improve your form and increase your lifts.

Best Deadlift Accessories Reviewed [Boost Your Lift]
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Key takeaways

Fact checked

The deadlift is a fundamental strength training exercise that engages multiple muscle groups; it's a pivotal part of weightlifting and is known for effectively building full-body muscle size and strength. 

Integrating deadlift accessory exercises can improve your deadlift performance, improving your conventional deadlift technique and muscle coordination.

Here are the most effective deadlift accessory exercises, their benefits, and step-by-step form instructions to make your deadlift stronger and safer.

Key Takeaways

  • Understand the role and effectiveness of various deadlift accessories.
  • Learn the correct form and techniques to perform deadlift assistance exercises safely.
  • Learn about the specific benefits of accessory exercises for boosting deadlift performance.
  • Get tips on integrating these exercises into your workout plan for balanced muscle development.
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What are deadlift accessories?

Deadlift accessory exercises are specific exercises that complement your overall deadlift performance. The best deadlift accessories target key muscle groups and mechanical aspects involved in deadlifting, preventing injuries, and correcting muscle imbalances.

Why are they important?

Deadlift accessory exercises aren't just "nice-to-haves"; if you're serious about improving your deadlifts, your workouts must include these exercises to improve deadlifts. Here's why:

  1. Strength Gains: Overcome plateaus by targeting weaker muscles or parts of the lift, such as the drive or lockout phases, preventing you from progressing to heavier deadlifts and fueling your fitness transformation.
  2. Technique Mastery: Refine your lifting technique and efficiency by emphasizing important aspects crucial for effective and safe deadlifting, like hip drive, grip strength, and a neutral spine.
  3. Injury Prevention: Strengthen deadlift muscle groups, such as the posterior chain muscles (glutes, hamstrings, and lower back), to reduce stress on these areas during conventional deadlifts.

The Best Deadlift Accessory Exercises and How They Help: Zing Coach's Top Picks

If you're wondering what exercises to do and pair with deadlifts to maximize your lifts, this is our pick of the best accessories for deadlifts.

You'll notice that there are some deadlift variations on the list: that's because we're concerned with improving your conventional deadlifts, and variations help you do that by targeting specific muscle groups or movements involved in your regular deadlift.

Hip Thrusts

The hip thrust is a lower body exercise that targets the glutes and hamstrings, critical drivers in the deadlift movement. By isolating these areas, hip thrusts emphasize the hip extension, which is crucial for the lockout phase of a deadlift. Therefore, hip thrusts should be in any accessory workouts for conventional deadlifts.

How to Do Hip Thrusts

  1. Sit on the ground with your back against a bench, knees bent, and a weighted barbell over your hips.
  2. Drive through your heels, pushing your hips upward while squeezing your glutes at the top.
  3. Slowly lower your hips back to the starting position without resting on the floor.
  4. Keep your chin tucked and spine neutral throughout the movement.

When to use it?

Incorporate hip thrusts into your workouts to build power for the lockout phase of your deadlift, especially if you find this area a weak point during lifts or if you are recovering from a lower back injury and need to strengthen your glutes and hamstrings safely.

Ab Wheel Rollouts

Ab wheel rollouts strengthen the core, particularly the abs and lower back. This makes them great exercises to do with deadlifts since a strong core is crucial for protecting your spine while deadlifting.

How to Do Ab Wheel Rollouts

  1. Kneel on the floor with the ab wheel in front of you.
  2. Roll the wheel forward slowly until your body is stretched out and parallel to the floor.
  3. Use your core to pull yourself back to the starting position.
  4. Ensure your back does not sag and your hips do not pike up excessively.

When to use it?

Ab wheel rollouts build the core strength essential for maintaining posture and stability in heavy lifts like deadlifts and squats. Integrate them into your routine if you're struggling to brace effectively or are worried about a lower back injury.

Romanian Deadlifts

The Romanian deadlift (RDL) is a variation that targets the posterior chain, primarily emphasizing the hamstrings and lower back. RDLs enhance the hip-hinge movement crucial for deadlifting, improving your ability to maintain a neutral spine during conventional deadlifts.

How to Do Romanian Deadlifts

  1. Stand with feet hip-width apart, holding a barbell in front of you.
  2. Hinge at the hips to lower the barbell while keeping your knees slightly bent.
  3. Lower the barbell until you feel a stretch in your hamstrings, then return to the starting position.
  4. Keep your back straight and core engaged throughout the exercise.

When to use it?

RDLs are particularly beneficial if you're struggling with the initial phase of the deadlift or if your hamstrings are a limiting factor in your ability to lift heavier weights. They're also excellent for those recovering from or aiming to prevent hamstring injuries.

Trap Bar Deadlifts

Of all the deadlift accessory exercises, the trap bar deadlift is particularly useful for improving leg drive while reducing lower back strain. With its side handles, this variation allows for a more upright torso position, which can help lifters manage heavier weights more comfortably and with a lower risk of injury.

How to Do Trap Bar Deadlifts

  1. Step into the center of the trap bar, feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. Bend at the hips and knees to grasp the handles, chest up and back straight.
  3. Engage your core and begin the lift by driving through your heels.
  4. Extend your hips and knees simultaneously to stand up straight.
  5. Reverse the motion to lower the trap bar back to the ground.

When to use it?

When comparing the trap bar deadlift to the conventional deadlift, the former is ideal for beginners due to its simpler technique and reduced spinal load, which is suitable for individuals with back concerns or previous injuries. It's great for building leg strength and power, as it emphasizes leg drive, and useful for high-volume sessions aimed at muscle growth due to its ease on the back.

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Rack Pulls

Rack pulls are a variation of the deadlift performed from a raised position, typically starting from just above the knee. They focus on the latter part of the deadlift movement, reducing the range of motion to concentrate effort on the lockout phase. When it comes to rack pulls vs. deadlifts, the rack pull is one of the most useful deadlift complementary exercises for strengthening the upper back. 

How to Do Rack Pulls

  1. Set up in a power rack with the barbell positioned around knee height.
  2. Grip the bar as you would in a regular deadlift. 
  3. Lift by extending your hips and knees.
  4. Lockout at the top.
  5. Keep your back straight and core tight throughout the lift.

When to use it?

Adjusting the range of motion to focus more on the lockout phase allows rack pulls, making rack pulls particularly effective for strengthening your traps and the upper back, providing enhanced stability and power during the full deadlift. Rack pulls are especially great for shorter lifters who may excel in the lockout phase but need to work more on developing strength in the upper portion of the lift due to their naturally shorter range of motion. Knowing your body composition is a great way to refine your workout plan.

Deficit Deadlifts

Performed by standing on a raised platform to increase the range of motion, the lower starting point of the deficit deadlift demands greater flexibility from the lower body.

How to Do Deficit Deadlifts

  1. Stand on a stable platform or weight plates with the barbell in front.
  2. Perform a standard deadlift with increased depth due to the elevation, which requires more flexibility and strength from a lower position.
  3. Ensure you maintain a neutral spine and tight core throughout the movement.

When to use it?

Deficit deadlifts are your go-to when the goal is to increase the range of motion and improve the initial pull from the ground, a common sticking point for taller lifters who struggle with the bottom phase of the deadlift due to the flexibility required to move the bar. Flexibility is crucial for deadlifting as it affects your ability to perform the lift with proper form. Take a flexibility test to determine where to improve your flexibility.

Snatch Grip (Low or High) Pulls

Snatch Grip pulls, both the low or high variations, utilize a broader grip to increase the range of motion and target the upper back, traps, and posterior chain.

How to Do Snatch Grip (Low or High) Pulls

  1. Grip the barbell with a broad, snatch-like grip.
  2. From a deadlift position, explosively pull the bar towards your chest (high pull) or belly level (low pull), leading with the elbows.
  3. Keep the bar close to your body and focus on a powerful extension of the hips and legs.

When to use it?

Snatch-grip low or high pulls are Excellent for developing power and speed in the posterior chain. They're beneficial for weightlifters looking to improve their explosive movements.

Dimel Deadlifts

One of the most useful accessory lifts for deadlifts, the Dimel deadlift is a partial deadlift focusing on the rapid transition from a slightly bent knee position to full extension.

How to Do Dimel Deadlifts

  1. Start with the bar at knee level, using a lighter weight than your standard deadlift.
  2. Rapidly extend your hips and knees to lift the bar to the hip level.
  3. Lower back down to the knee level.
  4. Keep the movements quick and explosive.

When to use it?

Dimel deadlifts enhance the lockout strength of the deadlift and help you develop explosive power in the hips and glutes.

Barbell Front Squats

The good ol' front squat is a compound movement that targets the quads, upper back, and core, many of the same exercises used in the deadlift.

How to Do Front Squats

  1. Position the barbell just above the chest on the front shoulders, with arms crossed or in a clean grip.
  2. Descend into a squat, keeping elbows high to prevent the bar from rolling.
  3. Maintain an upright torso and drive up through the heels to return to the start.

When to use it?

Front squats are excellent for improving quad strength and thoracic extension, both crucial for a solid deadlift setup and overall posture improvement.

Zing's Tips on Getting the Most Out of Your Workout with Deadlift Accessory Training

  • Integrate exercises like rack pulls and deficit deadlifts to target different phases of your deadlift movement, enhancing both strength and technique.
  • Use a combination of hip thrusts and Romanian deadlifts regularly to maintain balance in your posterior chain development.
  • Schedule training to include these accessories on your deadlift days, allowing for targeted improvements without overtraining.

Incorporating deadlift assistance exercises into your routine enhances your main lift and builds a stronger, more resilient body. Whether you are a beginner or an advanced lifter, these accessories can help you refine your technique, increase your strength, and achieve your lifting goals more effectively. 

Enhance Your Deadlifts with Personalized Support from Zing Coach!

Are you looking to take your deadlifts to the next level? Zing Coach offers personalized workout plans tailored to your goals, ensuring you maximize every lift. With your AI Coach available 24/7, you get the guidance and support you need to refine your technique, boost your strength, and optimize your fitness journey. Try Zing Coach today and transform your deadlift performance with expert-backed strategies and real-time support!

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FAQ

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