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How To Do Deadlifts Without A Barbell (4 Glute-Focused Alternatives)

How To Do Deadlifts Without A Barbell

Last Updated on June 16, 2022 by Femniqe


In this quick guide you’ll learn how to do deadlifts without a barbell and still reap the benefits such as getting a bigger and rounder butt, plus a tighter waistline. 

If you don’t have access to a barbell, no need to worry. 

You’ll discover 4 deadlift alternatives that will engage all the gluteal muscles, all without the need for a barbell.

However, one important thing you should remember when doing these deadlift alternatives, make sure you perform the movements slow and controlled.

This way your glutes will experience longer Time Under Tension(TUT). 

Time under tension is the amount of time that a muscle is under stress during an exercise. The longer the time under tension, the greater the muscle growth.

Research has shown that it works well for muscle development, so use it to your advantage.

How To Do Deadlifts Without A Barbell With 4 Alternatives

1. Dumbbell Romanian Deadlift

The Romanian deadlift not only targets your glutes but also the hamstrings and lower back. Unlike the traditional deadlift, the Romanian deadlift is performed with both legs slightly bent.

how to deadlift without barbel - dumbell Romanian deadlift

This staggered stance helps to keep your hips and shoulders level as you lower the weight down, which helps to target your glutes and hamstrings more effectively.

Recommended dumbbell weight: 15-25 pounds.

Here’s how to do dumbbell Romanian deadlifts:

  • Get into the starting position A as shown above standing shoulder-width apart holding the dumbbell right above your ankles and back straight
  • Now slowly raise your upper body with the weight until you reach to position B, at this point squeeze your glutes for 2-3 seconds
  • Return to position A and repeat the move
  • Set a goal to do 3 sets of 15 reps

2. Single Leg Deadlift

With this deadlift alternative you’ll be able to hit the gluteus maximus really well. 

It also works the core muscles and helps improve balance and stability. You can do this move with or without weight. 

If you are just starting out, it is best to use no weight or a very light weight until you get the hang of the movement.

single leg deadlift

Here’s how to do it:

  • Start by standing on one leg, with your other leg lifted off the ground behind you
  • Slowly bend forward at the waist, keeping your back straight, until the dumbbell is a few inches above the ground
  • Now slowly raise yourself back up to the starting position
  • Repeat the exercise 10-15 times, then switch legs and repeat

3. Kettlebell Single Deadlift

If you want to work your whole body, not just the glutes the kettlebell single deadlift is a great choice. This exercise targets your glutes, legs, back, and core. Plus it can be done with a moderate or heavy weight.

kettlebell deadlift for glutes

How to do it:

  • To do the kettlebell single deadlift, start with the weight on the floor in front of you
  • Hinge at your hips to reach down and grab the kettlebell with one hand
  • Keep your back straight and your core engaged as you lift the weight up to standing
  • Reverse the movement to lower the kettlebell back to the floor that’s one rep
  • Do 10-12 reps on one side, then switch hands and repeat

4. Wide Stance Deadlift

The wide stance deadlift with dumbbells will help you build a stronger butt as all 3 gluteal muscles are targeted. It is a compound exercise that works the quads, hamstrings and core.

How To Do Deadlifts Without A Barbell with wide stance

Here’s how to do a wide stance deadlift with a dumbbell: 

  • Start by standing with your feet about shoulder-width apart, holding a dumbbell with both hands 
  • Bend your knees slightly and hinge forward at the hips, keeping your back straight and your core engaged. 
  • Let the dumbbells hang down in front of your legs as shown in position B
  • Keeping your back straight, lower the dumbbells to the floor, then drive through your heels to stand back up

If you want to make the exercise more challenging, you can hold the dumbbells in one hand or use a heavier weight. 

You can also do the exercise with one leg raised, which will put more emphasis on your glutes and hamstrings.

Deadlifts For Glute Growth: Why They Work

Your glutes are one of the most important muscle groups in the body, and they’re responsible for a lot more than just making your butt look good. 

Strong glutes are essential for everything from stabilizing your pelvis and hips, to helping you walk and run properly. 

And one of the best exercises for building strong glutes is the deadlift. Above we just covered how to do deadlifts without a barbell and they can be done at home or the gym.

There are a few reasons why the deadlift is very effective for building glutes. 

First, it’s a compound exercise, meaning it works multiple muscle groups at once. In addition to the glutes, deadlifts also work the hamstrings, quads, and core. 

And second, it’s a very natural movement. We’ve been picking things up off the ground since we were babies, so our bodies are very good at doing it.

When done correctly, deadlifts are a very safe exercise. However, they do require good form and technique. 

Make sure you start light and use a weight that you can handle. As your glutes get stronger, you can gradually increase the amount of weight you’re lifting.

If you’re looking for great exercises to help build a bigger and rounder butt then make sure to add some of these deadlift variations to your glute training. 

How Often Should You Deadlift For Glutes

How often should you deadlift for optimal results?

The answer may depend on your specific goals. If you’re trying to build strength, then you might lift heavy weights for fewer reps, such as 5 sets of 5 reps. 

But if you’re trying to build glute size, then you might do more reps with lighter weights, such as 3 sets of 12 reps.

In general, you should deadlift at least 1-2 times per week if you want to see results. But if you’re really looking to maximize your results, then you might want to deadlift 2-3 times per week.

So there you have it. If you want to improve your glute strength and size, make sure to include the deadlift in your workout routine, and do it at least once per week.

Now You Know How To Do Deadlifts Without A Barbell 

To get the best results from deadlifts make sure to perform the moves in a slow controlled manner to get maximum glute activation.

Add exercises such as Dumbbell Romanian Deadlift, Single Leg Deadlift and the others listed above.

Knowing how to do deadlifts without a barbell gives you the advantage of not depending on the gym to perform it. You can do them with dumbbells, kettlebells and even without any weight. 


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