Suspender Band Deadlifts

This one LOOKS very strange but I can promise you it's a REALLY good one.

I came up with this one as a way to do assisted deadlifts using bands but without having anything to anchor bands onto in order to give assistance out of the bottom. This makes it great for home-gym use and for regular-gym use in acclimating your body to heavier deadlift loads than you could normally use.

It's a really interesting technique in that you're still carrying the entire load throughout the exercise, even at the bottom where the bands are helping you. It's just how the bands are position on the bar and your body that helps spring the bar off the floor.


You'll truly either think this is crazy or genius or both...

Now obviously for this one, you're going to need training bands.

This is my recommended source for training bands. (Note: Use Coupon Code "rbtfitstep" to get 10% off your purchase of a band package)

I'm going to show you how the exercise is done first, then I'll show you how to attach the bands onto the bar.

I'm using my Super Deadlift Bar (it's a Trap Bar with an open design) for this exercise but you can definitely use a straight bar for it as well. Just attach the bands outside where your legs will be and you're set.

I prefer this style of bar over the straight bar because I find it makes for a more natural movement, plus, I'm not training for competitive powerlifting and have no real need to train the specific technique for competition deadlifts.



Here's the setup...the bands are hitched onto the bar.

Suspender Deadlifts

Kneel down and lean forward then put the left band over the right side of your head so it's across your RIGHT shoulder.

Suspender Deadlifts

Now do the same with the right band (it goes over to your LEFT shoulder).

Suspender Deadlifts

Now you've got that "cross-your-heart" look going...notice how in this position, the bands are already stretched - you don't want any looseness in the bands at all here.

Suspender Deadlifts

Now get to your feet (you'll have to stay hunched over while you get to your feet) and get into the start position of the deadlift. Here's where the fun begins...

Suspender Deadlifts

As you start the lift off the ground, your upper body comes up. As your upper body comes up, the bands then pull up on the bar, giving you assistance getting the bar off the ground. This instantly allows you to lift more weight off the ground than you could without the bands while still keeping the entire load on yourself!

Suspender Deadlifts

Come all the way up to full-standing position. That's one rep! Then set the bar down as you normally would and go again.

Suspender Deadlifts

This admittedly strange-looking technique makes for excellent training if you have trouble with the top half of the deadlift movement or if you just want to use heavier-than-normal loads on the deadlift but either don't have access to anything to hitch bands to up above you or if you want to keep the whole load on yourself the whole time but just want a little "pop" off the bottom.

I like this one for going heavier than normal and it's also quite good for doing higher-rep sets with moderately heavy weight.

Here's an alternate view of the exercise.

Suspender Deadlifts

Suspender Deadlifts

Suspender Deadlifts

Suspender Deadlifts

Suspender Deadlifts


How To Set It Up

As I mentioned above, this works fine on a straight bar, too, so don't be put off by the Super Deadlift Bar here.

It's tough to show perfectly well in still shots but I've included this in the demo video as well, so hopefully it won't be too hard to follow.

Put one end of the band around the bar.

Suspender Deadlifts

Pull it through the loop of the band on the other side (called a bale hitch).


Hitching the Bands

I've got some better pics of this style of loop done on a chin-up bar - It's the exact same idea except in this deadlift exercise, it'll be looped onto an free-weight bar instead of a chin-up bar.

See how the short loop gets pulled through the long loop.

Now it gets pulled all the way through and is locked in nice and tight.


Back to the exercise setup...

Suspender Deadlifts

This looping through basically locks the band in on itself. For my height, I had to loop the end of the band around a second time through to decrease the length of the band. This makes it shorter so I get more tension in the band while doing the exercise.

When I had a single loop through, the band was loose on me. Something to keep in mind when trying this one - if the band is loose, you'll need to put the end of the band around through a second time.

Here's what the finished product looks like.

Suspender Deadlifts

Now you're set!

Just repeat the procedure on the other side. When using a straight bar, it's the exact same deal - just do your best to make sure the bands are EVENLY PLACED on the bar. Use the smooth center ring and the smooth "O" ring as your guide.

To figure out where to put the bands the first time, set your feet where you normally would when doing deadlifts then eyeball it so you have a few inches of clearance. The bands will grip on the bar tightly and won't slide inwards at all when you're doing the exercise.

Learn how to perform regular Straight Bar Deadlifts here.



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