Deadlift Progressions for Golfers

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Golfers should deadlift.

One of the best ways to get strong is to incorporate deadlifts into your program. Remember strong golfers can hit the ball further and possess more control over their swing.

If you want to add distance to your shots and shoot lower scores, you should find a good deadlift variation for you.

Deadlifts get a bad rap sometimes because they are “bad for your back.”

There are a lot of things that are bad for your back including:

  1. Prolonged sitting
  2. Prolonged standing
  3. Sleeping on your stomach
  4. Swinging a golf club
  5. Situps and crunches
  6. Lacking core stability
  7. Lacking glute strength

Deadlifts only become bad for your back when they are done poorly. Poor deadlifts happen by using in appropriate weight and/or the wrong progression.

There is nothing inherently wrong with deadlifts but bad choices can quickly make a good thing bad.

Deadlift technique is something that constantly gets critiqued. I am happy if someone’s back stays neutral, hips are higher than the knees, and the head is also neutral. How I get someone into this position may change depending on the individual.

There is a progression that I typically like to use when someone is learning the deadlift pattern.

KB Deadlift 

The KB deadlift is the first in my progression. It is one of the easiest variations to learn. The KB can also start out to be very light to ensure that the proper pattern is learned.

I also will aggressively load these deadlifts. If someone has the pattern down, I want them on the heaviest KB they can handle as quickly as possible. A lot of progress can be made in a short amount of time with this variation.

The only downside with this variation is that you are limited by the weight and availability of kettlebells.

2 KB Deadlift 

There are two stances that we can use for the 2 KB deadlift, sumo and conventional. Sumo has the kettlebells inside the feet and conventional is outside the feet. I often like sumo.

This variation is also pretty simple to master. If you have heavy enough kettlebells, it can be loaded up pretty good.


The upper back has more demand on this variation because of the added loading.

Alternate: Using a landmine for a deadlift can be an alternate exercise for the  KB deadlift. The demands and loading capabilities are very similar. 

Hex Bar Deadlift

I am a big fan of the hex bar deadlift and most of my athletes will end their progression here.

The hex bar utilizes handles on the sides of the body which brings the weight more center of the body. The quads will also get some more activation to help the lift. Both of these reasons make it easier to learn and load when compared to a barbell, while still getting great glute strength benefits.

The problem with the hex bar is that not many places have a lot or have them at all.

Barbell Deadlift

Again we have two stances to use with the barbell. It is the most advanced progression of the deadlift variations.

One thing to remember is that barbell does not necessarily mean heavy. We have kettlebells heavier than a 65lb barbell. Advanced does not mean heavy.

But on the other hand a barbell can be loaded greatly. How much you load definitely depends on you.

The best part about all of these variations is that the same mechanics apply to all. What makes one more advanced than the other is how hard it is to keep a good position.

**An alternate to all of these variations is elevation.

Elevating the barbell, hex bar, or KB is a great way to get in a good position. Those that do not have the hip mobility to barbell deadlift from the floor can raise the bar up on boxes, plates, mats, etc.

A higher bar position allows for an easier position to get into. Since the deadlift is simply a means to play better golf, how you deadlift should not really matter. The only concern is that you are constantly challenging yourself.

Deadlifts are included in the 15 Best Exercises for Golfers. Have you got your copy yet? Its FREE.