The Kettlebell Deadlift

The Kettlebell Deadlift offers the perfect introduction into Kettlebell lifting and is the foundational movement that many of the more famous moves like the Swing and the Clean are built upon.


This might just look like you are ‘lifting the bell off the ground’ but it is HOW you lift it that is so important and the difference between building muscle or overextending and injury.


The deadlift kettlebell activates most of the muscles in the body and relies on the posterior chain consisting of the Glutes, Hamstrings and Back Extensors.


The single handed deadlift is pulled from between the legs which naturally puts the torso into a slight rotation and increases cross body core activation. If you start to snap your hips though at the top of this exercise it is also great preparation for the kettlebell swing.

3 Kettlebell deadlift benefits


1 – Full body muscle activation

The deadlift movement pattern uses a lot of muscles. It is the big hitter of movements and fundamentally helps us lift heavy objects from the floor using the power of the legs, buttocks, back, and core muscles.

“You should be able to lift more weight naturally using the kb deadlift than any other exercise”

The kettlebell deadlift muscles worked include:

  • Quadriceps
  • Hamstrings
  • Glutes
  • Adductors
  • Erector Spinae
  • Trapezius
  • Lower back
  • Forearms
  • Core

There are many other stabiliser muscles worked with the kb deadlift but these are the big prime movers.

2 – Improves posture

As you lift from the floor you are pulling the weight up using the power of the Glutes and Hamstrings while keeping the back in an isometric position with the strength of your core muscles.

In an age where we spend a lot of time sitting and leaning forwardsthe KB Deadlift helps counteract this posture and pull everything backwards, opening up the chest and shoulders.

3 – Great for fat loss

There are very few other exercises that use as many large and energy expensive muscles as the deadlift. The more muscle mass you can use when you exercise the more energy (or calories) are required to fuel that movement.

“When it comes to fat burning the kettlebell deadlift should not be ignored”


Kettlebell deadlift form in 6 steps


  1. Push the hips backwards maintaining a flat back
  2. Keep your weight back on your heels and chest up
  3. Allow the kettlebell to lower to the floor with a straight arm
  4. Pause at the bottom of the position
  5. Drive your hips forwards and stand tall
  6. Squeeze your buttocks tight and don’t lean backwards

The deadlift kettlebell focuses on movement from the hips while keeping a flat and isometrically (statically) maintained lower back.

One of the biggest problems with the kb deadlift along with other hip hinge based exercises, like the kettlebell swing, is that the movement often comes from the lower back rather than the hips.

Consistent lifting by hinging at the lower back will ultimately lead to serious back injuries. So it is important to learn to hinge at the hips and NOT at the lower back.

Video Tutorial of Single Arm Deadlift

Lisa Barwise

Author Lisa Barwise

Hi, I'm Lisa. I consider myself a Wellness Alchemist, the catalyst in the transformation of Strong Women around the world. Strong of mind, body and character.

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