The Kettlebell Deadlift: A Beginner’s Guide [2023]

Last Updated on December 13, 2022 by Patrick

Table of Contents

Kettlebell Deadlifts

The kettlebell deadlift is a great exercise for beginners and advanced athletes alike. The movement has tons of benefits, but it can be hard to do correctly! In this article we’ll go over how to perform the lift properly and why you should incorporate it into your workouts. We’ll also provide some variations that will help challenge even seasoned lifters who are familiar with the workout.

Without further ado, let’s get into the KB deadlift!

Step By Step Guide

Below is a step by step guide of how to properly do the kettlebell deadlift.

Remember, just like during the barbell deadlift movement pattern, keep your back flat and push through your heels! This means that you should not round or arch your back when lifting the kettlebell, but rather maintain a nice straight line from ear to ankle.

If it helps with correct form, think about pushing your body away from the floor with your heels rather than pulling the kettlebell up.

Step One: Stand Up Straight With Your Feet Hip Width Apart And Pointed Outward A Little Bit

As we mentioned before, it is important not to round or arch your back during this kettlebell exercise.

Keeping a nice straight and flat lower back will help you stay safe and get the most benefit from the kb deadlift.

To help with this, stand up straight with your feet slightly wider than shoulder width apart and pointed outward a little bit. This will help you maintain correct kettlebell deadlift form during the lift.

Step Two: Reach Down And Grasp The Kettlebell Handle With Your Hands

Again, remember to keep your back flat. Reach down and grasp the kettlebell with your right hand, making sure to curl your fingers around it firmly so that you have a good grip.

Step Three: Bend Your Legs Slightly And Push Your Hips Back As You Lean Forward At The Waist With A Flat Lower Back

As you lean forward at the waist with a flat back and slightly bent legs, push your hips backward as if trying to sit in a chair or go into a squat position.

Step Four: Keeping Your Back Flat And Knees Bent, Lift The Kettlebell Up And Toward Your Waist

Once you have leaned forward and pushed your hips back as described in step three, it is time to lift the kettlebell up and toward your waist, pushing your hips forward as you lift.

Remember to keep your back flat and knees bent throughout this entire movement!

As always, keep pushing through your heels! This will not only help with the effectiveness of the exercise, but it is also safer for your back. If you start to lose form, stop lifting the kettlebell and reset your position before continuing.

Step Five: Hold The Kettlebell In Front Of Your Body With Both Hands And Lower It Back Down To The Floor

Once you have lifted the kettlebell all the way up to your waist, hold it in front of your body with both hands and lower it back down to the floor. Remember to keep your back flat and knees bent!

Note: Sometimes one kettlebell just isn’t enough for a good deadlift. There’s always the option of using two kettlebells when you don’t have a heavier weight!

Kettlebell Deadlift Benefits

The kettlebell deadlift is a great exercise for beginners because it works several major muscle groups at the same time.

It helps strengthen your hamstrings, glutes, hips and core while also improving flexibility in the upper back and shoulders. Getting stronger with this lift will help you perform other exercises more easily too!

There are tons of benefits from the kettlebell deadlift, but these are some of our favorites!

Great For Building Strength In Your Legs And Lower Back

One of the best benefits of performing this exercise is that it helps strengthen your legs and back. This will allow you to do more advanced variations of other exercises, such as squats and barbell deadlifts!

A Great Whole-Body Exercise That Works Your Legs And Butt

The kettlebell deadlift is a great whole-body exercise that will help you build strength and muscle in your legs and butt while also strengthening your core. This is an essential movement for anyone who wants to get stronger and look better!

Improves Your Athletic Ability And Overall Fitness Level

The kettlebell deadlift is a compound movement, meaning it works several different muscles at once! Since this exercise targets so many muscle groups simultaneously, it can dramatically improve your athletic ability and overall fitness level.

Gives You A Great Core Workout Too

In addition to giving you a great leg workout, the kettlebell deadlift also provides an amazing core workout as well! By engaging your glutes and strengthening your back muscles, this exercise improves posture and stability!

Great For Building Muscle And Burning Fat

The kettlebell deadlift is a great overall exercise that can help you burn fat and build muscle.

Even among compound movements, the deadlift is famous for full body muscle activation and the kettlebell version is no different.

This is because it recruits so many different muscle groups, allowing you to lift heavier weights and see better results in less time.


There are many different variations of the kettlebell deadlift that you can try once you have mastered this exercise. Here are just a few of our favorites!

Kettlebell Sumo Deadlift

The kettlebell sumo deadlift technique is an excellent variation of the regular deadlift that allows you to target your inner thighs, hips and glutes.

To perform the kettlebell sumo deadlift, get into a wide stance with your toes pointing outwards instead of in line with or behind your knees. This will help widen the range of motion while strengthening these muscles even more!

Single Leg Deadlift

The single leg deadlift is a great exercise that can help improve your balance, coordination, and stability.

To perform this exercise, start by standing on your right leg and bend forward at the hips to pick up the kettlebell from the ground with your opposite hand, swinging your left leg back behind you.

Keeping your knee bent slightly at all times will ensure that your body is balanced throughout the entire movement!

The single leg deadlift is definitely not an easy variation, so be sure to start off with a lighter weight before going for that really heavy kettlebell deadlift!

How Do You Do a One Armed Kettlebell Deadlift?

While this exercise looks quite complicated at first, it is actually fairly easy to learn! Once you get the hang of how to perform a regular kettlebell deadlift, try doing them one-armed.

Step One: Place A Kettlebell On The Floor In Front of You and Set Your Feet a Little Wider Than Shoulder Width

Start by placing a kettlebell on the floor and getting into optimal position to lift.

Step Two: Lean Forward And Push Your Hips Back, Just Like In A Regular Deadlift

Lean forward and push your hips back, just like in a regular deadlift. This will help you get into position to lift.

Step Three: Reach Down And Grab The Kettlebell With Your Right Hand

Reach down and grab the kettlebell with your right hand, making sure to keep your back flat and knees bent. You should now be in a squatting position with the kettlebell in front of you.

Step Four: Keeping Your Back Flat And Knees Bent, Drive The Kettlebell Up

Keeping your back flat and knees bent, drive the kettlebell up. Make sure to keep a good grip on the handle throughout this exercise! You will be standing straight up at the top of the movement.

Note: Switch arms when you switch feet so that you can balance out your workout.

Step Five: Keeping Your Back Flat, Lower The Bell Down To the Ground Again By Hinging At the Waist And Sitting Back

Keeping your back flat, lower the kettlebell down again by hinging at the waist and sitting back. This is one repetition of this exercise! Repeat these steps on the other side.


Are Kettlebells Good For Deadlifts?

Yes! Kettlebells are great for deadlifts!

Kettlebells are readily available in most gyms and come in a wide variety of weights. This is a great way to get started deadlifting because using lightweight kettlebells can really help your body get used to the motion.

Once your body is comfortable with the kettlebell deadlift, a heavier kettlebell can help you build more muscle and get a more strenuous workout.

How Heavy Should a Kettlebell Deadlift Be?

Although you should start with a light kettlebell when first learning the deadlift movement, you should be lifting a fairly heavy weight when doing the kettlebell deadlift otherwise.

As a compound movement, the kettlebell deadlift recruits multiple large muscles and it takes a good amount of weight to get good results. You may even want to deadlift two kettlebells!

That being said, the kettlebell deadlift does not require you to use a specific amount of weight in order for it to be effective. No matter if you’re using one or two kettlebells, as long as your form is correct and you are able to maintain good posture throughout the movement, then there’s no wrong answer!

Do Kettlebell Deadlifts Build Muscle?

Yes, the kettlebell deadlift is a great way to build muscle.

The exercise recruits so many different muscle groups, allowing you to lift heavier kettlebells and see better results in less time.

Plus, by engaging your glutes and strengthening your lower back muscles, the deadlift really helps increase stability and core strength! So if you’re looking to add some size and definition to your body, the kettlebell deadlift is a great place to start!

KB Deadlift Muscles Worked

The kettlebell deadlift works so many different muscle groups in both your upper body and lower body, especially your back and glutes!

This exercise recruits your glutes, hamstrings, and quads to pull the weight up towards you as well as heavily engaging your lower back and core muscles which help keep good posture throughout the movement. The stronger these stabilizing muscles become, and the more used to the movement your body gets, the easier it will be for you to maintain proper form and lift heavier weights.

The kb deadlift is a compound exercise that involves multiple muscle groups. The main muscles worked by the kettlebell deadlift are the glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps, and lower back muscles. These muscles work together to extend the hips and knees, allowing you to lift the kettlebell off the ground and into the desired position. The kettlebell deadlift is a great exercise for developing strength and power in the lower body, as well as improving overall stability and mobility.


Now that you know everything there is to know about the kettlebell deadlift, get out there and try it yourself! This exercise can be done anywhere with any amount of equipment so don’t let anything hold you back from achieving your fitness goals!

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Other Kettlebell Workouts

Looking for some other great kettlebell workouts?

Check out these 5 AWESOME Kettlebell Workouts for Beginners!

Kettlebell Swings Superguide!

Try out some Kettlebell Hip Thrusts to get those booty gains!

The Ultimate Guide to the Kettlebell Clean and Press

Kettlebell Halos are one of our favorite workouts with kettlebells!

Kettlebell Squats: How to and Why

Kettlebell Hollow Body Flutter Kicks

Kettlebell Figure 8s

Did you know there are different styles of kettlebell workouts? Check out our breakdown of kettlebell hardstyle vs softstyle!

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