Most strength trainers and lifters will tout the importance and effectiveness of deadlifts. In general, deadlifts are fantastic for working out a large area of muscles at the same time. But if you’re looking for a great way to really strengthen your core area of muscles, suitcase deadlifts are where you want to be.
In this article, we’ll address the importance of core strength, the difference between standard deadlifts and suitcase deadlifts, and how you can get started performing this exercise on your own. Let’s get started!
Why Is Core Strength Vital?
According to the Mayo Clinic, “Core exercises are an important part of a well-rounded fitness program.” But how does your body benefit from enhancing core strength? Take a look at these perks:
- Ab Tone and Definition – If you’re looking to tone and define your abdominal area, working on your core strength is definitely the way to do it. By doing core exercises, your abdominal muscles, pelvic muscles, back muscles, and more are engaged.
- Balance and Stability – Because core strength directly impacts your abdominal area, hips, lower back, and pelvis, you can experience increased balance and stability when you focus on defining this critical area.
- Improved Performance – By enhancing your core area’s strength, you can improve your performance in areas such as running, better posture, bending, walking, jumping, and more. Strong core muscles can also help reduce your chance of experiencing injury while performing any of these activities.
- Enhanced Strength Building Capabilities – You may experience a more improved experience performing other exercises and achieving your fitness goals when you have a sturdy core to work with.
What Are Deadlifts and How Can They Benefit You?
Deadlifts are a popular fitness exercise because they work out multiple essential muscle groups at once. Still, efficiency isn’t the only benefit of performing deadlifts. Take a look at these essential benefits that can be gained by incorporating this exercise into your routine:
- Multiple Muscle Groups – When you perform deadlifts, you work your abdominal muscles, hamstrings, glutes, lower back, and quadriceps.
- Calorie Burning – In 2016, an article in the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) Health and Fitness Journal listed deadlifts among the top exercises to perform for calorie burning.
- Injury Recovery – Because of the way deadlifts focus on building core strength, they can actually help you recover from physical injuries faster in some cases. According to the National Library of Medicine, “Recent studies have indicated that the deadlift exercise may be effective in decreasing pain intensity and increasing activity for most, but not all, patients with a dominating pattern of mechanical low back pain.”
- Sports Improvement – Due to the multiple muscle groups that deadlifts target during a workout, athletes can see significant improvement in performance. This performance boost is due to the increased strength built in the muscle areas used to perform during sports activities.
- Range of Motion – Because deadlifts incorporate the movement of steadily lifting heavy weights from the ground, many people often experience an enhanced range of motion (ROM); as a result, picking things up off the floor and lifting things off the ground can be made more accessible.
What Are Suitcase Deadlifts and How Can They Benefit You?
So how do suitcase deadlifts differ from standard deadlifts? The answer to this is pretty simple; deadlifts require you to lift a bar with two hands, while suitcase deadlifts utilize kettlebells or a bar and one arm at a time. Here’s how this deadlift variation can benefit you on top of all the usual deadlift benefits:
- Posture – Posture improvement can be gained through focused one-sided lifting.
- Muscle Imbalance – Help can be gained with correcting muscle imbalances by focusing efforts on one side at a time.
- Torso Strength – Better development of anti-rotational core strength (torso strength) can be gained through using the both sides of the body to lift on one side.
Steps to Doing a Suitcase Deadlift
Convinced yet that you need to begin incorporating suitcase deadlifts into your fitness routine? Here are steps to how you can start:
- Stand with your legs in a comfortable shoulder-distance position. A kettlebell or bar should be placed to the right or left of you on the ground next to your foot.
- Bend your knees slightly and lower your torso to pick up the kettlebell or bar with an overhanded grip. Return to a standing position.
- As soon as you reach the standing position, lower the kettlebell or bar back to the ground to complete the rep.
- Repeat this motion for your predetermined set of reps, and then switch to the other side and do the same.
Because this exercise must be done correctly to avoid injury and ensure maximum benefits, it can help if you’re able to utilize a trainer until you have the motions down comfortably and accurately.
Other Valuable Core Exercises You Might Want to Try
If you’re looking to incorporate other core exercises into your routine or just looking to mix up your routine a bit, we have some other suggestions for alternative core-focused exercises below that you might want to try next time:
- Planks – Because holding this position takes endurance, strength, and stamina, it can be great for core muscle building. This exercise can take a while to work up to and is very dependent on maintaining proper form.
- Butterfly Sit-Ups – This can be a tricky exercise to get down due to how much structure you need to keep while performing it, but it’s well worth it for abdominal and general core strengthening.
- Single-Leg Reverse Fly – This exercise incorporates dumbbells and is excellent for working your core, deltoids, trapezius, and rhomboids.
- Reverse Lung with Twist – With this exercise, you combine dumbbells into doing your typical reverse lunges and toss a twist in at the end. This exercise is excellent for working out your core, as well as quadriceps, gluteus maximus, and calf muscles.
- Romanian Deadlifts – Romanian deadlifts are a great deadlifting variation that specifically works your core and lower body muscles. While this exercise can take some added effort to perfect, it’s definitely worth it in the end.