A Safe (Yet Advanced) Deadlift Option for More Mass

Weight Training Deadlifts

Deadlifts are thought of by many as the Grand Poo-​​Bah of all exercises. Along with Elvis, they share the title of “The King”, and it’s a classic when it comes to mass building!

Unfortunately, the deadlift has gotten an undeserved bad rap as lifters have come to believe it causes back injuries and lead to thick waists.

Well, it’s true that the deadlift HAS caused many a blown disc (mine included!), but when done properly, the deadlift is no more risky than any other exercise.

And trust me…you DON’T want to miss out on the benefits the deadlift can bring!

So here’s a safe alternative I like to use that ALSO allows me to put out maximum power in my lift without making my chiropractor any richer than he already is.

Seated Shrug Machine Deadlifts

For this exercise, you’ll look around your gym for a machine that is meant to be used for “seated shoulder shrugs”. (It has an adjustable seat with a handle on the bottom at each side connected to the bar where you would place the weight plates. If you can’t find it, ask an attendant at the gym to guide you in.)

Now, either remove the seat or adjust it all the way down…you won’t be using it!

However you will be using the backrest as your guide as you bend down and grasp the bars at the bottom handles.

Then, lift the weight up as you stand until you’re completely standing and your arms are fully extended by your sides, holding on to the weight handles.

Next, bend your knees in traditional “deadlift fashion” while keeping your arms straight and your head up.

Keep a slow 4-​​count descent but don’t let the bars reach the point where the weights are resting on the floor again…you want to keep the tension on your legs the entire time.

Knock out 8–15 reps (or until you start to see your quadriceps start to burst through your skin).



  1. P90X? Ever see a battalion of Marines doing “power yoga”? It’s not pretty! ;-)

    Actually, the program is kind of “ok” if you’re into things like yoga, etc. It does use bodyweight exercises as well, which is the most effective element.

    For “military training”, any of Stew’s programs or my “Combat The Fat” military fitness program will work better. Of course I’m a wee bit biased ;-)

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Jeff Anderson

Jeff Anderson is a 10 year veteran of the U.S. Army, a Master Fitness Trainer, and Master Instructor of Close Quarters Combat self defense. A full time fitness and self defense author, Jeff has trained thousands of men and women in the practical application of advanced military fitness methods as well as close combat tactics for "real life" self defense.

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