Exercise TechniqueStrength Training

Traditional Deadlift vs Ground Based Machine

By October 23, 2017 May 7th, 2020 No Comments

Some purists may argue that the only way to do a deadlift is with a barbell. But here at Warwick Workout we have the Hammer Strength Ground-Based deadlift machine (aka squat machine) that mimics the barbell deadlift. (We also have a trapbar deadlift).

The machine-based deadlift is not a replacement for the traditional deadlift but in this article we’ll explore the benefits of each of the lifts.

Watch the demo video of the Ground-Based Squat/Deadlift on our Warwick Workout YouTube channel.

Benefits of the Ground-Based Squat/Deadlift include:

  • Compared to the traditional barbell deadlift the ground-based machine version will engage the lower back muscles to less extent due to a more upright posture*;
  • The machine-based deadlift is easier to set up than the barbell deadlift – you don’t need to move the barbell around while you try and put plates on;
  • Hands are in a neutral-grip position – meaning there’s no internal rotation of the shoulder and so less strain on the shoulder when compared to the barbell version (which could be an issue if you have had a shoulder injury);
  • There’s greater activation of the quadriceps muscles (front of thigh) when compared to the barbell deadlift*.

Traditional Deadlift with barbell

Benefits of the traditional barbell deadlift include:

  • More activation of the gluteals (buttocks) than the ground-based machine*;
  • As the barbell is a free weight, there is more need to balance and activate core muscles to keep correct posture; for example the lower back muscles (erector spinae) are activated more than with the machine-based deadlift;
  • Machines tend to be set up for the ‘average’ sized person and so can force particularly big or small people into uncomfortable positions.

Read about the front squat vs back squat here.

by Dr Laurence Houghton, High Performance Coach at Warwick Workout

*”Comparison of Muscle Involvement and Posture Between the Conventional Deadlift and a “Walk-In” Style Deadlift Machine” Snyder et al, JSCR, 2017