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Deadlifts With Bands Are Great for Strength (3 Ways to Use Them)

Banded deadlifts can be an awesome tool for building strength and power off of the floor with your deadlift and working through deadlift sticking points that exist around the knees and lockout.

Deadlifts with resistance bands are an underutilized tool for lifters wanting to improve their strength. Banded deadlifts can be great for building strength and power and for working through sticking points.

Much like using resistance bands in squats, banded deadlifts have a time and place, and they should be used as a strategy in workout programs. If you can better understand the why and when to use them, then you’ll get more out of this training technique.

Deadlift With Resistance Bands Considerations

Consideration 1

Banded deadlifts can be incredibly useful for lifters that have sticking points around the knee and at lockout. A band’s increased resistance will produce a heightened output demand on this range of motion.

Consideration 2

Resistance bands with deadlifts are not solely reserved for advanced and elite lifters. Non-specific lifters and even beginners can experience strength and power benefits when deadlifting with bands.

Consideration 3

I always suggest starting with lighter resistance bands and weight when using this training technique. A band can change your deadlift form due to the demands that a band will create on your deadlift through different ranges of motion.

Can You Deadlift With Resistance Bands?

Deadlifting with resistance bands is a popular way to utilize accommodating resistance to improve your deadlift strength and power. As you lift the weight, the band’s tension will increase which will require more effort as you get closer to lockout.

Deadlifts with resistance bands can be useful for athletes and lifters of all skill levels and it’s not just reserved for advanced lifters. When using resistance bands with your deadlifts you’ll want to implore their use with a strategy which I’ll discuss below.

Deadlifting with resistance bands guide

Why Use Resistance Bands for Deadlifts

The great thing about using resistance bands for deadlifts is that they can have multiple benefits and rationale behind their usage. Yes, they’re specific with how they’ll change your deadlift and effort, but their benefits can transcend across different training adaptations.

Below are three of my favorite reasons for using resistance bands with deadlifts for both my own programming and for my clients.

1. Great for Improving Strength Off of the Floor

In the deadlift, the concept of “breaking the floor” entails your ability to initiate the barbell’s movement off of the floor. This range of motion, AKA the first 10-25% of deadlifts is often the most difficult for lifters.

Deadlifts with resistance bands for strength off the floor

Because you’re initiating the barbell’s movement from a dead-stop position, it can be hard to maintain good form as the weight on the bar gets heavier. Make no mistake, “breaking the floor” in the deadlift is a skill that needs to be practiced.

If you’re struggling with strength off the floor, there’s likely an issue with how you’re creating tension between the barbell and the floor. By adding resistance bands to your deadlift, you’ll have to be even stricter with your tension and form to ensure the band doesn’t trap you on the floor.

Deadlifts with resistance bands for strength

How To Use Bands to Build Deadlift Strength Off of the Floor

  • Use 50-70% of your 1-RM (estimates work fine).
  • Grab a lighter band and attach it to the bar.
  • Perform 3-4 sets for 2-4 reps each set.
  • Utilize a 2-3 second concentric (lifting) tempo.

The above is what I’d suggest using for building strength off of the floor. Tempo will be great for slowing you down to focus on your form, and the lighter load will be great for practicing this skill without creating a ton of fatigue and with higher amounts of straight weight.

2. Awesome for Improving Deadlift Power and Velocity

Another benefit and reason why you’d want to explore using resistance bands for deadlifts is their ability to help you improve your pulling power and velocity. For example, bands can be an awesome tool if you want to get better at deadlifting lighter weights fast for your sport.

Deadlifts with resistance bands for power

Resistance bands are often tools used for improving power in the gym. As the band’s resistance increases on the barbell as you lift, you’ll have to produce even more effort and force to work through the increasing accommodating resistance demands from the band. 

Essentially, a band can provide a nice overload effect during deadlifts. When working through the band’s increasing resistance quickly, you’ll have to produce more force without adding more weight to the bar, which is great for limiting fatigue and keeping you moving fast.

Deadlifts with resistance bands for speed and power

How To Use Bands to Build Power In Your Deadlift

  • Use 40-60% of your 1-RM (estimates work fine).
  • Grab a light to moderate resistance band regarding tension.
  • Perform 4-5 sets of 3-5 reps.
  • When you notice reps start to slow down intra-set, stop sets accordingly.

When training for power, velocity should be one of the main metrics you use to track performance. Pay attention to your sets and try to maintain a similar speed throughout your reps. It’s normal to slow down as fatigue sets in throughout your sets.

The big thing to pay attention to when deadlifting with resistance bands for power is that if you’re moving noticeably slower rep after rep or moving “slow” on your first rep, then the weight you’re using might be too heavy.

3. Useful for Working Through Deadlift Sticking Points

The final reason why I love using banded deadlifts is that they can be fantastic for working through deadlift sticking points around the knee and at lockout. The band’s increased resistance will require additional work through these ranges of motion.

Deadlifts with resistance bands for sticking points

For example, let’s say you normally miss deadlifts right as you pass the knee. A band can help overload this range of motion while keeping weight consistent off the floor.

This is useful because you can generate a little momentum before you get to that sticking point, which gives you a better means to work through that range of motion while maintaining solid form and pushing heavier weights with the straight and band’s resistance added together.

Deadlifts with resistance bands

How To Use Bands to Work Through Deadlift Sticking Points

  • Use 70-85% of your 1-RM (estimates work fine).
  • Grab a light to a moderate resistance band.
  • Perform 3-6 sets of 2-3 reps.
  • Keep reps lower since weight is heavier and keep effort high.

For bonus points, as you get used to using resistance bands for sticking points, you can start adding a 1-2 second pause around the area where you get stuck. This can be an awesome tool for building your poise and resilience through your specific sticking point.

How To Set Up Resistance Bands for Deadlifts

How you set up resistance bands for deadlifts will vary depending on what equipment have available. For example, deadlift platforms and their resistance band friendliness can vary pretty greatly.

Method 1: Attach Two Bands to the Platform

The first and arguably best setup for using resistance bands with deadlifts is to anchor two bands with resistances similar to those of the platform itself. If you have a deadlift platform with four anchors, then you’ll anchor a band on each side of the barbell.

How to set up banded deadlifts

I’d suggest keeping the bands close to the collards of your barbell so get an even level of tension without the bands getting in the way of your deadlift reps.

Method 2: Stand On the Band and Wrap It Around the Hands

The second method is best for lifters without built-out deadlift platforms. For this method, you’ll simply stand on top of the middle of the resistance band that you’re using and then grip the band with the barbell or wrap the band around the wrists.

How to set up resistance band deadlifts

This is a useful method for lifters with limited equipment or for those that don’t have two matching bands for providing resistance. You’ll want to keep your band lighter with this method because a thicker band can cause issues when standing on it and pulling.

Banded Deadlift FAQ

Can you deadlift with resistance bands?

Absolutely. Resistance bands can be great for adding accommodating resistance to your deadlift to help you improve your strength and power.

What do deadlifts with bands work?

Deadlifts with bands increase the workload through the middle and top-end ranges of motion in the deadlift which will require increased effort output as you lift weight and complete reps.

Are banded deadlifts harder?

In general, yes. A resistance band will increase the difficulty of your deadlift as you lift the weight. The band is trying to trap you on the floor, so as you deadlift, you have to actively work against the band’s increasing tension.

Takeaway Thoughts

Resistance bands can be awesome tools for lifters wanting to improve their deadlift strength and power and for athletes wanting to work through deadlift sticking points.

When starting to use resistance bands for deadlifts, I’d suggest starting with a light band and a lower weight on the bar to adjust to how resistance bands will change your deadlift. 

If you have additional questions about using resistance bands for deadlifts, drop a comment below or reach out to me personally via Instagram (@jake_boly or @that_fit_friend)

Jake Boly, CSCS, MS Sports Science

Jake Boly, CSCS, MS Sports Science

Jake Boly is the Founder and Editor-In-Chief of That Fit Friend. He's often regarded to as a go-to resource in various performance shoe communities. He’s been formally reviewing shoes and training gear for over 7 years and has hand-tested over 400 pairs of shoes. Jake is known on the internet and YouTube for blending his review process with his educational, strength sports, and personal training background.

Jake has a Masters in Sports Science, a Bachelors in Exercise Science, a CSCS, and he's been personal training for over 10 years helping hundreds of clients get stronger, lose weight, and accomplish their goals. He uses his exercise science brain and personal training background to make curated and thoughtful review content on the fitness gear he's testing.

2 thoughts on “Deadlifts With Bands Are Great for Strength (3 Ways to Use Them)”

  1. I just started using bands for a few weeks now. i was stuck at 200kg and the weight just would not move.
    I went down to 120kg and put some heavy bands on the bar for a few weeks and when i went back to deadlift 200kg i got 220kg!

    bands are awesome, used properly they can improve your deadlift. Great article!

    1. Heck yeah! They’re such a sick tool for breaking through plateaus. I have a video also coming out on them this week on YouTube. Thanks for sharing/reading the article and solid tug progress, my friend!

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