The Best Deadlift From A Box Alternatives For Maximum Gains

February 18th 2020

Are you searching for a deadlift from boxes alternative?

Hopefully, you are not just looking for a regular deadlift alternative.

I will not lie to you, you will not make as much progress if you decide to do a deadlift alternative opposed to the regular barbell deadlift.

With that said, however, if you need deadlift accessories that train the middle or top end of the deadlift, I can definitely provide you with some alternative solutions.

Or if you are injured and you cannot do a full range of motion deadlift, these suggestions will also help you get back on track to being healthy.

Deadlift from boxes alternative

If your program allows you to have some deadlift accessories, these are some great ones to select from:


  • Romanian deadlifts
  • Kettlebell swings
  • Rack pulls (below the knee)
  • No accessories but more frequent deadlifting
  • Good mornings
  • Glute-ham raises
  • Heavy hip thrusts


However, you should also keep in mind that you should follow your program very strictly and do not add exercises into your program for fun.

Romanian deadlifts

You can start from the floor or from a rack position.

Simply, just start deadlifting but you do not need to touch the floor.

These are typically lighter from your regular deadlifts off the ground.

Kettlebell swings

Not exactly a heavy barbell movement but if you get a heavy enough kettlebell, this can really activate your posterior chain.

Being strong is not just about brute strength.

Mobility, flexibility, and explosiveness are all contributors to having peak strength.

And doing kettlebell swings can help you get closer to being a more well-rounded athlete.

You do not want to have weaknesses in your deadlift.

Doing some kettlebell swings will ensure that you have no missing links in your programming.

Rack pulls

Racks pulls are great if you program them correctly.

You can definitely load these babies up heavy and do 10+reps.

Or you could go for 1-3 reps and gauge your progress from there.

However, you should be careful you do not fall into the trap of rack pull myths, where you can work on super-heavy loads to theoretically increase your conventional deadlift.

So, with that said, definitely aim to have your rack pulls start below the knees.


Because if you start above the knee, several things can happen:

  • You are not in a proper position in any deadlift variation
  • Ego lifting
  • You are breaking the equipment

Besides, do them correctly and you may end up mimicking a Romanian deadlift to some degree.

Which is fine since the overall goal is to get healthy and/or to strengthen your main deadlift movement, whether that is conventional or sumo.

More frequent deadlifting

Depending on what program you are running, this can be another viable option.

If you increase the amount of times you deadlift, you can a greater potential to strengthen the deadlift.

Of course, the opposite side of the argument is that you cannot recover from so much heavy stimulus. 

Here is the counter to that argument, nothing great is done without some stress.

And the higher up you want to go, the more stress you will need to endure and to overcome.

Everything you did so far has been fairly tolerable.

But there is a reason why the top records are not broken.

Maybe a bit of the reasoning for that is that the human body has reached a genetic limit.


Or you should cannot accept that in order to truly break through your physical plateaus, your mind needs to be ready for the war.

You need to develop mental strength

And if you already accept that more deadlifting won’t get you stronger, you have closed off a chapter of one strategy in increasing your deadlift.

So, instead of looking for a deadlift alternative, why not just do more of what is already working for you?

Good mornings

Heavy good mornings can be challenging and would definitely have some carryover to your deadlift if you need to work more on your back.

Glute-ham raises

If you have the machine, great.

If you have something that mimics it, it can be a good way to get some posterior chain activation and growth.

Hip thrusts

Great for training your glutes and hips.

Load them up heavy and really pump some blood with at least 3 sets.

Reality Check, Stop manipulating your program

Manipulating your program by looking for alternative exercises is a good way to slow down your progress.

Your program was created with all the checks and balances in place.

All you had to do is to not pick a starting working set weight, derived from not picking a training max that is too high, and you should be good.

This is where lifters try to get too smart.

Everything feels kind of easy.

Everything is working but it is slow.

So, you want to make faster progress or you feel that something is not right mid-cycle.

One of your first brilliant ideas is that you want to add more accessories in your program.

Not a good idea.

And to further bring expand on this point, you should check out this video:

Solution 1 - More warmups

Instead of adding more deadlift alternatives into your program, why not add more warmup sets?

Over time, you will need to teach your mind and body that you should focus on your working sets.

And warmup sets are perfect in that they are light enough so that you can feel a burn and get the sense that you are working out hard.

But at the same time, you are still ready and focused enough to channel your energy into your working sets.

Is this a perfect solution?


But it is a happy medium compared to having more deadlift exercises after your main set, and your mind is trying to focus on completing your entire workout in one piece.

If you have more challenging accessories after your main sets, you might not even focus all your effort on your main sets.

You will want to just breeze through your main sets and focus on the hardest exercises for today’s workout.

This is something we would want to avoid.

Let us wrap things up

There are a ton of great deadlift alternatives and variations you could do to still make progress in the weight room.

However, you need to keep in mind that this flexibility contains great power and should not be used lightly.

Follow your program strictly and do not change anything unless you want to get off the program entirely.

You tweaking a program and then blaming it six months down the line is not a great image for you since it is well-known that all programs work.

You just so happen to be an idiot to mess with the fundamentals of the program and now you stalled in progress (at least on paper).

Keep your mind open to ideas on proper strength training.

If you are interested in a program that has changed my life, you should read about it here (5/3/1 Forever).

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