When it comes to exercises, it can often feel like there’s a never-ending list of variations and alternatives you should be trying… but often, these variations don’t provide much difference from the actual regular way of doing the exercise.
So, you could be forgiven in thinking an article about the “b stance deadlift” is yet another variation that simply isn’t necessary.
But bear with us… because this seemingly subtle difference in stance when performing a deadlift can provide some clear benefits and might just be what you’ve been looking for.
Below, we’ve highlighted how to perform a B Stance deadlift safely, the muscles worked, benefits and ultimately, who we think the exercise is best suited to. Oh, and we summarize what a B Stance deadlift actually is too!
What is a B Stance Deadlift?
The B Stance deadlift (also commonly known as the “kickstand” deadlift) is a variation of the traditional deadlift that involves a staggered stance, with a flat front foot, and a raised heel on the back foot.
The leg that is placed backwards provides stability and balance during the lift, but won’t provide much muscular contribution to the lift (usually just 10-20%).
This means the front leg is doing 80-90% of the lift.
As a result, your front leg is quite literally doing most of the heavy lifting, offering unilateral training that is ideal for hypertrophy and muscle development.
Keep reading to understand why this provides some unique and clear benefits.
How To Do B Stance Deadlifts
To perform a B Stance deadlift:
- Stand with your feet shoulder width apart before placing one foot slightly behind the other one so the toes are in line with the heel of the front foot (in a staggered stance).
- The back foot is there to provide support and balance, not muscular contribution to the lift.
- With your chest upright and back straight, push through your front foot and hinge at the hips to lift and lower the weight.
- The exact technique will depend on whether you’re doing a regular deadlift or a RDL (Romanian deadlift).
- Repeat on the other side.
Use of Equipment
You can use any equipment for B Stance deadlifts, such as; a barbell, dumbbells, bands, or kettlebells. You can also just do it as a bodyweight movement too.
B Stance deadlifts work the posterior chain muscles, primarily the glutes and hamstrings. The exercise will also activate the back muscles too.
B Stance Benefits
Increase Load on Muscles, Without Heavier Weights
One of the popular uses for B Stance deadlifts is when you don’t have heavier weights available. Without opting for something like a B Stance, you’re left doing an ungodly amount of reps just to keep your muscles challenged.
The B Stance allows you to increase the load on the muscles, without actually having heavier weights.
Each leg will do the lift separately and will do around 80-90% of the work, so you’ll most definitely find it more challenging compared to a regular stance.
Addresses Any Muscular Imbalances
Muscular imbalances can lead to injuries… which is why it’s important to identify them and include unilateral training in your fitness routine.
B Stance deadlifts allow you to perform a lift by and large on each side, helping demonstrate if one side is weaker than the other.
And we’re not just talking about strength imbalances, it can also address movement patterns, which could signal muscle tightness or other issues that could be a limiting factor during your strength training.
Addressing Muscular Imbalances
If you do spot clear muscular imbalances when performing B Stance deadlifts, keep opting for unilateral training and train your weaker side first (and only do what your weaker side can do with your stronger side to avoid the imbalance growing).
More Stable Than Single Leg Variations
Up until this point, you may be thinking, all this sounds very similar to single leg RDLs (single leg Romanian deadlifts), but there’s one key difference.
Balancing on one leg during a heavy lift is certainly not easy… in fact, it’s very difficult.
It’s also very hard to avoid some sort of rotating during single leg lifts, which again, is difficult to counteract.
The reliance on balance and stability during single leg exercises means that if someone’s balance is a limiting factor, they never get a chance to actually test their muscles unilaterally.
With the back foot acting as a support, balance is less significant… which is a drawback if you want to improve your balance, but it’s a bonus if you want to improve your muscle development and hypertrophy.
A B Stance will allow you to lift much heavier weights compared to a purely single leg variation.
Easier on the Spine
Due to the fact you are basically training each side of your body separately, it means the total weight you’re lifting is lower compared to a regular deadlift.
This means there’s less pressure on the spine and other supporting joints/muscles.
Improving athletic performance at the highest level often involves challenging the body in different ways to help address subtle weaknesses and identify potential flaws in how your body moves.
The B Stance deadlift offers a simple way to really test your strength on each side and consequently, is a popular method for Physical Therapists and athletic coaches to optimize their client’s performance.
Practice the Hip Hinge for Deadlifts
Deadlifts, both regular and RDLs, are tricky movements to master and involve good hinging at the hips. B Stance deadlifts help put more emphasis on this “hinging”, helping you really focus your attention on it, which you can carry over to regular deadlifts too.
This hip strength and mobility is so important for strength training routines, so getting familiar with moving your body in this way is really useful.
Works with Any Equipment
B Stance deadlifts work with any gym equipment. Using a barbell, dumbbells, resistance bands and kettlebells are probably the most common and obvious choices.
Click below to see exercise demonstrations for each type of equipment;
- Barbell B Stance deadlift
- Dumbbell B Stance deadlift
- Resistance band B Stance deadlift
- Kettlebell B Stance deadlift
(We’ve also recently written an article about how to do resistance band deadlifts to help ensure proper form when using bands for this traditional compound lift).
More Comfortable with Certain Injuries
If you’re returning from injury, you may find variations like a B Stance are simply more comfortable. It allows you to train around an injury.
If you are returning from injury, we’d always recommend consulting with a healthcare professional before attempting heavy lifts to ensure your body is ready.
If you’re looking for an effective exercise to strengthen and sculpt your derriere, it’s hard to argue against B Stance deadlifts. The hip hinge helps to really activate the glutes during the movement.
By mixing up the reps/sets and equipment used, B Stance deadlifts could really become a key part of your glute workout plan.
Ultimately, the B Stance deadlift is definitely an exercise worth knowing about. You may not decide to use it in every leg workout, but it offers a lot of benefits and provides the perfect solution for those wanting to build muscle with unilateral training.
Whether you opt for a barbell or a resistance band… a dumbbell or kettlebell… the choice is yours, allowing you to include B Stance deadlifts in both gym and home workouts.
If you’re a beginner, we’d recommend just doing the movement without any additional resistance to begin with, so you can really practice hinging at the hips.