by Mike Scialabba

The words 'suitcase' and 'dead-lift' had probably never made it into the same sentence in the history of man until the unknown genius came up with the brilliant lift we now call the 'suitcase dead-lift'.

Before I get into the movement, let me just say, you won't actually be using a suitcase, so don't worry about looking ridiculous. What you will be using is a barbell or kettlebell, however I prefer the barbell only due to the ease of adjusting the load.

The suitcase dead-lift should not be considered a substitute for the conventional dead-lift or any of your major starting lifts. This movement should be utilized only as an auxiliary core movement, because that's what you'll be crushing during this exercise if executed properly.

How to do it

The set up into the suitcase dead shouldn't look any different the set up for a conventional dead-lift. You should still have your hips extended, maintain a lumbar curve, stomach should be pushed out, scap/shoulder blades retracted, and hands or hand in this case directly below the knee with arms fully extended. However, instead of both hands on a barbell perpendicular to your feet in front of you, you'll have one hand on a barbell to the side of you, running parallel with your feet.

You'll drive through with the hips just as you would with a conventional dead-lift as well. What you'll notice is the load trying to force the body to twist and rotate. Your shoulders will want to drop towards the load. What you need to do is maintain a perfectly tight core and movement pattern fighting the load to stay on track with the body movement.


Note - we nicked this video from Youtube as it's a pretty decent example of a Suitcase Dead-lift - credit goes to

Crush it

Try this uni-lateral core movement in exchange for another core movement you may be doing for increased bilateral control and a stronger set of obliques. Keep in mind it looks a lot more bad ass than a Swiss ball crunch!


This exclusive article (and others) can be found in the latest Wannabebig Serious About Muscle Newsletter - August 27th, 2010

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