The Kettlebell Deadlift | How-To Guide and Tutorial | Breathing, Core, and Movement

Movement #5 in the 6 foundational movement series is the Deadlift.

For a stronger and more resilient deadlift movement you need to prioritize breathing, core integration, and force production. In this blog I outline steps and principles to help you do just that.

 Watch full youtube version here.

Set Up:

  1. Standing tall with Feet facing forward 
  2. Kettlebell in center of feet with Horns of the kettlebell even with medial malleolus of ankle 
  3. Hip Hinge into bottom position : Use Hips and Knees for level change (Don't bend over at the chest)
  4. Grip center of kettlebell with both hands



  •  Full exhale and Inhale at the bottom position to test for both stability and comfort. If unable to breath correctly a modification might be needed or better mobility. 
  • Use the exhale during the set-up to increase positional stability of spine and core while also optimizing transition of force into ground through the lift.


Core Integration

  • Use the exhale to engage core ( lower abdomen and  transverse abdominal muscles)
  • Maintain integration and breathing throughout movement. Don't soften at the bottom of the position!


Kettlebell Grip: “Break Handle in Half”

  • Increase activation of latissimus dorsi, provide better shoulder position, and increase connection between upper and lower body by bending handle in half or rotating elbows out while maintaining grip on the kettlebell. 


Kettlebell Path & Center of Gravity

  • Maintain kettlebell in the midline of the body. Always!
  • Keep kettlebell close to body and arms close to the body,
  • Use kettlebell floor position as guideline and visual for end/bottom of position in the deadlift


Introducing load

  • Lift kettlebell less than ½ inch off ground to introduce load into arms → torso→ feet
  • Maintain core integration and upper/lower body connection from start to finish 



  • Move with a purpose 
  • No matter how heavy the load or the number of reps you do, stay consistent with form, breathing, and integration 
  • Goal: 1st rep and last rep should be identical


Deadlift to Stand

  • Stay strong and stand tall. Don't collapse or roll shoulders forward
  • Keep tailbone dropped, ribcage down, and chest tall with head and chin tall.
  • As if you are “Looking over a fence”




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