What Is A Dumbbell Deadlift? What You Need To Know

A dumbbell deadlift is similar to the regular deadlift. But instead of a barbell stacked with heavy plates, two dumbbells replaces the barbell.

Picture a deadlift stance, but holding a dumbbell in front of your thighs with your legs should width apart. It’s a considerable variation, which requires you to control two dumbbells instead of a bar. You’re probably thinking it sounds easy, but once you start increasing the weight and the repetitions, the variation requires a lot of input from the central nervous system causing you to work as hard. Chuck in some burpees (sorry) between sets and you have yourself a tasty workout.

How to do a dumbbell deadlift

1. Hold the dumbbells in front of the shoulders, palms facing the thighs, standing roughly should width apart.

2. To keep the spine in a neutral position, pinch shoulder blades together and keep your armpits closed. As you would for a regular deadlift, bend your knees somewhat, keep your chest upright, look forward, brace the core and bring your hips backwards. You will find yourself nearly in the seated position with the dumbbells in front of you.

3. Now with your core braced, chest upward, spine neutral, push the floor away from you while exhaling. Drive the hips forward, remember this is not the second part of the squat. Once completed, you will end in the standing pose with the dumbbells in front of your thighs.

Once you have the form nailed, you can think about increasing the weight and the repetitions. Like I always mention, this article is a guide, and you should always take advice from a personal trainer who can teach you correctly. Please don’t hurt yourself.

Are Dumbbell Deadlifts Effective?

Deadlifts are a necessity if you wish to gain strength, tone up and build muscle. In one lift you’ll use your glutes, quads, adductors, and hamstrings. That’s a big bang for your buck and a quick way of hitting a lot of muscle groups. Deadlifts test your cardio too – you’ll know what I mean after you complete a few massive sets!

Improve Grip Strength

Since dumbbells are normally done with lighter loads and more reps than barbell deadlifts, both deadlifts can improve grip strength. Because of the lighter loads that are frequently lifted using dumbbells (relative to one’s weight), more volume (sets and reps) can be used, which in turn improves the strength and stability of the tension grip. Once again one of the critical reasons for performing dumbbell deadlifts are also the main limitation: having a better grip.

Dumbbell Deadlifts For CrossFit

You often see dumbbell deadliftss programmed into CrossFit workouts. Deadlifts with dumbbells are most likely to be used in metcons, EMOM workouts or longer workouts such as Hero WODs.

Dumbbell Deadlifts for Building Muscle Mass

The conventional deadlift is usually achieved with a barbell and with rests between reps. Meaning, after each rep you complete the ‘dead’ part of the lift putting the bar back to the floor. Then you pause and lift again. 

But, for building muscle, you can easily modify the regular deadlift by using lighter loads and more reps. When performing the exercise, you would lower the weight just to the floor and instantly raise back up again and repeat.

By doing this, you are keeping continuous tension on the muscles and turned a strength-building exercise into a beneficial muscle building exercise to build massive hamstrings, quads and glutes.

If you wish to build larger muscle groups, consider using a lighter load with more reps, perhaps around the 8-10 rep range. 

As this article is about dumbbell deadlifts, you can do this exact method with dumbbells as well as a bar. 

Are Dumbbell Deadlifts Worth Doing?

The dumbbell deadlift is an excellent alternative to the regular deadlift. What’s great is that you need minimal equipment to get started. If you have a pair of dumbbells at home, you could knock a set out a few times a week in addition to your gym workouts. The only problem is you’ll gain strength reasonably quick, and you’ll need heavier dumbbells. If this is the case, keep increasing the reps or add in some supersets (I mentioned burpees earlier) of another exercise to test you some more.

If you’re feeling adventurous, switch to single leg dumbbell deadlifts. Doing so will test your balance, core strength and make the exercise that little bit more challenging! You’ll definitely feel DOMs the next day.

Sometimes getting to the gym isn’t possible due to time constraints, so these are ideal if you need a dependable, but quick workout.

Please don’t sleep on these, they’re great.

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