Training7th August 2017

Tutorial: Dumbbell Deadlift


The dumbbell deadlift is a highly functional variation of the traditional barbell deadlift. This strength exercise allows for more flexibility in body position, making it ideal for those who are new to lifting, or for those with limited flexibility. The bend movement pattern targets the hamstrings, glutes, quads and lower back.


  • Begin in standing, holding a dumbbell in each hand. As the video shows, the dumbbells can be positioned in front of the body; however, if this puts too much stress on your low back, hold the dumbbells by your side.
  • Engage the core and begin the movement by bending the knees slightly and hinging the hips. Then continue the bending by pushing the hips backwards, lowering the dumbbells as far as comfortable.
  • At the bottom of the movement, actively engage the glutes, push the feet into the floor and drive the hips upwards and forwards to return to the start position .
  • Repeat for time or reps.
As a training tip, keep the shoulder blades slightly retracted during the movement – this will increase back stability. For further core and balance challenges, use a single dumbbell – this will increase activation of the core muscles – just fight the urge to twist the torso.


  • The deadlift is the loaded progression of a simple bend pattern. Developmentally and functionally, it’s primary purpose is for lifting objects from the floor.
  • The exercise has massive implications for performance and rehabilitation. If you are interested in Olympic lifting, then deadlifting is a staple movement. However, before you start using a barbell, you can work on the technique using dumbbells. From a rehabilitation perspective, the deadlift is beneficial to the hip/back and shoulder.
  • The dumbbell deadlift is extremely useful as part of high intensity circuits or small group trainings, due to the low space requirement. In addition, the dumbbell deadlift can be performed with very heavy weights to build higher levels of strength.
  • If you are new to free weights, start with some basic dumbbell training, and be sure to include the dumbbell deadlift as a foundational movement in your workouts.

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