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How To Do The Dumbbell Deadlift Exercise

The dumbbell deadlift exercise is often confused with the dumbbell squat. The reason is that both exercises are very similar and the movement seems repetitive. However, there is one big difference between the two movements and that is body mechanics. The dumbbell squat places more emphasis on the lower body and keeping the back as straight as possible.

The dumbbell deadlift on the other hand places more emphasis on the back than on the quadriceps (front of the upper thighs).  The best way to describe the difference is the deadlift is picking something off the floor bending at the waist and knees while the squat is bending to pick something off the floor but you are bending at the knees to pick it off the floor.

The dumbbell dead lift exercise is a great all round strength builder that relies on the entire body to move the weight. The back is one of the strongest muscles in the body so it will generate a lot of power to pick up the weight. However, you must practice good form and posture. If you have back problems I strongly suggest you stay away from the dumbbell deadlift exercise.

How To Do The Dumbbell Deadlift Exercise

Position for the dumbbell dead lift exercise

Place a pair of dumbbells on both sides of your body. Retract your shoulder blades and puff your chest out proud. Stand straight with your feet spaced shoulder length apart. Keep your head level and eyes forward. Bend down to pick up both dumbbells in each hand. Stand back up straight and keep your shoulder blades retracted and chest puffed our proudly. Slightly arch your lower back and stick your bum out a bit.

Your palms should be facing each other and the dumbbells at your sides.

Execution of dumbbell dead lift exercise

While bending at the knees and keeping your arms extended, lower the dumbbells to the floor. The dumbbells should be forward a bit and towards your knees as you lower them to the floor. Try and keep your hips in the correct position by sticking your rear out. Lower the dumbbells to ankle level (if you can’t lower them to your ankles, lower them to your knees). Pause for a moment at the bottom part of the movement and using your legs, push upwards to the start position.


Breathe in as you lower the dumbbells and breathe out as you come up.

Important points for the dumbbell deadlift exercise

·         Remember, image the deadlift as if you were picking something off the floor in front of you but keeping your hips back and back relatively straight.

·         Try not to look down as this will cause you to round your shoulders and shoot off your posture and alignment.

·         Keep your feet firmly planted on the floor.

·         Do NOT round your shoulders. As you bend down, keep your shoulder blades retracted.

Video on how to do the dumbbell deadlift

Over his 30 plus years of experience, Blake Bissaillion has worked with nationally ranked body builders, power lifters and fitness professionals. In this time he has picked up volumes of applied knowledge that he openly shares with his clients. Mr. Bissaillion’s objective is to help as many beginners to weight training and fitness to achieve their weight loss and fitness goals while getting into their best possible shape. Mr. Bissaillion owns and operates Belly Be Gone, a fitness company that offers fitness and nutritional guidance and products.

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