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How To Do A Dumbbell Deadlift: Step-by-Step Guide and Benefits


There are three kings to lower body exercises. Deadlifts have always been in close contention for the top spot. This is your guide to dumbbell deadlifts, a powerful movement that your leg workout needs.

A dumbbell deadlift is a compound exercise that works with different muscle groups. This exercise targets some of the biggest muscles in your legs, making it practical for strength building.

With all this said, deadlifts are an art. There a few things you need to keep in mind to avoid injuries when doing deadlifts.

This guide will give you step-by-step instructions to do a dumbbell deadlift, how to avoid common mistakes, and the benefits.

What Is A Dumbbell Deadlift?


A dumbbell deadlift is a compound weight training exercise. Instead of picking the barbell off the floor to your hip level, you hold the dumbbell in your hands the entire time. It is one of the three most effective exercises for your lower body. Squats and lunges are the other two.

The name deadlift comes from the physics of movement. You are required to pick up dead weight off the floor. A barbell deadlift follows this theory. However, a dumbbell deadlift differs slightly as you don’t let the weights down.

Muscles Worked


Dumbbell deadlifts are a compound exercise and use different muscle groups. The primary muscles are the main muscles that are strained.

The primary muscles used for dumbbell deadlifts are the glutes, hamstring, and lats.

Secondary muscles are the ones that support the primary muscles. They help with the synergy of the entire movement. The synergy of primary and secondary muscles helps to stabilize your body and to prevent injury.

Dumbbell deadlifts work a lot of secondary muscles making it an effective compound exercise.

The secondary muscles worked are gastrocnemius, obliques, abdominal muscles, quadriceps, upper back muscles, and even your arms.



  • Start with a shoulder-width apart stance
  • Make sure that your back is straight
  • Now, bend down and hold the dumbbell in each hand
  • This is your starting position. Your back should be straight
  • Next, drive yourself up and squeeze your glutes
  • Finally, come slowly down to your starting position


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Common Mistakes


Back Isn’t Straight

Arching of the back is a common weight lifter mistake. Not just for this exercise, but for many movements. Bending the spine during a deadlift can lead to complications.

To avoid this mistake, keep your chest straight and up. This tip can help keep your back straight during a deadlift. Another tip is to do all of the liftings from your legs and not take support from the back.

If your body is naturally taking support from your back, then it means you are trying to lift too much.

Bad Feet Positioning

Your feet stance is essential. Every exercise has a different stance from hip-width apart to shoulder-width apart. A slight change in the angle can transfer the force on a different part of the body.

You should aim for a hip-width apart stance for a dumbbell deadlift.

Moving Too Quickly

You need to take this movement slow. When you start the exercise, squeeze your hamstring and glutes. When you are rising, push your heels downwards and slowly pull your upper back up to get optimal results.

Don’t Look Up

When you look up and straight, you are stressing your cervical spine and neck muscles. Your gaze should be a few feet in front of you and never straight up.

You might think that looking straight up is helping you keep your back straight. However, this can lead to neck pain in the long run.

Benefits Of A Dumbbell Deadlift


Burns More Fat

The science behind this is simple. A dumbbell deadlift engages more muscle groups; hence, more energy is required.

Your body also goes into EPOC or excess post-exercise oxygen consumption. This is your body trying to come back to its normal state. It has to replenish the levels of oxygen and glycogen that was used.

With a dumbbell deadlift, you are engaging more muscle groups. Hence more calories are required for recovery.

Strengthen Your Core

Doing a dumbbell deadlift takes support from your core. The core plays a vital role in helping stabilize your body. Your core is also supporting your spine to keep it neutral.

So, doing deadlifts works out your core as well. Having a solid core is essential to lifting more and building functional strength.

Prevents Injury

A dumbbell deadlift can help strengthen your body which helps to minimize injuries. For example, deadlifts help maintain your posture. A bad posture can lead to neck and shoulder pain, complications in the spine, and interference with your mobility.

Deadlifts engage your lower back as well. If you keep your back straight during the movement, you work your lumbar spinal extensors. These muscles are responsible for stabilizing your lower spine.

You should also incorporate a back workout that can help reduce age-related back injuries and strengthen your muscles.

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