Dumbbell deadlift exercise
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Dumbbell deadlift

Exercise details

  • Target muscle: Gluteus Maximus
  • Synergists: Erector Spinae, Hamstrings (Biceps Femoris, Semimembranosus, Semitendinosus), Adductor Magnus, Quadriceps (Rectus Femoris, Vastus Lateralis, Vastus Medialis, Vastus Intermedius), Soleus
  • Mechanics: Compound
  • Force: Pull

Starting position

  1. Position a pair of dumbbells horizontally in front of your feet.
  2. Squat and grasp the dumbbells using a pronated (overhand) grip.
  3. Raise your hips a little, straighten your back, and lean backward so that your torso is upright.


  1. Exhale as you stand up and pull the dumbbells up across the front of your body.
  2. Inhale as you push your butt backward, flex your hips and knees, and lower the dumbbells down the front of your body to the floor.
  3. Repeat.

Comments and tips

  • Keep your back and arms straight, your body upright, and your feet flat on the floor.
  • Ensure that your feet and knees point in the same direction.
  • To improve mechanical leverage, keep the dumbbells close to your body.
  • There are many different opinions on how to perform this exercise. You will often see people doing the dumbbell deadlift while holding the dumbbells at their sides. Since this is very similar to the dumbbell squat, the technique explained above enforces that the dumbbells be kept in front of the body to better emulate the barbell deadlift. You will also often see people fail to return the dumbbells to the floor at the end of each rep, in which case the exercise becomes more like the dumbbell Romanian deadlift.
  • Since it is not possible to lift as much weight with the dumbbell deadlift as with the barbell deadlift, use the dumbbell deadlift as an auxiliary exercise to improve your barbell deadlift. The dumbbell deadlift can also take the place of the barbell deadlift as your primary hip-dominant exercise if the barbell deadlift is too hard on your lower back.
  • For beginners, you can start with the kettlebell deadlift before proceeding to this exercise.

Dumbbell deadlift video (almost)

This would be correct if he lowered the dumbbells to the floor. It’s therefore more like the dumbbell Romanian deadlift.

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