Dumbbell Deadlift

Exercise Summary
Primary Muscle(s) Lower Back
Secondary Muscle(s) Glutes, Middle Back, Hamstrings, QuadsAbdominals
Equipment Dumbbell
Emphasis Compound
Type Pull

Dumbbell Deadlift Instructions

  • Position your feet just inside shoulder-width.
  • Place a pair of DB's outside your feet.
  • Assume a strong lifting position: 
    • Core is braced
    • Glutes are active with knees slightly bent
    • Shoulders pinned back
    • Neutral spine with your ribs stacked on top of your pevlis.
  • Bend/hinge at the hips to grab the DB's
    • Your back remains flat/neutral throughout. There is no arch or rounding in your spine.
    • Your knees will come forward more on the DB variation versus the BB.
  • Grip the DB's with your hands in a neutral position. DB's are still at your sides.
  • Re-tighten and engage your body for the lift. You are trying to take all the "slack" out of your body. Imagine pulling your hips into proper position.
    • Raise your hips slightly then lower.
    • Activate your upper back & lats by pinning your upper shoulders down and back.
    • Screw your feet into the floor.
    • Take a deep breath and fill your stomach with air.
  • Drive your feet through the floor and stand up. 
  • Maintain your core tightness throughout the movement.
    • Squeeze your glutes at the top.
  • Lower the DB's to just below your knees then repeat. 
  • You do not want to lower all the way to the floor. You want to maintain a strong, neutral posture throughout the lift.


  • Lowering the weight too low can compromise your back position. Perform reps with lighter weight to find your ideal range-of-motion.
  • Avoid arching your back excessively. This is false sense of core stability.
  • Do not "look up". You want to maintain a neutral neck position.
  • Keep the DB's close to your center of gravity. Do not let them stray in front or behind you.
Previous article Chin-up