Dumbbell Deadlifts: Why & How
If you’re looking for an effective full-body exercise that saves time, dumbbell deadlifts should be on your list.
Doing dumbbell deadlifts offers several benefits that extend from your performance at the gym to your daily life.
- It ramps up your strength levels. If you perform progressive overload (increased resistance with each set) with this exercise, you will increase your capacity to lift heavy objects in the workplace and at home. For instance, if you experienced difficulty lifting or moving furniture at home in the past, incorporating dumbbell deadlifts in your workout should help remedy the situation.
- It strengthens your grip. You must grip the dumbbells firmly while performing the exercise. This sets the tone for the rest of the movement. Over time, a stronger grip will help you perform mundane tasks such as opening jar lids and the like.
- It helps you torch fat. Dumbbell deadlifts help you lean out in various parts of your body. However, doing this exercise isn’t enough. Make sure you establish a caloric deficit (reduced caloric intake and increased physical activity) if you want to lose fat. On the other hand, if you want to build more muscle, try establishing a caloric surplus (a state where caloric intake outweighs your physical activity).
- It improves your posture. A straight and stronger back is another great benefit of doing dumbbell deadlifts. How so? This exercise helps develop your posterior chain muscles which run along the back of your leg and spine. When you compromise this muscle group that works against the pull of gravity, your bodily movements will become awkward. Plus, a strong posterior chain helps improve your physical performance. When your calves, hamstrings, glutes, and lats are in tip-top shape, you can perform physical tasks—whether in sports, the workplace, or at home—more efficiently. Performing dumbbell deadlifts regularly makes that possible.
- It is convenient. You don’t need fancy gym equipment or an expensive gym membership to do this exercise. Just grab a pair of dumbbells and you’re all set. You can perform dumbbell deadlifts at home while watching Netflix or NFL games on TV. For the busy individual, it doesn’t get any better than that.
How to Perform Deadlifts With Dumbbells
I will now share with you the step-by-step instructions on how to perform both the regular and the single-leg versions of the dumbbell deadlift.
How to perform regular dumbbell deadlifts:
- Assume a squatting position with your feet placed shoulder-width apart. Lean forward without locking out your back. Make sure your chest touches your knees and your hamstrings are parallel to the floor.
- Grab a pair of dumbbells: one should be on the outer side of your right foot and the other one should be on the outer side of your left foot. Both dumbbells should touch the ground.
- Take a deep breath. Push through your feet and then stand up slowly. Squeeze your arms and glutes at the top of the movement. Hold this position for a second or two.
- Return to the starting position. Repeat to the desired number of repetitions (aim for three or four sets of 10 reps each).
How to perform single-leg dumbbell deadlifts:
- Grab a pair of dumbbells and place them by your sides. Stand upright with your feet placed shoulder-width apart. Bend your knees slightly.
- Simultaneously tip your torso forward at a 45-degree angle and lift your left leg backward. Make sure you bend your left knee and maintain your balance at the same time.
- Your right leg will act as your anchor. Make sure you bend it slightly throughout the movement.
- Maintain a neutral back while tipping your torso forward and lifting your left leg backward. Hold this position for a second or two.
- Slowly return to the standing position. This time around, bend your left knee so your left foot will be two to three inches off the ground. Repeat the forward tipping movement with your torso and backward lifting movement with your left leg until you reach the desired number of repetitions (aim for three to four sets of 10 reps each).
- Once you’ve reached your ideal number of reps with your left leg, switch over to the right leg and repeat the aforementioned steps.
Tips for Effective Dumbbell Deadlifts
To reap the full benefits of dumbbell deadlifts, you must prioritize your form. Here are some tips on how to do that:
- Maintain a neutral back and head position all throughout the exercise. Refrain from arching your neck or curling your chin during the movement. Doing either of these may cause an injury.
- Brace your core muscles while performing dumbbell deadlifts. This helps stabilize your body and improves your balance.
- Start light! Lifting too heavy too soon can result in your injury. Once your body is used to a certain amount of resistance, you can progress to a heavier one.
- If you feel your grip isn’t strong enough, try using lifting straps. They will help you complete your reps even if your grip on the dumbbells is slipping.
- As an additional precaution, try wearing a lifting belt. This accessory will help ward off potential back issues.
- Try complementing dumbbell deadlifts with other compound exercises such as bench presses, dips, squats, dumbbell pullovers, and dumbbell barbell rows. These versatile exercises will help you achieve the best possible results in the least amount of time.
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