How To Do a Dumbbell Deadlift

Did you know that the heaviest deadlift ever weighed 501 kg or 1,104.5 lb? While most people may not achieve such an impressive feat of strength, that doesn’t mean deadlifts are not great exercise. Deadlifting can come with a wide variety of health benefits.

But you may not have ever done deadlifts before, and it may seem like a daunting task. How to do a dumbbell deadlift – it requires not only strength but coordination and focuses as well. It’s not something you want to try without studying up on the technique first.

If you’re interested in learning how to do dumbbell deadlifts, you’ve clicked on the right article. Throughout this article, we will explore the dumbbell deadlift variations, how to make a dumbbell deadlift, the benefits of deadlifting, and a bit of deadlifting history.

What Is Deadlifting?

There are several dumbbell deadlift variations, but for the moment, we will focus on what deadlifting is as a whole. The invention of deadlifting is uncertain of time and place. Some believe it began, again, with the ancient Greeks.

However, we guess that deadlifting truly began in the 1700s. Deadlifting back then did not use dumbbells but instead a platform, rope, and weights.

Deadlift involved someone standing on a platform while tied to weights below. The athlete would squat down and, upon standing up, would lift the weights below him with the strength of his entire body. The device used to perform this feat of strength was known as a Health Lift.

However, it is certainly not what we could consider a proper deadlift today. Instead, the idea of lifting huge weights with the arms gained popularity among bodybuilders during the 1930s and 1940s. Since then, the idea has only become more popular.

Since the 1940s, deadlift records have made to be broken year after year. The deadlift itself marks the pinnacle of human strength, focus, and capability. If you’ve watched deadlifts before but have never tried them yourself, the challenge may feel impossible.

However, with a bit of strength, determination, and above all, technique, you can undoubtedly try deadlifting. Let’s explore the details of deadlifting procedures and practices.

Tips and Tricks of The Deadlift

The deadlift is considered a kind of powerlifting exercise related to the bench press and squat. Instead of exercising through many repetitions with smaller weights, a deadlift is all about gaining strength by lifting and sustaining the importance of very heavyweights. Performing deadlifts can be either with dumbbells or barbells.

The exercise must begin with the weights, let’s say the dumbbells, on the ground. The athlete attempting the deadlift must squat and, following specific techniques, lift the dumbbells to hip level. Then, the weights are placed back down on the ground.

While this may sound very simple, it requires extreme strength, focus, and care. Care is necessary because anyone can quickly become injured when not deadlifting correctly. Some people wear belts while lifting for protection, widely recommended to lift without belts to build your core strength.

Because of lifting dead weight, it is called a deadlift. That means you are not lifting with the help of any momentum. Because of the lack of speed, it is challenging to lift enormous weights and require colossal strength.

The strength required for deadlifts is not all in the arms and shoulders either. Because squatting is necessary, intense power builds in the legs and glutes as well as the back. Therefore, if you’re looking for an intense, full-body workout, deadlifting might be of interest to you.

How To Do a Dumbbell Deadlift

We’ll focus on the conventional technique before we focus on any of the other dumbbell deadlift variations. It is because the basic approach is often best for beginners. There are three primary stages of a deadlift: the setup, the drive, and the lockout.

During the setup stage, you will first position yourself behind your dumbbells in preparation for the lift. You will be putting all your weight in your glutes, thighs, and calves by entering a deep squat. You will need to be sure that your position is stable to support your body weight and the weight of the dumbbells you will be lifting.

You will do this by placing most of your weight in your heels once you enter your squat. At the same time, do not sway too far back on your heels. It is important to remember that you need to keep your feet flat on the ground.

As you sink deeper into your squat, do not allow your back to curve. Instead, remember to keep your spine elongated and straight.

Also, pay attention to the position of your knees. Your knees should not be projecting over your feet. Instead, try to keep your knees directly above the ankles.

At this point, reach down to grab the dumbbells placed on the ground so, when holding them, they will be on the outside of your legs.

Once you feel the weight of the dumbbells, pull your shoulders back and away from your neck. Then, allow the weight of the dumbbells to load onto the latissimus dorsi muscles of your back. At this point, you will enter the next stage of the deadlift: the drive.

The Drive Stage

The drive stage is when your body will be receiving the most force out of the full deadlift. It is also the stage where injuries can commonly happen. Because of this, it is essential to follow proper body positioning and technique.

As soon as you start lifting the dumbbells, you will need to force your weight through your heels to keep yourself grounded. While you are pushing downwards with your heels, you need to push upwards with your hips simultaneously. You also need to make sure your back muscles are elongated and firm.

The drive stage is known as the most challenging point out of the full deadlift. If you can push past this point, you can likely complete the full deadlift.

When you begin lifting, be sure to take a deep breath and hold it. You will stabilize your entire body from your core due to the contained air pressure by holding your breath.

Your back muscles should draw together during this stage. It will help to support your form and prevent injuries. Continue to lift through your knees until you are in a standing position, taking the weight of the dumbbells with you.

After this, you will enter the final stage of the deadlift: the lockout.

The Lockout Stage

Just because the lockout stage is the last stage of the deadlift does not mean you can relax. You need to pay incredibly close attention to your form and technique during this stage.

Once you have broken out of your squat with the weights in your hands, you will need to stand with your body completely erect. You will also need to push your hips forward by squeezing your glute muscles.

Your posture should be long and straight. You can achieve this by contracting the core and glute muscles. Be careful not to over-extend your lower back, and remember to keep your shoulders pulled away from your neck.

To exit out of the deadlift, you will perform the previous actions in reverse. It is essential not to go limp and let the dumbbells drop to the floor.

Continue to contract your back and core muscles, maintaining a long spine as you reenter a squat. Without bending your back, your chest should approach your knees as you deepen your squat. Then, you will be able to lower the dumbbells to the ground.

If you manage to conquer these three stages, you can say that you have completed a deadlift. But remember, this is the conventional deadlift variation. Let’s take a look at another popular variation: the sumo deadlift.

The Sumo Deadlift

Trying different deadlift variations is a great way to strengthen other muscles throughout your body. It is also beneficial for seeing which variations you prefer personally. The sumo variation, in particular, is perfect if you’re worried about overloading your lower back.

The sumo variation is a different instance compared to the conventional deadlift. The stance involves keeping your feet wider apart than usual, more expansive than the width of your shoulders. Your feet, instead of being parallel to each other, should be rotated outwards by about 45 degrees.

As with the conventional variation, be sure not to round your back. Also, be sure to push down through your heels and pull your shoulder blades together as you lift. Other than the change in foot position, the rest of the deadlift is more or less the same as the conventional deadlift.

However, the slight change in position takes a lot of the strain off of your lower back. Because you do not need to lean forward as much or as low as in a basic deadlift, though the sumo deadlift is not necessarily any more accessible than a regular deadlift, it can be an excellent variation for giving your lower backrest.

Another popular variation you should know about is known as the Romanian deadlift.

The Romanian Deadlift

The primary benefits of the dumbbell deadlift in the Romanian variation include more muscular legs and glutes. So, if you’re looking for an intense workout to build up your legs, the Romanian deadlift might be for you.

A significant difference for Romanian deadlift is that instead of starting with the dumbbells on the ground, you start with weights in your hands while standing. Then, you will lower your weight by slightly bending your knees.

You will continue to lower your weight until you feel your hamstrings stretching. At this point, power upwards back into a standing position.

While this variation may sound easy, it can be a serious workout for your hamstrings. You can also perform with dumbbells that aren’t extremely heavy if you want a more casual workout.

Benefits of the Dumbbell Deadlift

One of the many benefits that people love about deadlifts is how the exercise targets the hip extensor muscles, such as the glutes. The glutes get a challenging workout from deadlifts because of the intense and sustained strain when lifting heavyweights.

Some even claim that deadlifts are more beneficial than squats when it comes to strengthening the glute muscles. Activate your hamstrings in addition to the glutes while deadlifting.

Because of the leg-strengthening abilities of deadlifts, it is no surprise that deadlifting can help improve your jumping capabilities. Unless you’re an athletic jumper, you might not see much use in enhanced jumping.

However, jumping and sprinting use the same muscles. So, if you’ve ever wanted to improve your sprinting abilities, deadlifting might be a great start.

Deadlifting is an overall spectacular exercise for strengthening your entire body. While deadlifting can take a lot of effort and focus, especially for beginners, many find that deadlifting is much more fulfilling than other exercises. One of the many reasons for this is that deadlifting can result in a shorter time than many other exercises.

Deadlifting can also be mentally satisfying. Because deadlifting involves setting goals such as how much weight you might want to lift. By meeting these goals, you can gain not only strength but confidence too.

Bone Strength

Deadlifting isn’t only about strengthening and building muscle either. Deadlifting can help to improve the density of bones. As people age, they experience various levels of mineral bone loss. It can be dangerous in old age since people can easily break their hips and other bones.

This age-related loss of bone density is known as osteoporosis and can lead to various health issues in the elderly. While a healthy diet is essential for bone health, weight-bearing exercises seem to be great options for preventing the loss of bone density.

By doing deadlifts, the bones in the legs and hips are made more robust and denser. Over time, deadlifts may be able to help in preventing the development of osteoporosis. Some believe that those who already have osteoporosis may also benefit from weight-bearing exercise.  

Since women typically have a higher chance of developing osteoporosis than men, deadlifting can be an excellent exercise for staying healthy and strong even into old age.

Improve Your Metabolism

Most people wouldn’t mind losing a few extra pounds. After all, who doesn’t want to be lean, muscular, and physically healthy? However, losing weight can be challenging.

Many go to the gym day after day and barely see any improvements in weight loss and building muscle. This problem may stem from a slow metabolism. If you have a slow metabolism, your body might take a long time burning fat.

Fortunately, deadlifting is an exercise that can be great for boosting your metabolism. Most resistance training exercises can help to improve body metabolism, but some studies have shown that deadlifts are one of the most efficient options. An increased metabolism not only means you burn fat faster, but you also can metabolize your meals faster as well.

However, the benefits don’t stop there. More than increasing your metabolism, deadlifts can also be a huge help when burning fat and calories. Many people can burn more fat with deadlifts and spend less working out at the gym.

Not to mention that you will also be building muscle in addition to losing fat. As mentioned previously, deadlifting can strengthen your entire body from your head to your toes. Improve your grip strength after doing enough deadlifts.

The final benefit of deadlifts is their simplicity. As long as you understand the posture and technique of deadlifts and avoid injuries, you can put all your focus into strengthening your body with deadlifts. All you need are some weight and your determination.

The Origins of Dumbbells

Exercise is nothing new to the human race. However, we have fine-tuned exercises to target and strengthen certain parts of the body with time. We have also been able to invent tools and machines to help us on our fitness journeys.  

While treadmills and ellipticals have certainly not been around forever, dumbbells have been around for several thousands of years. The earliest use of the dumbbells started with the ancient Greeks in the 5th century B.C.E. This means that dumbbells have a history spanning more than 2,500 years!

During the time of the ancient Greeks, dumbbells were called halteres. Halteres also did not look much like the dumbbells we are familiar with today.

Instead, halteres were long, heavy stones with a carved handle. They were also not used for deadlifting. They were famous for long-jumping competitions.

The athletes of the time would have one haltere in each hand and swing their arms while jumping. The extra weight of the halteres in their hands would help propel them farther through the air when jumping. However, historians also believe that the ancient Greeks used halteres to build muscle as well.

Around the same period as the ancient Greeks, those in the Middle East had their version of the dumbbell called a nal. Rather than used for long jumping, the final was for wrestlers and athletes to strengthen their muscles. The modern dumbbell is more closely related to the nal than the haltere.

When the British came to the Middle East, they discovered the nal and renamed it the Indian Club. Thus, this instrument arrived in the Western world.

The Dumbbell in the Western World

The name “dumbbell” first originated in the 1700s with the English poet and playwright Joseph Addison. It is because he made his version of an Indian Club from an old bell. Since this repurposed bell no longer made any noise, it became known as a “dumb” bell.

Since then, dumbbells have increased in popularity all over the world, especially in the 1800s. The 1800s was when exceptionally heavy dumbbells started to appear, some weighing as much as 100 pounds. They remained popular because of their ease of use and how they can help exercise various muscles in the body.

Thanks to their popularity, today, we can see considerable variations in dumbbell types and styles. For example, in the past, there existed only fixed-weight dumbbells. If you’re at all familiar with dumbbells, you’ll know that this type is, as the name suggests, fixed in its weight and cannot change.

A relatively modern invention, however, includes the adjustable dumbbells. These include the plate-loaded dumbbells. These allow extra weights to be attached to each side of the dumbbell for more intense strength training.

Without the invention of adjustable dumbbells, you can imagine how annoying lifting weights at the gym might be. There are also now selectorized dumbbells. Instead of loading weights onto these dumbbells, you can turn a dial on the dumbbell to choose which weight you want to lift.

This opportunity to lift dumbbells of adjustable weight is highly convenient to the modern athlete or bodybuilder. Anyone at the gym or home can easily choose if they want a casual or intense workout based on their dumbbell choice.

The Dumbbell Deadlift

Hopefully, after reading this article, you are no longer wondering how to do a dumbbell deadlift. You have become familiar with the history of dumbbells and deadlifts and the techniques and variations of different deadlifts. There are also plenty of deadlift benefits.

If you want to get started with deadlifts right away, contact us here for more.