Dumbbell Deadlifts


Blue area are the hamstrings muscle group, the main one we want to feel in this exercise.



I feel the Dumbbell Deadlift is the best deadlift because it is more hamstrings and less lower back. One of the primary problems with Russian (conventional) and Romanian deadlifts, even sumo deadlifts, is that they all tax the lower back due to the barbell having to clear the knees. This causes the bar to move forward, further away from your center of gravity and thus taking the tension off the hamstrings and onto the lower back. As a bodybuilder or any other related division of the NPC or IFBB the goal is to have developed legs and a tiny waist, this is the key to a X frame or V taper on a man and an hourglass on a woman.

If you’re stressing your lower back with barbell movements then your waist will grow wider. Yes it strengthens your “core” but so does doing it with dumbbells. Now some sports like Power lifting and Olympic lifting are keen on sacrificing symmetry and aesthetics to get higher numbers when they lift, but for most fitness people and bodybuilders the weight is just a tool to chisel the masterpiece that is you.

A hole-in-one is a hole-in-one, doesn’t matter if you use the biggest wood or the smallest Iron, what matters is getting it in the hole. And like golf, what matters in bodybuilding is the way you look not how much weight you can use for 1-5 reps. No one cares. They humor you because you’re excited, but no one cares.

What’s The Difference?

As I stated you have to clear your knees with a barbell. With dumbbells you can gracefully move the dumbbells throughout the range of motion of the exercise so you can keep them as close to your center of gravity as possible.

Like Romanian deadlifts you start from the top position, then lower the dumbbells down your LEG. If its not virtually touching your leg it’s probably wrong. As you lower the weight your lower back should be lordotically arched or straight, never kyphotically rounded.

Tempo and Execution

The descent should take at least 2 seconds like Kelsey is doing it, with a 1 second pause at the bottom to feel the stretch in the hamstrings. If you feel it in your lower back you’re doing it wrong, or going to low.

Explode out of the stretched position through the concentric phase by dragging your feet behind you like your a bull getting ready to charge, but your feet don’t move: your torso does! By concentrating on dragging your feet back you activate the stretched hamstrings not the lower back like you would if you tried to “pull” the dumbbells and stand up. The way you imagine yourself doing it changes how your brain signals the muscles and what order they fire.

You MUST HAVE A MIND-MUSCLE CONNECTION to be aesthetic, if you just throw weight around your going to look like a freak not a god or goddess. Use your mind to chisel your hamstrings, not use heavy ass weight to fluff your ego. No one cares how strong you are on dumbbell deadlifts, its a finesse move not a power move like Russian Deadlifts.

At the top and final of the 4 phases, the contraction phase, squeeze your butt as hard as you can, like your trying hold diarrhea in.

To reiterate the tempo is 2-1-0-1 or 2 second decent (eccentric), 1 second stretch (in hammies), Explosive ascent (concentric phase) and a 1 second contraction at the apex of the range of motion.


In this video Kelsey has her toes out 45 degrees to target the gluteus medius and outer hamstring (Bicep femoris) for side shots. This is great for making a womans butt rounder on top and bubble like; a perfect semicircle from the side, not saggy.

For men I suggest toes forward this targets the biceps femoris, semitendinosus, and semimembranosus equally. Pointing your toes in pigeon style will target the inner hammies (the semi’s)

At the bottom of the rep the body forms an upside down triangle. The weight is directly in the middle, the center of gravity, with the hamstrings stretched they are the primary activator and not the lower back. This is evidenced in how all but the first rep had a straight back. On that rep the hips came forward to soon and the lower back had to drag the weight up, rather than the shoulders coming up first and the hamstrings pulling on the ischial tuberosity in the pelvis to drag the entire torso up.

Most people look like a brutal train wreck when they deadlift, like if a train full of flammable gas hit a school bus full of orphans….It’s a horrid thing to watch, thats why I made this article and put the video in it; so you can see how to Dumbbell Deadlift like a BOSS!

To have the most effective workout, and the best pump of your life, Get Wyked 2.1!!


Nothing in this article or on this site should be considered medical advice or as an endorsement to violate any law of the country in which you reside. The information given is for fun and entertainment purposes only. All claims are 100% dependent upon proper diet and exercise. Please consult a medical practitioner prior to any diet and exercise program.

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