Dumbbell Deadlift vs Barbell Deadlift – LIFESTYLE BY PS

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Dumbbell Deadlift vs Barbell Deadlift

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The Essence of the Deadlift

Dumbbell Deadlift vs Barbell Deadlift

Just like the bench press, the deadlift is a compound exercise. A compound exercise can be considered as one of the main exercises for building muscle mass, in this case throughout the back and legs. Any serious bodybuilding athlete includes the deadlift in their list of compound exercises. 

Before attempting any type of barbell deadlifts or any variation of the deadlift. You should be wary as with the wrong technique or trying to lift more weight than your body is used to can result in a serious injury.

We advised you to first master the exercise's correct technique and then slowly start to lift heavier weights. It is important to always perform the exercise correctly, even in the warm-up set. Some flexibility is required to perform the deadlift (especially the Achilles tendons, the back of the thighs and the gluteal muscles).

After a while of deadlifting, you will feel like you can lift heavier weights as a result of all the strength gains and muscle gains. However, one of the most common problems that deadlifters face is a lack of grip strength when lifting heavier weights. If you reach this point you should focus on doing grip strength training. 

The width and type of grip are not crucial for the muscles' load, so choose the most comfortable option for you. The width of the stride should be about the width of your shoulders. Regular deadlifts utilize the erectors, glutes, quadriceps, back of the thighs, lateral and trapezius muscles, and forearms.

In addition, a weight lifting belt can also be used, which gives extra stability to the lower back. But its use should be limited to heavy sets, so as not to accustom the muscles to the belt.

How To Perform a Deadlift

Start by standing in front of the barbell, feet shoulder-width apart. Hold the bar a little wider than the width of the legs. Bend your knees, lowering your buttocks, with your back straight. Look forward and gaze forwards to keep your back straight.

When standing up, start lifting the weight first with the leg muscles and buttocks and then as it gradually lifts off, engages your back muscles. Keep the weight close to your body then. When the weight goes past your knees immediately straighten up your body, then slowly and in a controlled manner, return to the starting position.

Pay attention to maintaining the centre of gravity and mastering the transfer of the load from muscle to muscle, without staggering back and forth, without twisting your spine or knees, and without making sudden changes in direction. We will now compare the Dumbbell Deadlift vs Barbell Deadlift. 

Dumbbell Deadlifts vs Barbell Deadlifts

We have previously mentioned the pros and cons of using dumbbells instead of a barbell to perform a compound lift.  There is a difference. But the truth is that with many exercises, it is not as big as we think and we can achieve sufficiently effective activation when performing the exercise with either.

And in practice, everyone does exercise variations both with dumbbells and a bar. These exercises are usually combined as both variations have their uses. For example, after a heavy set of sumo barbell deadlifts, you are probably unable to do another set. Here is where the dumbells prove useful, you can do sets at a lower weight while performing the exercise to squeeze out every last ounce of strength.

The Dumbbell Deadlift

Dumbbell Deadlift vs Barbell Deadlift

If you do not have experience in deadlifting with a bar, the dumbbell deadlift is a great beginner alternative. Dumbbell deadlifting can help you train for the regular deadlift. Starting off this way will help you familiarise yourself with the technique.

This deadlift variation is excellent for beginners. However, it is often skipped in men's exercise guides due to dumbbells having some limitations. The dumbbell deadlift's main limitation is that you cannot lift as much weight with dumbbells as would be able to with a bar. On the plus side, dumbbells allow you to perform the exercise with a wider range of motion, thus even if you are injured, you can work around your injury.

The Barbell Deadlift

Dumbbell Deadlift vs Barbell Deadlift

The barbell deadlift is the main way that lifters perform this compound exercise. The barbell deadlift version allows you to lift heavier weights in comparison to the dumbbell deadlift. Most serious workout plans feature the barbell deadlift, either its the standard deadlift or the sumo deadlift.

But you may be wondering what the differences between these two variations are.  Earlier, we describe how you can perform conventional deadlift. So here is how you do the sumo version.

This version is widely used by fitness goers. The legs are spread wide, the feet pointing outwards. Performing the deadlift this way mainly puts the load onto the legs and buttocks rather than onto the lower back. The grip is narrower than the usual type of traction.


The deadlift is an excellent exercise that develops both the strength and mass, your back leg muscles, waist and hip flexors. These are its main functions. It can be useful for bodybuilders at any level of development. But since it is a dangerous exercise, it is best not to include it in your workout if you are a beginner.

You can "attempt" it only from time to time, with a lower weight. Include it only after you have about 3 or more months of experience in the gym. Do not deadlift if you are recovering from an injury or are predisposed injuries.

Where you include it in your workout depends on your personal choice. The deadlift is usually included as the last exercise either in the back workout (because it puts a strain on the waist) or in the leg workout (because it also puts a strain on the hip flexors).

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Dumbbell Deadlift vs Barbell Deadlift

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