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Dumbell Deadlifts?


Odd situation here - I travel constantly (80-90 percent) for work, and hotel gyms don't have the best equipment. I can usually find dumbells, and can do most of the core lifts (bench, squat, shoulder press) but am stuck on deadlifts. What can I do with dumbells that duplicates the effect of a deadlift?



What's wrong with putting them on the ground and then picking them up? Ya know, like a deadlift...only with dumbbells.


Exactly (it's a big stretch but the weigh is so much less) I like RDL's with dumbbells.


The low position of the handles would make it a bitch.

RDLs like elars21 said.


I was (perhaps mis-) informed that hi-rep deadlifts were a Bad Thing, especially for someone with my genetic tendencies to a bad back. Guess I was wrong.

RDL - Reverse dead lift? Start up high and let the dumbbells drop?



Try single leg RDLs (Romanian deadlifts).

Its an excellent exercise in general, but especially when you are limited to dumbbells.

Do a search on the site for a description. Eric Cressey goes over them in some of his articles.


Single leg deadlifts.


One arm deadlifts ... depends how heavy the weights are though. Note by one-arm deadlifts I mean with both feet on the floor, I don't mean single leg deadlifts.

Maybe you could try carrying a rocklimbing sling or two with you ... and sling a few dumbells together. You might need to do the lift off a box though ... maybe some of those steppers, if they are strong enough. Even doing this, you might be limited to one arm deadlifts still.

Also, some of the exercise equipment in the gym might weight a bit, and be in need of some deadlifting. You could try lifting the smith machine if it isn't bolted down. If anyone complains, tell them it got stuck.


Dumbbell in each hand, stiff-legged deadlifts. Both feet on floor.

Stand erect with dumbbell in each hand, legs straight but knees not locked. Bend at the waist, with an arched back, keeping legs straight. Lower dumbbells past knees. Reverse movement, standing up straight. Repeat.


I'm not sure it's the technique he's worried about, but probably that those hotel gyms have 20lb DB's max. Not much of a deadlift with only 20lbs in each hand. Try to find something heavy to lift at the hotel to mimic a deadlift, but don't hurt yourself.


throw a couple of hookers on the bed and DL that...hold the end of the bed, lift, be careful not to make the hookers tumble over each other and hit their heads, pause for a few seconds, let hookers get back in position, then lower...repeat...

after, have sex with hookers, then dont pay and kick them out.

do 4 sets of 6.


In my experience, deadlifting can be tricky when traveling. However, there are a lot of excercises you can do to substitute them. Whenever I'm traveling I like to do one legged squats (if you are weak at those you should do them anyway), neck bridges and overhead squats which can be done with dumbbels. They really hit your back.
Then, there's dumbell snatches which make for good cardio and an excellent hams and traps excercise, and two dumbell clean and jerk.


After you kick the first six out, how do you get eighteen more to come in?


Ditto. Ian King wrote about them. Do them weighted.


Apart fro the great suggestions of doing them on one leg (which are REALLY hard in my opinion), you can also:-

  1. Stand on a platform (a bench, at a pinch) so you have to pick up the DB's from a position lower or much-lower than your feet. Even light DB's get heavy doing that. :slightly_smiling:

  2. Stick the DB's over your head while in the down position and stand up. That too will help you appreciate what "low centre* of gravity" can do for you. :slightly_smiling:


*or "center", depending upon which side of the atlantic you're reading from. :slightly_smiling:


I have been doing a lot of DB deads lately, just the regular kind. The only difference is that I use a semi supinated grip so the DB's are just hanging directly by my side and not putting the weight all the way to the ground. I find that it is also a great forearm work out. Obviously these only work if you can get heavy enough DB's.


If you don't know what an RDL is, you haven't read enough info on this site.

Secondly, why would high rep deadlifts put more strain on your back then low rep deadlifts? This doesn't make any sense.

Finally, the deadlift is about the easiest lift do with shit you have lying around. Pick something heavy up. That's a deadlift.


I'm a fan of single leg RDLs with heavy dumbells. Nothing makes my ass ache like those. If you are looking for an efficient on-the-road work out with dumbells, try single arm dumbell snatches. Those will work your posterior chain, and practically everything else for that matter.


Dumbell problems:

  1. too light

  2. cannot use the asymmetric power grip (one hand pronated, one supinated) therefore weights can roll out of hand more easily

  3. dumbells hit your legs and go up at funny angle unlike barbell


  1. multiple dumbells wrapped in straps somehow. or lift the rack. or gym gear.

  2. grab the straps.

  3. use straps and lift from a height so dumbell no hit ye knee


I don't like high rep deadlifts because I tend to lose form and hurt myself.

And if you are going to deadlift hookers, make sure they are dead first.