Dumbbell Deadlift Weight Standards (beginner to advanced)

Dumbbell deadlift weight standards.

Deadlifting is an excellent exercise when you are lifting a sufficient amount of weight. Below, I share dumbbell deadlift weight standards that allow you to benchmark your performance against yourself and others.

A respectable dumbbell deadlift for the average beginner is around 40% of the individual’s body weight for a single repetition. Intermediates should be able to lift 110% of their body weight, and advanced lifters should be able to lift 150% of their body weight.

The weight standards revealed below will help you determine what is a respectable weight to be deadlifting and how much weight you should be lifting based on your gender, body weight, and training experience.

Dumbbell deadlift standards are based on my 4 years of experience.
Weight standards are based on my 4 years of experience in deadlifting.

How To Use These Dumbbell Deadlift Weight Standards

How to use these dumbbell deadlift standards.

1) Determining your training level:

  • Beginners have practiced an exercise for 1-12 months.
  • Intermediates have practiced an exercise for 12-36 months.
  • Advanced lifters have practiced an exercise for 4 years or more.

2) Choosing your rep range:

The weight standards are given for:

  • 1-rep max (1RM)- this is the maximum amount of weight you can lift for a single repetition. This is often used as a strength standard.
  • 6-10 working reps- this is generally considered to be the ideal rep range for building muscle.

3) Selecting your gender and body weight:

  • Dumbbell deadlift standards are revealed for common body weights.
  • Male dumbbell deadlift standards are given.
  • Females should use a 75% conversion (multiply the weight standard by 0.75).

4) Reading the charts:

  • Weight standards are given as lbs on the top and kg on the bottom.
  • Weights are for two dumbbells combined.
  • If you’re lifting at or above the weight standard for your given training level, body weight, and gender, then you are lifting a respectable amount of weight.

Beginner Dumbbell Deadlift Weight Standards

Here’s how much weight you should be dumbbell deadlifting as a beginner:

Bodyweight1-rep max6-rep max7-rep max8-rep max9-rep max10-rep max
120lb
54kg
42lb
19kg
35lb
16kg
34lb
16kg
34lb
15kg
33lb
15kg
31lb
14kg
150lb
68kg
60lb
27kg
50lb
23kg
49lb
22kg
48lb
22kg
47lb
21kg
44lb
20kg
200lb
91kg
90lb
41kg
76lb
34kg
74lb
33kg
72lb
33kg
70lb
32kg
66lb
30kg
250lb
113kg
116lb
53kg
97lb
44kg
95lb
43kg
93lb
42kg
90lb
41kg
85lb
38kg
300lb
136kg
140lb
63kg
118lb
53kg
115lb
52kg
112lb
51kg
109lb
50kg
102lb
46kg

Generally speaking, beginners should be able to dumbbell deadlift 35 to 45% of their body weight for a single repetition (1-rep max).


Unsure whether or not to include deadlifts in your program? You can check out my other post for a full explanation of the full benefits of deadlifting!

Intermediate Dumbbell Deadlift Weight Standards

Here’s how much weight you should be dumbbell deadlifting as an intermediate:

Bodyweight1-rep max6-rep max7-rep max8-rep max9-rep max10-rep max
120lb
54kg
140lb
63kg
118lb
53kg
115lb
52kg
112lb
51kg
109lb
50kg
102lb
46kg
150lb
68kg
174lb
79kg
146lb
66kg
143lb
65kg
139lb
63kg
136lb
62kg
127lb
58kg
200lb
91kg
220lb
100kg
185lb
84kg
180lb
82kg
176lb
80kg
172lb
78kg
161lb
73kg
250lb
113kg
260lb
118kg
218lb
99kg
213lb
97kg
208lb
94kg
203lb
92kg
190lb
86kg
300lb
136kg
296lb
134kg
249lb
113kg
243lb
110kg
237lb
107kg
231lb
105kg
216lb
98kg

Generally speaking, intermediates should be able to dumbbell deadlift 100 to 115% of their body weight for a single repetition.

Advanced Dumbbell Deadlift Weight Standards

Here’s how much weight you should be dumbbell deadlifting as an advanced lifter :

Bodyweight1-rep max6-rep max7-rep max8-rep max9-rep max10-rep max
120lb
54kg
214lb
97kg
180lb
82kg
175lb
80kg
171lb
78kg
167lb
76kg
156lb
71kg
150lb
68kg
254lb
115kg
213lb
97kg
208lb
94kg
203lb
92kg
198lb
90kg
185lb
84kg
200lb
91kg
310lb
141kg
260lb
118kg
254lb
115kg
248lb
112kg
242lb
110kg
226lb
103kg
250lb
113kg
356lb
161kg
299lb
136kg
292lb
132kg
285lb
129kg
278lb
126kg
260lb
118kg
300lb
136kg
398lb
180kg
334lb
152kg
326lb
148kg
318lb
144kg
310lb
141kg
291lb
132kg

Generally speaking, an advanced lifter should be able to dumbbell deadlift 130 to 180% of their body weight for a single repetition.

How Good Is Your Dumbbell Deadlift Vs Others?

Here’s the percentage of people who can dumbbell deadlift their own body weight:

Dumbbell Deadlift 1RM Weight (As A Fraction Of Bodyweight)% Of People Who Can Do It
0.10x100%
0.20x100%
0.30x99%
0.40x96%
0.50x93%
0.60x88%
0.70x82%
0.80x75%
0.90x67%
1.00x59%
1.10x50%
1.20x42%
1.30x35%
1.40x28%
1.50x22%
1.60x18%
1.70x14%
1.80x10%
1.90x8%
2.00x6%

This allows you to compare your standards with others.

To calculate your dumbbell deadlift as a fraction of your own body weight, simply divide the weight of your deadlift 1RM by your body weight.

For example: if you weigh 200lbs and your deadlift 1RM is 100lbs, then you’re lifting 0.50x your body weight (100lbs ÷ 200lbs).

The above chart indicates:

  • 75% of people can dumbbell deadlift 0.80x their body weight for 1 rep. This represents the lower quartile of lifters and is a respectable weight for beginners to achieve.
  • 50% of people can goblet squat 1.10x their body weight for 1 rep. This represents the median quartile of lifters and is a respectable weight for intermediates to achieve. It’s also a realistic target for beginners to aim towards with enough training.
  • 25% of people can goblet squat 1.45x their body weight for 1 rep. This represents the upper quartile of lifters and is a respectable weight for advanced lifters. It’s also a realistic target for intermediates to aim towards with enough training.

Factors Affecting How Much Weight You Can Dumbbell Deadlift

3 factors affect how much weight you can deadlift with dumbbells:

  1. Training Level. The longer you’ve been practicing the deadlift the more weight you can lift.
  2. Gender. Men have more muscle mass and can generally deadlift more than women.
  3. Body weight. The heavier you are the more weight you can deadlift. That’s because body weight has a positive correlation with muscle mass and strength.
  4. Rep range. The fewer reps you do the more weight you can deadlift.

5 Reasons Why Your Dumbbell Deadlift Weight Is Below Average

Here are 5 common reasons why you may find the dumbbell deadlift difficult to perform and why your weight standards are below average:

Why the dumbbell deadlift is difficult.

1) Uncoordinated upper and lower body movements.

All deadlift variations are technical compound exercises. They require coordinated movements between the upper and lower body to hoist the weight off the ground.

Furthermore, the dumbbell deadlift in particular requires even more coordination than the traditional barbell deadlift.

That’s because the dumbbells move independently from each other.

And this means your arms, legs, and back need to work together in one synchronous motion. If this isn’t done correctly, you’ll struggle to transmit all your strength into the dumbbells.

2) You’re leaning too far forward or backward.

Your head and upper back must not lean too far forward during the deadlift. If you do this, you’re shifting your center of gravity away from the feet.

As a result, you won’t be able to transmit 100% of your strength into deadlifting the dumbbells.

Instead- try sticking your buttocks out, sit back slightly, and keep a straight back. This will concentrate your center of mass directly onto your feet.

A good sign that you’re doing this correctly is if you feel balanced at the bottom starting position of the deadlift.

The opposite is also true. If you feel unbalanced, then you may be leaning too far forwards or backward.

Additionally, the dumbbell should travel upwards in a straight path rather than a curved trajectory.

3) You aren’t driving with your legs.

A common deadlift mistake is not utilizing your legs sufficiently. Remember- the deadlift is similar to the squat and is primarily a leg and back exercise.

Although your arms should be used to help pull the dumbbells up, the majority of the force should be generated from the legs.

This can be achieved by driving your legs into the ground to push out your hips.

If you fail to do this, you may find your deadlift strength significantly impacted.

4) Lack of whole-body strength.

If you’ve just started weight training, then you shouldn’t be too alarmed by a low dumbbell deadlift.

Although this exercise primarily engages the legs and back, your entire body is involved in some way or another to stabilize the movement.

Therefore the dumbbell deadlift is a big compound movement that works the entire body.

And if one or more muscle groups is lacking in strength, then your deadlift weight will be compromised.

5) You’ve got a weak grip.

Grip strength is a major contributor to how much weight you can deadlift.

If you can’t hold the dumbbells, then how can you expect to lift the weight off the floor?

Furthermore, grip strength is particularly important in the dumbbell deadlift, since each dumbbell needs to be stabilized independently from the other. This will naturally improve over time as you gain more deadlifting experience.

You can also check out my other post for a timeline of muscle gain!

5 Tips To Improve Your Dumbbell Deadlift Weight

Here are 5 tips to improve your dumbbell deadlift:

How to improve your dumbbell deadlift.

1) Learn and practice the correct dumbbell deadlifting form.

The only way to improve your deadlifting form and technique is with practice. The more work your legs, the stronger they will get.

But make sure you don’t overtrain them either. 2-4 intense sessions per week are ideal.

Additionally, you should practice with lighter loads. Once you’ve mastered your form and gained confidence, you can progressively increase weight.

Here’s how to do the dumbbell deadlift with perfect form:

Dumbbell Deadlift Technique – Perfect Form Video Tutorial Guide
Watch until 2:55 for the dumbbell suitcase deadlift (the easiest variation for beginners).

2) Perform deadlift variations and accessory exercises.

Since the dumbbell deadlift is a whole-body exercise, it makes sense to perform a variety of exercises to train all the muscles involved in the movement.

The best way to improve your dumbbell deadlift is to practice deadlifting with dumbbells. But different variations and accessory exercises can also indirectly improve your deadlift:

  • Stiff-legged deadlift. Shifts emphasis from the quads to the hamstrings to facilitate hip extension in the upper portion of the deadlift movement.
  • Dumbbell squat. Places an even higher emphasis on the quads to facilitate leg extension in the lower portion of the deadlift movement. You can check out my other post for squat variations for beginners.
  • Goblet squat. Similar principle to the dumbbell squat but easier to lift heavier dumbbells.
  • Dumbbell bent-over-rows. Trains the back muscles which are important for the final phase of the deadlift when your back becomes upright (i.e. the “lockout”).
  • Lateral raises. Trains the deltoids which are important for stabilizing the dumbbells as you go through the deadlift movement.

3) Stay within the 6 to 12-rep range to maximize deadlift strength.

To increase your deadlift strength, it’s best to lift heavy and within the range of 6-12 reps per set. If you lift for, say 20+ reps per set, you’re most likely going to train your muscular endurance rather than strength.

And as a result, you’re deadlift weight progression will become slower.

Of course, for this to work, you’ll also need to choose a weight that challenges your muscles for 6-12 reps.

Therefore if you want to keep progressing with the dumbbell deadlift, you must have access to heavy dumbbells.

4) Progressive overload regularly.

Progressive overload involves adding weight to your deadlift. This is one of the most effective ways to increase strength in any lift.

However, it’s essential that you only add weight when you can perform the lift with good form.

Therefore my advice to improve your deadlift would be to first decrease the weight by 10%, master your form, then proceed with adding 5-10% weight increments each week thereafter.

Indeed, once you’ve mastered your form, you’ll likely find yourself progressing rapidly and making 5-10% weight increases each week without issue.

In fact, you may even outgrow your current dumbbells fairly rapidly.

5) Eat enough daily protein and calories.

The deadlift may be the single biggest exercise you can perform. And this makes it great for all-around strength and size gains.

But for gains to happen, you need to effectively fuel the muscle growth process.

And this means you should be eating enough protein and calories…. every day.

A good target to aim for is 1g of protein per pound of body weight and a 5-15% caloric surplus. This allows you to pack on maximum muscle mass with minimal fat gains.

Now, many people (especially beginners) struggle to eat this much food. I recommend logging your calorie intake and slowly increasing this day by day.

For tips on how to do this, you can check out my skinny guy’s guide to bulking up at home.

Other Weight Standards For Dumbbell Deadlift Muscles

The dumbbell deadlift is a full-body exercise with an emphasis on the legs and back. Here are weight standards for other exercises that hit similar muscle groups:

  • Dumbbell squat– alternative to the dumbbell deadlift for training the legs.
  • Goblet squat – another effective dumbbell leg exercise for targeting the quadriceps.
  • Dumbbell row– compound pulling movement that works the lats, rhomboids, posterior delts, and traps.
  • Dumbbell reverse fly– isolation exercise that works the rhomboids and posterior delts.

Conclusion

I’ve shared my dumbbell deadlift weight standards for people of different genders, body weights, and training levels.

You’re lifting a respectable amount of weight if you meet or exceed these standards.

I’ve also shared my tips on how to improve a sub-average dumbbell deadlift!

You may also be interested in the downloadable Kalibre Blueprint PDF which details exactly how I gained 40lbs of lean muscle (it’s 100% free!). It details the exact exercises and nutrition (with printables) I used to go from skinny to ripped!

Kal

I'm Kal (B.S, M.S)- a health & fitness writer and owner of Kalibre Fitness. I love to nerd out on weight training and nutrition. My primary interests are in muscle hypertrophy mechanisms and strength development. You can connect with me in the "Contact Us" section below!

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