Dumbbell Clean and Press and the Dumbbell Deadlift – 2 Badass Lifts to Add to Your Workout

The clean and press is an ideal supplementary exercise that can effectively improve your bench press, squat, and deadlift performance.


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The clean and press and the deadlift are two types of lifts often seen in Olympic weightlifting and powerlifting competitions. This article looks closely at two workout moves sure to make you sweat.

Dumbbell Clean and Press

The clean & press is a good choice for building muscle, strength, and explosiveness. You can do it with dumbbells. The dumbbell clean and press may be a better choice than the barbell clean and press for most people, especially those who are not trained Olympic lifters.

The dumbbell clean and press is an excellent alternative to the barbell clean and press if you are looking to get most of the same benefits but without the same steep learning curve or risk of injury. Here is an explanation of the dumbbell clean and press, a weightlifting move.

What Muscles Does a Dumbbell Clean and Press Work?

The dumbbell clean and press is an excellent exercise for working all of the major muscles along the posterior and anterior Chains. In other words, it’s a total-body exercise.

The muscles in the calves, quads, hamstrings, and glutes work together to lift the weights up from the floor or hang position and extend the hips. The abdomen muscles help keep your spine stable as you extend your hips and stand up tall.

The muscles in the traps, lats, and rhomboids contract powerfully to raise the weights to shoulder level. As you lift the dumbbells, the muscles in your hands and forearms work hard to keep them from slipping, while your biceps are also tense. To finish the exercise with a press, the deltoids, upper pecs, and triceps work together as the core tries to stay stable.

Some benefits of doing the dumbbell clean and press are that it is a full-body exercise, builds muscle, and increases strength and power.

The dumbbell clean and press is an excellent way to develop total body strength, power, and stability in the shoulders and trunk.

You take weight from the floor (or at least knee level) and control its path overhead, just like with the barbell clean and press.

Clean and the press is an excellent move to use when training for fat loss because it works many muscles and burns many calories. Dumbbells are not as effective as barbells in weight lifting, but the exercise is still meant to be done with a lot of weight to build strength and size.

The main advantage of dumbbells over a barbell is that they allow you to load each side of your body independently. For one thing, they make the exercise unilateral. You have to control two weights separately, but you have to coordinate their movement together. This makes it more difficult for your core and stabilizer muscles, including the ones in the shoulders responsible for pressing motions, to stay stable. Dumbbells offer a greater range of motion than a barbell clean and press; greater range means more muscle activation.

The clean and press is a highly effective movement that simultaneously works multiple joints and large muscle groups.

How To Do A Dumbbell Clean and Press

Step 1. Place two dumbbells on the floor. You can position the dumbbells, so the handles are horizontal and right in front of your feet. If the weights feel too far away to reach when they are lying horizontally, you can try placing them vertically at the outsides of your feet instead or angling them slightly inward. If the dumbbells seem too far from the floor and you know you won’t be able to pick them up without rounding your lower back, start with them hanging at your sides.

Step 2. Stand with your feet straight and hip-width apart. Bend at your hips, keeping your knees straight, and reach down to grab the dumbbells on the floor. When performing a deadlift, you should start and end in the same position. Grip the dumbbells with your arms straight. Your head, spine, and pelvis should all be aligned.

Bend your hips back and allow your knees to bend until the dumbbells hang outside your knees. The hang position of a clean is the starting position for this exercise.

Step 3. Press your feet on the floor and contract your abs and gluteal muscles. To get the dumbbells moving upward, extend your hips and knees.

Step 4. Shrug your shoulders, squeeze your glutes as the weights pass knee level, and allow the momentum to carry the dumbbells up in front of you.

Step 5. Use your elbows to push the dumbbells forward until they are at shoulder level. Drop into a squat to absorb the force. Tuck your thumbs into your palms so that your thumbs are facing backward and your palms are facing each other.

Step 6. Ensure your tailbone is tucked in a little bit, so your pelvis is in line with the floor. Brace your core, pulling your ribs down.

Step 7. Keep the weights pressed straight overhead to lock them in place, while also keeping your ribs down. Stand up straight, then bring the weights back to your shoulders. Lower the weights to the floor (or your knees) again.

How Many Reps Should I Do?

If you want to be powerful, do sets of three to six reps. It is only necessary to do three work sets, which are the ones you do after your warmup sets, to be challenged. You will get the full neuromuscular benefits of the exercise without compromising your form if you do this amount of volume.

If you want to increase your endurance and the amount of muscle you have, you could do three sets of 10 to 20 reps with a lighter weight.

Make sure to stop your workout if you start to slow down or if your technique gets worse. If you are new to cleaning and presses, do lower reps first to learn the movement, and work on endurance after perfecting the technique.

Dumbbell Deadlift

The deadlift is the best exercise for developing pulling strength. Although it may not be the most popular exercise, it is still very versatile and can be customized to your liking. The dumbbell deadlift is a great way to build muscle, improve posture, and supplement your main pull.

For most lifters, the dumbbell deadlift can be used to increase muscle growth and strength; however, stronger individuals may find it has its limitations for top-end spower— but it is still a fantastic movement to incorporate as an accessory.

What Muscles Does a Dumbbell Deadlift Work?

The muscles in your back and traps help keep your spine in the correct position during the pull and prevent it from bending forward. Traps also help prevent the shoulders and shoulder blades from sliding forward, which can cause the upper, mid, or lower back to bend. The dumbbell deadlift is a great exercise to reinforce lat engagement and good posture.

Since the dumbbell deadlift is a hip hinge, the glutes and hamstrings get a lot of attention with each repetition. As the load is lowered, the lifter uses their hamstrings to control the pace and speed. The Romanian deadlift is a variation of the dumbbell deadlift that targets the hamstrings and glutes even more.

The low start position in the deadlift uses the quadriceps. The lifter must flex their knees deeper as they descend past the knee, which increases quadriceps engagement.

If you want to build bigger quads using dumbbells, doing squat variations is better overall. However, the extra-deep range of motion in the dumbbell deadlift does mean that the knee extensor gets a bit more of a workout.

What are the Benefits of Doing the Dumbbell Deadlift?

The dumbbell deadlift can help improve a lifter’s technique by teaching them how to properly position and set their back correctly. The dumbbells each move independently, so the person lifting them needs to be more aware of their body and control their movement to keep the shoulder blades together and prevent any rotation.

The dumbbells will help the lifter detect when they compromise their balance and swing out of their proper pathway.

The dumbbell deadlift is a variation of the regular deadlift that can help increase lat engagement. This is because the dumbbells act independently from each other, which can make it easier to swing or cause postural instability. The dumbbell deadlift can help show weaknesses on one side of the body, which can help build a more muscular back and improve technique.

Dumbbells with thicker handles can help improve your grip strength. This exercise also challenges your hands and forearms, as you have to hold onto two implements with your dominant hand cannot help with each repetition.

The dumbbell deadlift allows you to lift the weights higher than you can with a conventional deadlift. The muscles around the hips and knees will grow stronger if you increase the range of motion when working out. The added tension and engagement will give the muscles the extra push they need to grow.

How To Do A Dumbbell Deadlift

Step 1. Set your base. Assume your standard deadlift stance. Pick up the dumbbells, ensuring that your arms are straight and your shoulders are set back. It would be best if you kept your chest high and your torso as upright as possible.

Step 2. Drive straight. Once you have your back flat, chest upright, and grip firmly established, push through the floor. When you are doing squat exercises with weights at your sides, you should be able to use your quadriceps muscles effectively and push the floor away.

Keep your glutes (butt) tight to the floor when you break the weights from the ground. The initial joint action should come predominantly from the knees, followed by the hips.

Step 3. Lower with control. The competition barbell deadlift has no eccentric portion, while the dumbbell deadlift should be lowered under control. To complete the exercise, slowly lower the weights back to the floor in a reverse motion to when you began.

When the weights pass knee level again, maintaining control of your tempo will be the most challenging part of the eccentric.

How Many Reps Should I Do?

Start by doing two to three sets of five to 10 reps, using a slow and controlled “eccentric” (negative) phase, focusing on maintaining proper positioning of the back, and not allowing the shoulder to roll forward. You can take as long a break as you need to ensure you’re fully recovered.

The dumbbell deadlift is good for gaining muscle and size, as it can be trained in a full range of motion and is not too heavy for beginner lifters. This means it is suitable for building muscle, allowing you to do more repetitions and have a greater range of motion.

To gain muscle mass, you should start by doing two to three sets of 8-15 repetitions, using a heavyweight, and training close to failure. Rest for however long it takes to be able to train hard.

If you want to improve your systemic muscular endurance, try doing exercises with high reps and for longer periods. Some people who lift weights may want to train themselves to have more endurance for sports performance. This would mean doing more repetitions and/or taking shorter rests.

Do two to three sets of either 10-20 repetitions or sets lasting 45-90 seconds.