Are traditional deadlifts not creating the results you want in your glutes, hamstrings, and hips?
Has your deadlift simply plateaued, unable to budge?
Try adding the Dimel deadlift to your workout routine. It’s a deadlift variation with a smaller range of motion and more emphasis on pulling explosively.
In this article, I’ll show you how to perform Dimel deadlifts. Plus, I’ll explain its benefits and give you important form tips.
If you’re ready to blast through your deadlift plateau, let’s go!
What Is the Dimel Deadlift?
Created by legendary powerlifter Matt Dimel, the Dimel deadlift is a deadlift variation that trains the “lock out” portion of the deadlift. It is typically trained in a high rep range (15-20 reps) as a deadlift accessory.
Though the Dimel Deadlift is visually similar to the Romanian deadlift, there are some key differences. We describe these differences a bit later.
How to Perform a Dimel Deadlift
The Dimel Deadlift isn’t especially complicated, especially if you’re used to the Romanian Deadlift. However, make sure you understand how to perform it properly. Otherwise, you can accidentally injure yourself.
You’ll need to use less weight for a Dimel. Lift 30% to 50% less than what you normally use for a traditional deadlift.
How to perform a Dimel Deadlift in four steps:
1. Assume the deadlift position. Grab the bar with an overhand grip. Keep your hands shoulder-width apart.
2. Move your hips back. Lower the barbell one to two inches below your kneecap. You’ll feel your hamstring stretch.
3. Drive your hips forward while standing. Your hips will hit the bar, which will rattle the weights.
4. Repeat 15 to 20 times. You want to increase your speed with each rep.
The Dimel Deadlift is a fast, explosive exercise.
You’re encouraged to use lifting straps. Grip strength isn’t a factor here. A lifting strap allows you to maintain a secure hold on the bar.
If you’d rather watch than read, here’s a video from Elite FTS demonstrating the proper form for the Dimel deadlift.
Tips for Performing the Dimel Deadlift
Don’t let the simplicity of the move lull you into a false sense of security. If you don’t use the proper form, you won’t get the results you’re after. Plus, you could hurt yourself accidentally.
Keep these tips and techniques in mind.
Use Your Ears
The Dimel Deadlift makes a lot of noise when done correctly. The plates should bang into the barbell with each lift.
If the plates ring, you’re lifting with your hamstrings, which is what you want. If the plates don’t ring, you’re pulling with your back, which is a quick road to injury.
Center Your Weight
Center your weight over your heels while lifting. It not only increases your lifting power but also helps prevent injury.
Beginners often forget to focus on correct centering. While thrusting your hips forward, it’s easy to put your weight on your midfoot or even your toes.
Move Your Muscles
If the technique seems complicated, it’s often helpful to focus on the muscle movements used. When performing the lift correctly, your muscles will move in the following order:
- Hamstring stretch
- Glute flex
- Hamstring stretch during the hip hinge
- Glute flex as you move your hips forward
Focus on muscle movement, not speed. As you master the movement, the speed will increase naturally.
Dimel Deadlift vs. Romanian Deadlift
The main difference between a Dimel deadlift and a Romanian deadlift is the Dimel deadlift is performed more explosively and uses a shorter range of motion. Dimel Deadlifts are used to help train the lockout portion of the deadlift. Romanian deadlifts are better for hamstring development.
The Romanian Deadlift is a popular deadlift technique used in gyms around the world. It’s easier on your lower back than a traditional deadlift. Plus, the lift stimulates growth in the hips and hamstrings because you don’t bend your knees.
Related: Learn the differences between the Romanian deadlift vs conventional deadlift.
While they’re similar in many ways, the Dimel and Romanian Deadlifts have four key differences:
The Romanian Deadlift requires you to drop the barbell as low as possible with each rep. With a Dimel, you only lower the bar to one to two inches below your kneecaps.
You perform Dimels at a much faster clip than Romanians. The Romanian requires slow, controlled movements, but the Dimel is a fast, explosive exercise that emphasizes “locking out” the lift and firing the glutes.
Dimel deadlift sets typically include between 15 and 20 reps, whereas Romanian deadlifts are often performed using a wide variety of rep ranges.
Range of Motion
The Dimel requires less range of motion (ROM) than the Romanian because you’re not bending down as low.
Here’s a great video from Christy Senay illustrating the subtle differences between the Dimel Deadlift and the Romanian Deadlift.
Benefits of Dimel Deadlift
You’ll feel the soreness the next day, but Dimel deadlifts can be worth it. They improve the following:
- Hamstring Strength – The Dimel doesn’t emphasize your quads, so you load the hamstrings with more weight.
- Glute Strength – The partial range of motion emphasizes your glutes, making these exercises great for shaping your booty.
- Posterior Chain Strength – These explosive deadlifts strengthen all the muscles from the back of your head down to your heels.
- Lockout Strength – It helps develop the muscles needed to complete the final third of a traditional deadlift.
Dimel deadlifts aren’t a replacement for traditional deadlifts. Instead, they can be helpful to improve explosiveness and intention, especially if you’re often missing your deadlift at the upper portion of the movement.
Here’s a quick list to help you learn the correct form. When holding the barbell just below your knee, take stock of your body’s position.
- Keep your shins vertical
- Line up your shoulders behind the barbell
- Rest your weight on your heels
- Keep your back flat
- Push your abs outward
- Keep your head up
- Hold in your air
Once you’re in the correct position, you can safely pull fast reps.
Adding the Dimel Deadlift to your workout routine will increase your posterior chain strength and ability to squat and deadlift. Do two to three sets of 15 a few times a week. You’ll notice a significant improvement in the shape of your rear and the strength of your hamstring and quads.
Remember: Dimel deadlifts are like Romanian deadlifts but with a more limited range of motion. You hold the barbell beneath your kneecaps. Pay attention to your form and listen for the clang of the barbell. You’ll become a Dimel Deadlift master in no time!