Move of the Week: Dumbbell Death March

Don’t look now, but the year is basically coming to a close.  Despite this change of pace, we’re still here for our Move of the Week! Check it out below.

THE MOVE: Dumbbell Death March

MOVEMENT PATTERN AND MUSCLES WORKED: hinge pattern; posterior chain (hamstrings, glutes, upper back) and forearms (grip).

WHY DO IT: The hinge is a crucial movement pattern, and it’s no wonder that we’ve already spoken about it several times before.  Even though the dumbbell death march is also a hinge, it’s incredibly versatile for two reasons. Firstly, the relatively lighter spinal loading makes it friendlier on the back than deadlift variations, the latter of which are typically meant to be loaded up to reap the most reward. Secondly, there is a single-leg component in the exercise because of the marching involved. This helps build single-leg stability and strength, and is especially useful for those who struggle with traditional single-leg work, like lunges or even split squats. For these people, the march is a good stepping stone to these.

All in all, today’s Move fits right into a scenario in which you still want to work on your hinge but need to take a break from lifting heavy, with the added benefit of working on secondary qualities like single-leg strength and grip strength.

HOW TO DO IT: With a set of dumbbells in hand, start off by standing in a tall position. Take a small step forward with one foot and hinge over this foot by sitting the hips back. Most of your weight should be on the front foot, and you should feel a bigger stretch in the front-leg hamstring compared to that of the back leg. The knees should unlock slightly during this hinge, similar to an RDL. Now, stand up tall by pushing through the heels, reset your feet, and repeat with the opposite foot. A set of this should look like a slow march.

To work on single-leg strength, you can gradually think about increasing the amount of weight you put on the front leg, to the point where the back leg is almost hovering of the floor. You can also increase your stride to more than Dan demonstrates above to resemble more of a split-stance.

For the DB Death March, I’d recommend 3 sets of 10 reps/side towards the end of your workout–they don’t call it a death march for no reason! Try this out if you’re looking for a friendly finisher and be sure to experiment with the single-leg aspect of this exercise. Be sure to let us know what you think on Twitter or Instagram @halevylife !

by Jeremy Lau

Jeremy Lau

Jeremy Lau Halevy Life Staff CoachJeremy Lau is a Senior Staff Coach at Halevy Life.

Jeremy graduated cum laude from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute with a BSc. in Biomedical Engineering and is currently pursuing his M.Ed. in Exercise Physiology at Columbia University. In addition to his academic accolades, Jeremy is a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist (CSCS).

Prior to joining the team at Halevy Life, Jeremy completed a coaching internship at Cressey Sports Performance, where he coached both amateur and professional athletes, among whom were many professional MLB baseball players.

As an athlete, Jeremy has played baseball competitively for most of his life.