How to do the Single Legged Deadlift

how to do the single legged deadlift

What is a single legged deadlift?

The Single Legged Deadlift is a hip-hinge movement that strengthens the back, spine, legs and helps build muscle and strength of the posterior chain. This variation of the traditional deadlift involves one leg lifting off the ground and extending behind you. The most complex movements work more core muscles as well as the standing leg, which helps to improve balance.

For this exercise, your aim should be executing only with the perfect form – especially because it is a simple, important exercise that can serve as one of the key elements of your training plan.

You can do this with a kettlebell or a dumbbell and it’s also a very good exercise for beginners and they can do it without weights. You can make it part of your lower body strength and toning routine. It is best to do this exercise after warming up before the start of a training session.

Before you start picking weights up and start moving back and forth, note that it is very important to pay attention to movement here. Proper form here is really important to make sure you get the most out of this exercise.

Benefits of the single leg deadlift

The gluteal muscles, have three working muscles: the gluteus maximal, the medial gluteus, and the gluteus minimus muscle. The glutes form a very important part of the posterior chain in the middle, which includes the hamstrings muscles in the back of the legs, the lower back muscles and other muscles of the rear of the body. These muscles help maintain a good, upright posture and are involved in balancing the body.

In addition, having a strong rear end is important for maintaining a healthy lower back. Exercising with one leg increases glute activation due to increased need for balance from standing with one leg instead of two.

Step-by-Step Instructions

You will need a place where you will be able to stretch completely. Put the kettlebell down in front of you.

  1. Stand straight with both feet on the floor and legs straight, hands hanging in front of you.
  2. Press on the supporting leg as you slide the non-supporting leg back, allowing your upper body to move forward with your hips as they hinge. If at any time during exercise you start to lose balance, just touch the free-floating leg slightly down to regain balance.
  3. Keep the support leg (straight) straight or allow for a small, reliable bend of the knee. Continue to roll forward until your fingers reach the kettlebell handle, then hold the handle by wrapping your fingers around it.
  4. Complete the movement by pulling the weight through your back muscles – the muscles and pelvic floor muscles.
  5. Finish the movement with your body upright and the support leg fully extended. Make sure you complete the full range of motion by pushing your hips forward at the top of the movement.
  6. Take a pause to make sure you are in complete control of your balance, then lower the kettlebell back down.
Incorporate some single leg deadlifts variations

You can do this exercise in a variety of ways to make it more accessible as you increase its intensity and build strength as you progress.

It is highly recommended that you practice the single leg deadlift without weights to perfect your form before adding weights. Lower your torso to give a slight stretch to the muscles. Bend your supporting knee if you do not have enough flexibility to bend enough.

When you are ready to use weight, start with a little weight. A good rule of thumb is to do five sets of five repetitions per leg for this activity, then move on to a slightly heavier kettlebell and repeat the process.

  • Wall-press single legged deadlift: With this adjustment, you will stand in front of the wall, close enough so that you can bend one of your leg and press your foot directly against the wall. Then you will hinge forward.
  • Once you master that, you can try a slider deadlift, where you place your back foot on a bench or chair, letting your foot go back and forth as you complete the movement. Your hind leg will still be supported, which will help in moderation, but the movement pattern mimics the single leg deadlift a little closer than the wall press.
  • Following after the slider deadlift is the wall supported single leg deadlift. Doing the movement with your back leg off the ground but with a wall to your side so that you can slightly touch it for balance.
Common Mistakes

Avoid these mistakes to get the most out of this training and avoid strain or injury.

  • Rotating or bending the spine

Your body should be in a straight line, without bending your spine or rotating it. A rounded back can lead to back pain.

  • Bending the Back Leg

Keep your back leg straight in line with your spine. Bending can lead to rounding of the spine.