Single Leg Deadlift
A great alternative to the regular barbell deadlift is the single leg deadlift. The single leg deadlift may sound a bit daunting at first considering how hard regular deadlifts are with both legs but do not worry! For starters you can drop the barbell and use a dumbbell for this one. You may even decide to focus on using only your bodyweight to start with and getting accustomed to the movement before adding weight. If you are relatively new to weight training or haven’t tried single leg deadlifts before this may not be a bad idea.
How to Perform the Single Leg Deadlift
Stand holding a dumbbell in front of your standing legs thighs. Left hand can be placed under the left side of the dumbbell and right hand should be placed under the right side of the dumbbell.
Place your left or right leg out behind you. Toes can be touching the floor behind you or be lifted
completely off the floor to make the lift harder.
Keeping your shoulders back, abs in and the back straight, bend from the hips and lower the dumbbell towards the floor.
Lower down to mid shin level. You wont be able to touch the floor with a dumbbell like you would with a barbell due to the weight plates on a barbell making it sit higher when on the floor. When the dumbbell reaches knee level you will need to bend your knees slightly until you reach mid shin level.
Keep everything tight with your back rigid (no rounding) and eyes looking forward and explode up through your heels to the starting position.
Why Perform The Single Leg Deadlift?
To Prevent/Fix Muscular Imbalances In The Legs. It’s a common problem amongst lifters and athletes that one side of the body is stronger than the other. Although it’s common for people to be able to lift more weight with their right arm than their left arm (or vice versa) the same can be said for your legs. Just like your arms, one side can become slightly bigger and slightly stronger than the other.
When one side of the body is stronger than the other it can unconsciously work harder and ease the work from the other side of the body. To balance out our strength gains the single leg deadlift is extremely effective. Your left and right leg get worked equally as hard as the other, helping bridge the gap between any muscular imbalances in your legs.
Variation. Every now and again your routine will need changing in order to pro-long progress and strength gains. The question is, how do we replace the deadlift? One of the best overall mass builders there is! To add a bit of variation into your routine the single leg deadlift is a great replacement for the regular barbell deadlift. Switching to a single leg deadlift for 3-6 weeks before switching back to a regular barbell deadlift is likely to improve your barbell deadlift.
Improved Balance. Most people have terrible balance. How long can you stand on one leg for? If you have trouble doing this you should first start off with bodyweight single leg deadlifts, just to grasp the range of motion and prevent any potential injuries you may encounter with a weight in your hand. Overtime the single leg deadlift will improve your balance. This comes in handy if you play any kind of physical sport.
Help Strengthen Knee Stabilizers. Knee stabilizers such as gluteals and the vastus medialis oblique (VMO) are worked during the single leg deadlift. In order for them to be worked sufficiently however, ensure you use full range of motion. Doing so can greatly build up these stabilizer muscle to help protect the knee and prevent potential knee injuries.