The single leg deadlift is a uni-lateral movement which basically means working each leg individually. It is a progression from the traditional Romanian deadlift and focuses on working your posterior chain, so think the muscles down the back of your body, but primarily the glutes and hamstrings.
So why choose a single leg deadlift over a traditional Romanian deadlift?
Choosing to do the single leg version of this exercise will not only work your hamstrings but you will be working your stability as well as challenging your balance and co-ordination during this movement. It can first be done bodyweight to perfect your form before adding a dumbbell or kettlebell in to load the movement.
Being a uni-lateral exercise, you will be working on symmetrical movement patterns in both legs which will help to even out any imbalances you may have. You should always work to the slightly weaker side when doing these types of exercises to build the weaker side up to match the strength of the other.
- Start by standing on one leg with a soft knee
- Thinking about hinging your hips back, keeping your back straight and sending your other leg behind you
- Your opposite hand (holding the weight if you are using one) should reach down towards the floor next to the standing foot
- Aim to get your body in a straight line with the leg that is out behind you, feeling a stretch in the hamstring of the leg that is on the floor
- Bring your leg back in and stand up to neutral – keep the other foot off the floor if you can which will challenge your balance and stability more
- Repeat on the same side for desired number or reps and then switch to the other leg
- Thinking about hinging the hips back – this will encourage the stretch in your hamstrings.
- Keep your knees soft – make sure you don’t lock them out!
- Take it down until you feel the stretch in your hamstring – this will be further for some people than others depending on hamstring flexibility.
- Maintain a flat back – no rounding as you reach down towards the floor as this will put unnecessary strain on your back.
- Engage your core – keep it tight throughout the movement and this will help you stay strong and maintain your balance and stability.
- Keep your shoulder down away from your ear – this will also stop the shoulders rounding.
- Drive up through the heel – this ensure your hamstrings and glutes engage through the movement.
- Start bodyweight and hold onto something to aid your balance while you really nail your technique. Make sure you focus on where you are feeling the muscles working!
- Introduce one kettlebell or dumbbell (in opposite hand) and try not holding on to anything!
- Hold two kettlebells or dumbbells (one in each hand)
For more help with learning this exercise or perfecting that technique just ask one of the team!