Master your Single Leg Deadlift

April 22, 2021

The Single-Leg Deadlift is an advanced movement and one of the most valuable single leg exercises you can learn for targeting hip and torso stability while also developing posterior strength.

Why you should be including the single leg deadlift in your/your clients programs:

  • They’re a true single-leg movement, challenging the body in a multi-faceted way – i.e proprioception and balance.
  • A strong carryover to sports, and specifically movements like running and cutting.
  • Improves and corrects asymmetries
  • Targets posterior lower body strength and strengthens core sling system, especially when loaded (connecting the shoulder to opposite hip).
  • Promotes good synergy in one movement. You need core stability, hip stability, upper back strength, balance and a solid hip hinge.
  • Teaches you to load and develop force through one leg
  • Improves mobility though the hips
  • Trains the feet and how to “root” your foot into the ground correctly
  • Can be used for both strength training programs and rehabilitation programs. I also like to use the SLRDL as a unloaded warm up movement prior to a heavy lower body workout.

Note: before you attempt the single leg deadlift, make sure you have mastered the hip hinge.

Bench Assisted Single Leg Deadlift

Before loading your single leg deadlift it’s key to ensure that the individual is able to posteriorly shift their weight into their hips. Often, people focus on reaching their hand/weight down to the floor which only encourages the low back to do most of the work. This bench assisted variations teaches you to correctly load the hip by reinforcing the single leg hinge as you slide the leg back.

Further benefits include:
– Pelvic stability & alignment: using the bench helps prevent the pelvis from rotating & encourages you to track the back leg in the correct position. The SLDL is a great movement to train proper pelvic alignment, if done correctly.
– This variation allows athletes to remain focused on the correct technique. You are able to focus on balance and correctly learn how to load the hamstrings without completely removing all of the back leg support. Losing your balance is probably one of the biggest problems I see when people are learning the SLRDL, especially once you add external load.
– I like to include a reach forward as it encourages glute engagement on the standing leg.
-Don’t think of having your foot down as a failure. This is a great starting point to truly mastering the Single Leg Deadlift.

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