Video: Single-Leg Deadlifts

In the realm of fitness, single-leg deadlifts stand as a cornerstone exercise, revered for their ability to simultaneously challenge multiple muscle groups, enhance balance, and improve overall coordination. This versatile movement, often incorporated into strength training routines and rehabilitation programs, targets a range of lower body muscles, including the hamstrings, quadriceps, glutes, and calves. While the exercise may appear deceptively simple, mastering its proper form and technique is crucial to reap its full benefits and minimize the risk of injury.

Benefits of Single-Leg Deadlifts

Single-leg deadlifts offer a plethora of benefits, making them a valuable addition to any exercise regimen. These include:

  • Enhanced Strength and Power: The unilateral nature of the exercise engages each leg independently, promoting strength development and power in both lower limbs.

  • Improved Balance and Coordination: Maintaining balance on one leg challenges the core muscles and proprioceptive system, leading to enhanced balance and coordination.

  • Increased Functional Movement: Single-leg deadlifts mimic everyday movements, such as stepping off a curb or carrying heavy objects, improving functional movement patterns.

  • Reduced Injury Risk: Strengthening the muscles involved in single-leg deadlifts can help stabilize the joints and reduce the risk of injuries in activities like running and jumping.

Muscles Engaged in Single-Leg Deadlifts

Single-leg deadlifts primarily target the following muscle groups:

  • Hamstrings: The muscles on the back of the thigh, responsible for hip extension and knee flexion.

  • Quadriceps: The muscles on the front of the thigh, responsible for knee extension.

  • Glutes: The muscles of the buttocks, responsible for hip extension and external rotation.

  • Calves: The muscles in the back of the lower leg, responsible for plantar flexion (ankle pointing down).

Proper Form and Technique

Mastering proper form is essential for maximizing the benefits of single-leg deadlifts and minimizing the risk of injury. Follow these steps to execute the exercise correctly:

  1. Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart. Shift your weight onto one leg, keeping the other leg slightly bent and extending it behind you, keeping the toes pointed down.

  2. Maintaining a neutral spine, hinge at the hips and lower your torso towards the floor. Keep your arms straight and in line with your torso.

  3. Lower your torso until your back is nearly parallel to the ground or until you feel a stretch in the hamstrings.

  4. Drive through your standing leg’s heel and push your hips forward to return to the starting position.

  5. Repeat the movement with the other leg.

Variations of Single-Leg Deadlifts

To challenge yourself and target specific muscle groups, consider incorporating variations of single-leg deadlifts into your routine:

  • Dumbbell Single-Leg Deadlifts: Hold a dumbbell in one hand, opposite the extended leg, to add resistance and work the core muscles.

  • Kettlebell Single-Leg Deadlifts: Hold a kettlebell in both hands, keeping the kettlebell close to your body for balance and stability.

  • Elevated Single-Leg Deadlifts: Stand on a platform or step with your standing leg, increasing the range of motion and challenging your balance.

Tips for Beginners

If you’re new to single-leg deadlifts, start with a few repetitions without weight, focusing on maintaining proper form and balance. Gradually increase the number of repetitions and sets as you gain strength and confidence.

  • Use a wall or chair for support if needed to maintain balance initially.

  • Begin with a slight forward lean to reduce the range of motion and make the exercise easier.

  • Focus on engaging your core muscles throughout the movement to maintain stability.


Single-leg deadlifts stand as a versatile and effective exercise, offering a range of benefits for individuals of all fitness levels. By mastering proper form and technique, you can reap the rewards of this exercise, including enhanced strength, improved balance, and reduced injury risk. Embrace the challenge and incorporate single-leg deadlifts into your routine to experience their transformative power.

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