One of My Favorite Exercises

Any type of single-leg straight leg deadlift, in my opinion, is one exercise that everyone, regardless of their goals should have in their program.  Why?  For one, its a unilateral which means you are going to get great contribution from your adductors, glute medius, and opposite side quadratus lumborum (stabilizers).  Secondly, it’s a posterior chain exercise which means it is going to work your glutes, hamstrings, erector spinae, and also requires a degree of scapular stability since you would be holding dumbbells.  Bilateral lifts, such as typical squats and deadlifts just do not require as much stabilization of the muscles listed above.  Consequently, this is a great way to get all those stabilizers up to par and to work in a more functional way.  You may see someone in a gym squatting 500 lbs yet cannot properly execute any type of single leg lift, maybe even with his/her own bodyweight.

Stabilizers that are working when walking, running & cutting.

I think I love any posterior chain exercise since I am victim of jokes at Endeavor for not having the glorious glutes like the rest of the stuff.  Not only that, but we know that getting those glutes stronger can prevent injuries in the low back as well as at the hip and knee. These are just some variations of the SLDL.  Posterior chain exercises and even double leg versions are a hip hinge pattern which means that the movement should be occurring at the hip and not lumbar spine.  Far too often you will see the low back compensating for lack of glute strength or just plain bad technique.  Important form cues to remember when performing these exercises are to..

  • Keep hips square to the ground (often times one hip will “open up”)
  • Reach the heel back w/ toe pointed down
  • Keep chest up/flat back
  • Pack the shoulder back (scapular stability)
  • Pull through heel on down leg

This first video is an example of bad technique.  Notice the low back does all the pulling, and there is no hip motion.

The next videos you will notice the proper movement patterns at the hips (reaching back and pulling through) while the lower back is simply stabilizing the lumbar spine.

1-Leg 1-Arm SLDL (kettlebell)


1-Leg 1-Arm SLDL (Dumbbell) – I showed both just because some people may prefer either the DB or kettlebell.

1-leg 2-Arm SLDL



Categories: Strength Training

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