Friday, March 13, 2009

The Single Leg Deadlift

Sorry for my lack of posting in the last week, I was out of town with my wife Lisa. Actually, we were in the rainforest in Puerto Rico celebrating our 10th anniversary. Technology wasn't quite what we were expecting and ended up with no internet access for the week. Expect some great quality content over the next several days.

The single leg deadlift is an oft neglected movement. Unlike the two legged version, it is not a great movement for building raw strength or hypertrophy, but when it comes to improving athleticism and movement quality, I view it as a must use tool. It is outstanding for training balance while opposing large external forces. It is also useful for training the glutes in the transverse plane (that is while twisting,) something they are often subjected to in sport.

This movement can be performed with one or two dumbbells or kettlebells. Kettlebells will give you a starting point which is higher off the ground, which can be advantageous when first learning the movement. If you don't have kettlebells in your equipment arsenal, you can get the same effect with dumbbells by placing them on an aerobic step or at the bottom of an open platform. When first starting out, I would strongly advise against using a barbell or hex deadlift bar. The risk of losing your balance and your inability to recover from a potential fall is significantly increased with either of these implements.

To perform the movement, set up on one leg, with the other foot held just a couple of inches off the ground. While maintaining a neutral spine, push the hips back and down, allowing the knee of the plant leg to bend. Grasp the weight and return to the starting position. Points to focus on:
  • Drive your weight through your heel. Do not come up on the ball of your foot.
  • Force your scapula down and back before lifting the weight. Maintain that position throughout the movement.
  • Keep your spine in it's natural, neutral position throughout the movement.
  • Start with light weights for several sessions until you get a real good feel for the movement.
  • Use one heavy dumbbell on the side of the plant foot to challenge the anti-rotator muscles of the core.
  • Use one heavy dumbbell on the side opposite the plant foot to challenge the anti-rotator muscles of the core in a different manner.
  • Add a small hip rotation at the top of the movement. Be certain not to twist so far that you feel a pull in the knee. The knee is a joint that is designed for stability, not mobility.
Train smart; eat right.

No comments:

Post a Comment