Any bilateral lower body exercise can be manipulated to create a single-leg variation. In other words, back squats, front squats, deadlifts, and stiff-legged deadlifts all have a single-leg counterpart. I like some of these single-leg exercises more than others.

In the case of a single-leg deadlift, I’ve experimented with a few different variations (e.g. barbell loaded, no toe touch, w/ toe touch). I’ve found that loading the exercise with a barbell doesn’t allow the athlete to shift the load posteriorly in a manner that allows them to load their hips. Similarly, with the “no toe touch” variation, athletes tend to perform a movement that more closely resembles a squat than a deadlift. Check out the video below:

Dumbbell 1-Leg Reverse Deadlift

A few execution pointers:

  • Shift your hips back as you reach for the floor with your foot
  • Keep your shoulders back and chest up
  • Let the weights pass closely by both sides of your front leg knee
  • Think of pulling through your front leg to return to the top
  • Keep your chin tucked throughout the movement

This exercise can also be performed with a single dumbbell in the hand of the back leg side. This variation creates an increased emphasis on the diagonal connection between the hip and opposite shoulder.

To your success,

Kevin Neeld

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