We're working on another one of my FAVORITE single leg exercises this week! The deadlift! You might remember my favorite single leg squat from a past post - you can consider this its sister exercise! It's a great compliment for any weightlifting routine, but I especially like it in my pre-run routine. It's a great way to work in glute activation to the warmup!
Fire up that posterior chain!
The single leg deadlift is a great way to increase strength and power throughout the entire posterior chain (Think glutes & hamstrings!). SLDs have been shown to be one of the most effective exercises for glute activation and strengthening when performed correctly. Making sure that your glutes are firing correctly is essential for athletes of all types, whether you are strength training or running. You have this big muscle - so USE it!!
Another bonus of strong glutes? Consider it a personal, non-surgical butt lift!
Focus on ankle stability
As you hinge forward in the deadlift, you're challenging your body's natural stabilizers. Strong ankles are the key to trail running and stronger joints means less injuries down the road.
Single leg exercises are one of the best ways to test the body's natural proprioception. Balance is key in many aspects of your life - not just your workouts! As we age, balance is extremely important in daily life. It's never too late to start. You can further challenge yourself by varying the weight or placement of kettle bells.
How do I deadlift?
1. Start with both feet firmly on the ground. Focus on keeping the standing leg fully rooted into the ground. Make sure you feel secure in your balance before you move your hips.
2. Slowly hinge at the hips, keeping the back flat throughout the entire movement. Keep your head in line with your shoulders, focusing your gaze forward, but down. Pick a spot a couple feet in front of you - this will help with your positioning. Don't look directly down - this will cause your back to round! Point the toe so that the entire chain stays active and in line. Focus on allowing the hinge at the hip to bend the knee, as this will help add depth to your deadlift.
Tip: Keep the hips square throughout the entire movement. It is very common to allow the non-standing hip to open, or externally rotate, to allow for a greater range of motion. If this is you, make sure to pay attention to yourself in the mirror (or with a friend or trainer!) to make sure that hip stays in line.
3. As you return to standing, focus on pushing through the standing foot, bringing the shoulders up at the same time as the hip. Avoid straightening the leg before you raise fully.
Perform 8-10 repetitions on each leg.
Advanced: Make this move more challenging by alternating hands with the kettle bell. For an added challenge, use a single barbell!