The single leg deadlift (one leg deadlift) is one of the best exercises for building strong, stable, injury-resistant legs. In addition, the single leg deadlift is a functional exercise that is perfect for helping you get healthier hips, knees, ankles, and lower back.
This article will help you learn all you need to know about the single leg deadlift!
What are Single Leg Deadlifts?
The single leg deadlift is a hamstring-dominant hip hinge. As the name suggests, it is a single leg exercise that promotes improved balanced, single-leg strength, and musculature of several parts of your body.
Due to the hip-hinge motion of the single leg deadlift, it is a deadlift variation that requires more strength from stabilizing muscles, tendons, and ligaments, and less total body strength.
What Muscles Do Single Leg Deadlifts Work?
The primary muscles the single leg deadlift works are the posterior chain muscles, especially the glutes and hamstrings.
The single leg deadlift exercise also requires significant lower back and calve strength, and only marginally uses the quadriceps muscles.
The single leg deadlift activates the gluteus medius and biceps femoris (one of the major muscles of the “hamstrings”) more than the conventional deadlift, even when using much less weight (Diamant et al, 2021).
Benefits of the Single Leg Deadlift Exercise
Here are some of the primary single leg deadlift benefits and reasons you should include single leg deadlifts in your workout routine:
One Leg Deadlifts Reduce Muscle Imbalances
One of the key benefits of single leg deadlifts is that they promote symmetrical leg strength which is important for reducing the risk of injury and chronic pain.
Many people focus on bilateral leg exercises, like back squats, conventional deadlifts, or the leg press. However, these exercises are generally dominated by larger muscle groups. Unfortunately, only training the large muscle groups can cause muscle imbalances that leave you prone to injuries and the development of chronic hip, knee, and back pain.
Although functional bilateral exercises like goblet squats are beneficial, you can’t avoid single leg exercises if you want a truly strong and healthy body.
Additionally, many people have left-to-right strength imbalances. If you play a sport or you are an avid exerciser, then left-to-right strength imbalances can lead to inferior performance, along with the potential for injury.
By doing one legged deadlifts, you will have the opportunity to diagnose and treat any muscle imbalances. Along with this, if you notice any imbalances, you will be able to formulate a plan to address the imbalances.
For example, if you want to treat a muscular imbalance in your lower body, you can consider doing an extra set, or extra reps, on the weak leg to help you re-establish balance and symmetrical strength.
The Single Leg Deadlift Improves Your Ankle, Knee, and Hip Stability
Another primary benefit of the single leg deadlift is that it requires and develops knee, ankle, and hip stability.
Joint stability is important for reducing the risk of injuries and producing as much strength and power as possible while you are moving. So whether you want extra power for sprinting or you simply want to reduce the risk of rolling your ankle when walking outside, the single leg deadlift is a great exercise.
If you are someone suffering from issues such as Jumper’s Knee, doing single leg deadlifts will improve the strength of the stabilizing muscles around your knee, reducing joint pain you are dealing with.
You can even make this a more challenging exercise for your ankle, knee, and hip stability by performing it on a BOSU Ball.
There are many common sports injuries, and common injuries in general, that you can prevent by doing one leg deadlifts consistently.
The One Leg Deadlift Will Help You Become Incredibly Strong!
One final benefit of single leg deadlifts is that they will help you develop an incredibly strong and powerful body by increasing your ability to do heavy, bilateral exercises. In addition, since the single leg deadlift will reduce energy leaks from your ankles, knees, and hips, it can help skyrocket your back squat and deadlift numbers!
Not only that, but the single leg deadlift will increase your core and posterior chain muscle strength, which will help your body become stronger and more stable on its own.
Concluding Thoughts – Single Leg Deadlift Benefits
The single leg deadlift is one of the most effective exercises for a variety of types of individuals.
The one leg deadlift can help add muscle mass to your body, correct muscular imbalances, improve your strength and stability, and make you more effective at nearly every athletic movement.
Regardless of your goals with fitness, the single leg deadlift is a great exercise to include in your workout routine or deadlift workout program!
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