Single Leg Deadlift Form



by Becca Egan, BS, NASM-CPT

Exercise: Single leg deadlift

Muscles Targeted: Hamstrings, glutes, back, core - BONUS: balance!


This movement is important for improving balance and coordination along with working the muscles used in a deadlift. This move is also useful if you don't have heavy enough weights for a full standard deadlift.

Proper Form:

  • Starting with weight either in front of you (using a bar, dumbbells, or kettle bell), with palms facing your thighs.
  • Begin the movement standing on one leg and have the other leg off the ground behind you, not bending at the knee, as far back as it will go while still standing straight up, this will be your starting position.
  • Start lifting the back leg (think bring your heel to the ceiling) and as it goes back, your upper body should be bending forward. BUT there should be NO bend at the waist. You should be a straight line from your head to the raised foot.
  • The weight you're holding should be lowering to the floor as you go down.
  • Make sure your chest or shoulders don't fall or hunch, you should be able to see your shoulders in the mirror in front of you.
  • Once you get to chest parallel to the floor, initiate your return movement by bringing your chest up and return to standing.
  • Think of yourself as a lever.
  • Alternate legs.


  • Your chest shouldn’t go down unless your leg is going back and vice versa.
  • Lock your eyes on a spot on the floor and keep looking there in order to keep balance easier.
  • If you can't keep balance, use a chest height surface to highly place your hand on as you go down, or you can use the TRX handles and have your arms go out in front of you as you go down.
  • Movement should not change apart from arms being out instead of down.


  • Don't use weight if you can't keep balance, master the balance then continue to challenge yourself with more and more weight.
  • You can add in a row with your weight when you get your chest and leg parallel to the ground by bringing your elbows up and the weight to your chest.

Sample Workout:

  • 10/10 alternating single leg deadlifts (10 on each leg for a total of 20)
  • 10 box jumps or tuck jumps
  • 10 TRX rows

Work from 10-1
(Round 2 complete 9 of each movement, round 3 complete 8, etc.)

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