Single Leg Deadlift: Hamstring Strength

The Single-Leg Deadlift is a brilliant exercise to strengthen the posterior chain. The glutes, hamstrings and groin muscles are all engaged. The lower back extensors function as stabilisers and are strengthened isometrically.

The single-leg stance requires balance and proprioception and makes the exercise very sport-specific. By flexing the knees to roughly 20° the gluteus muscles are activated more in comparison to your standard straight leg dead lift. A lot of athletes have weak gluteus muscles. If the gluteus muscles are weak the hamstrings become synergistically dominant during hip extension, which can lead to hamstring problems.

Starting Position

Assume a single-leg stance
Hold a dumbbell between both hands. If the exercise is performed with more weight, hold a barbell in an overhand grip in both hands.
Keep the back straight and the core tight. Look straight ahead.
The shoulder blades are retracted.

Execution

Lower the upper body by bending at the hip. Keep the back straight.
Lower the dumbbell or slide the bar down the thigh and shin of the supporting leg. Push the hips back and slightly bend the knee during the descent.
Swing the free leg back so it stays in line with the torso.
Lower the upper body until a mild stretch is felt in the hamstrings.
Squeeze Glutes and return to the starting position.

Key Points

Focus on pushing the hips back and not on bending at the hips.
The movement occurs at hip level. Keep the spine neutrally aligned throughout the entire exercise.