Summer is right around the corner, and with the COVID-19 restrictions finally being lifted, it’s soon time to reintegrate into society. The beach and the pools are beckoning for us all, but the problem? We haven’t been working out for the past year and a half.
You deserved some time off, but it’s time to get back into shape, and summer isn’t going to wait for you to catch up. You need to do this single-leg deadlift to tone your lower body and keep your hips looking sleek so you can fit in that swimsuit you never got to wear last year.
Don’t worry; we’ve got you. Let’s walk you through everything you need to know about this single-leg deadlift so you can get toned before getting tan.
What Is a Single Leg Deadlift?
You’re probably familiar with a deadlift. This is where you hinge your hips with weights in hand, lifting a weight from the ground and bringing it up to your stomach. It’s the quintessential exercise to get your glutes burning and your hamstrings stronger than ever. This means reduced back and knee pain (and a better-looking backside).
A single-leg deadlift works these same muscles, but single-leg deadlifts add a balancing element that makes them even more challenging. Dying to try it out? Here’s how you do a single leg deadlift:
- Stand with both feet under your hips.
- Keeping your right leg straight with only a slight bend in the knee, drive your left foot back as if you’re kicking the wall behind you. At the same time, hinge your hips and tilt your torso forward until it is parallel to the floor. Let your left arm point towards the floor while you use the right arm for stability.
- Pull your left leg forward, lifting your torso back to a standing position. Repeat.
- Switch legs and do steps one through three again.
Start this movement with just your body weight, especially if you’re just starting out. But once you’ve mastered the movement, let’s take it up a notch.
This exercise takes a good amount of balance to accomplish properly, so don’t start adding weight until you’re comfortable completing it without. However, when you’re ready, let’s add some dumbbells.
You’ll want to use a lighter weight than you’d use for a traditional deadlift. This is because you’re only using one leg for support instead of both of them. For more toned muscles, choose a lower weight but do higher repetitions. For example, maybe a five-pound weight with around 20 reps is a good starter.
As you progress and decide you want to build muscle, decrease the reps and increase the weight. Maybe switch to a 20-pound weight and only do five reps at a time.
Regardless, this is a workout that is functional and effective even without weight because your body weight already activates your glutes and hamstrings on its own.
Tips for Success
As with any workout, we are more concerned about the quality of reps rather than quantity. You want to make sure you’re doing this workout correctly, especially when using weights, as it can harm your back when done wrong.
The most common mistake that people make is that they start to bend their spine to try to touch the floor. This is a natural feeling, but you want to keep your spine straight while allowing your hip hinge to do all of the work.
To help with this, imagine you have a glass of water resting on your lower back. When you hit the bottom of the move, don’t let it spill. This can help you keep both your hips and spine in proper alignment for the safest and most effective deadlift possible.
Benefits of the Single Leg Deadlift
Deadlifts have many benefits for your lower body, and the single-leg deadlift works the same muscle groups (glutes, hamstrings, core). However, since it uses a lower weight, it puts less stress on your spine and lets you complete a few more reps.
On top of that, it adds a component of balance that the traditional deadlift lacks. This increases the demand for your glutes, making this workout a real “booty burner” as they say. That’s essentially the reason why so many people look to these for a bigger butt, especially before hitting the pool or the beach.
Using the Gorilla Bow for a Single Leg Deadlift
Using dumbbells to complete this exercise is good, but you really only feel the tension of dumbbells at the bottom of the movement. When using your Gorilla Bow, you get the burning feeling of resistance bands throughout the entire movement. So if you’re looking to tone your glutes just in time for the July heat, it’s time to whip it out.
To do a single leg deadlift with the Gorilla Bow:
- Stand on the resistance band with your left leg, allowing your right leg to remain free. Hold the bar at your waist with both hands, just like you’re using dumbbells.
- Hinging your hips, drive your right leg back and get your back parallel to the floor. Hold your arms out in front of you.
- Slowly return to the starting position, pulling up the resistance bar as you go.
Add more bands to make this a really challenging movement that’s incomparable to what you can accomplish with dumbbells and body weight alone.
How To Incorporate Single Leg Deadlifts Into Your Routine
Single leg deadlifts are great on their own, but they’re much more effective as a component of your entire workout regimen. If you’re doing a strength-building leg day, throw this in after some of your other single leg exercises like lunges.
Additionally, it’s a great finisher for your high-intensity interval workouts, as it’s a good exercise for “emptying the tank” and squeezing out every last bit of energy.
Single Leg Deadlift Variations
Are single-leg deadlifts feeling a little too challenging? Or not challenging enough? There are a few things you can do to modify this workout as you see fit.
Typically, the hardest component of this exercise is balance. If you notice that you keep falling to one side or losing your balance, you can hold onto a chair or wall until you get your bearings. Keep your hands on something steady while still doing the full movement with your hips and legs. This will still give you some powerful burn.
One of the best ways to make the single-leg deadlift more challenging is by incorporating another move, essentially making it a compound move with another exercise. If you want to focus on your legs, you can do alternating squats to a single deadlift.
Do the deadlift as normal, but when you return to the starting position, do a squat. Then, go back to business as usual. This gives you some activation of your quadriceps that single-leg deadlifts don’t really accomplish on their own.
If you want some upper body love, you can do a shoulder press when you return to the starting position. With both feet together, lift the dumbbell up over your shoulder, pushing it towards the sky. Then, slowly lower it back to your side and complete another deadlift. You can even twist your abdomen during the shoulder press to work your obliques; just make sure you keep the weight straight up above your shoulders.
The Cool Down
Getting your glutes into shape is the most important element of nailing a hot summer body. A toned booty combined with some chiseled hamstrings will have you ready to hit the beach sooner rather than later.
Single leg deadlifts help enhance the traditional deadlift by incorporating a balance element that activates your glutes to a larger extent. Plus, it uses lower weights so it doesn’t threaten your spine as much.
You can use the Gorilla Bow to make your single-leg deadlift even more effective. And if you need more ideas to get your whole body looking perfect before your post-pandemic vacation, the Gorilla Bow All-Access Membership gives you unlimited access to on-demand and live classes. It’s a way to diversify your workouts without ever needing to leave home.