Single Leg Deadlifts – What Makes So Awesome
vs. Standard Deadlifts
The single-leg deadlift (also known as single-leg deadlift / abbreviation SLDL) is basically nothing more than deadlifts on one leg. In this article you will learn about the training effect, the advantages and the variations.
That’s why single-leg deadlifts are better than double-leg deadlifts
The one-legged deadlift has a stronger training effect than the two-legged variant and also trains coordination. It’s especially interesting for you if you want to expand your everyday fitness Likewise, it can be used as strength training to boost your performance in other sports. Here, by the way, resistance bands like the alphaband Loop can serve you well.
After all, most everyday stresses are one-sided in nature. And many sports, such as soccer or basketball, also require one-legged strength efforts time and again.
This is already evident when walking or running, the natural modes of human locomotion. But also when climbing stairs or climbing and in many jumping movements.
A brief history of unilateral exercises
Funfact: Bilateral, or two-legged, exercise was not always standard. About 100 years ago, it was only a variation because unilateral exercises were considered superior. This was based on simple logical considerations that are now considered confirmed thanks to scientific methods.
A summary of the advantages of the single-legged deadlift
To the point, four advantages can be worked out for the single-leg deadlift:
- The single-leg deadlift places significantly less stress on the spine, which results in a lower risk of injury to the torso or back.
- The higher activation of the joint-stabilizing muscles increases the load-bearing capacity in the three planes of motion and simultaneously reduces excessive evasive movements.
- The asymmetries between the limbs are corrected, as the exercise helps to correct muscular imbalances.
- A higher potential force is applied per leg compared to the bilateral deadlift.
In short, this means that the single-leg deadlift is safer for the back, trains joint stability and promotes symmetry in body strength. Thus, the single-legged deadlift is better for increasing strength and muscle growth than the bilateral variety. Science says so, too.
The single-leg deadlift has comprehensive training effects
Many studies have now investigated the activity of the stabilizing hip muscles during various single-leg exercises. Recently, also in the one-legged cross leg lift with weights. This is what was discovered:
The gluteus medius (middle gluteal muscle) is activated to a higher degree during single-leg cross leg raises than during double-leg cross leg raises. And the gluteus maximus (large gluteal muscle) and biceps femoris (leg flexor on the back of the leg) also showed higher activity during this exercise. Only the activation of the large back extensor is reduced during the single-leg deadlift. So this argues for a higher training effect with the unilateral deadlift, and with and without weights.
In the single-leg deadlift, exercisers lifted on average more than half the weight they used in the two-leg deadlift. This clearly suggests a faster and higher strength gain with the single-leg deadlift.
The weight used for the single-leg deadlift is the same as the weight used for the double-leg deadlift.
By the way, depending on the desired severity, suitable weights include: A sandbag, alphaband loop powerbands, but also kettlebells, dumbbells or barbells. Of course, you can also perform other exercises with the aforementioned tools. Click here for more sandbag exercises
The Miracle of the Bilateral Strength Deficit
The bilateral strength deficit describes the following phenomenon: people are fundamentally capable of more strength output when they are active with one arm or one leg. This means that if you focus more on such exercises, your training will be more effective. By the way, the aforementioned alpha band loop can help.
Also with the one-legged deadlift there are many variations!
Variate you can the exercises by different weights. With kettlebells, for example, you can raise the weight closer to the body’s center of gravity, which is particularly easy on the back. If the weight is to lie in front of the hip axis to achieve a stronger training effect, however, barbells are particularly suitable.
Also stretched deadlift is possible with one leg. You might like a variation with the deflection pulley suspension trainer
In summary, all variations of the single-leg deadlift are both gentle and particularly effective.