Single Leg Dumbbell Deadlift

Hey there! Welcome to the amazing world of single leg dumbbell deadlifts! This exercise, also called the unilateral deadlift or single-leg Romanian deadlift, is absolutely fantastic. It’s a brilliant way to target those glutes, hamstrings, and core muscles while also improving your balance and stability. Unlike regular barbell deadlifts that work both legs together, this exercise challenges each leg individually. By focusing on one leg at a time, you can strengthen any imbalances and enhance your overall coordination.

In this article, we’re going to delve into all the benefits of the single leg dumbbell deadlift. We’ll give you step-by-step instructions on how to do it correctly, point out some common mistakes to avoid (because safety first!), and even discuss different modifications and variations for folks at various fitness levels with different goals in mind. Of course, we’ll also cover some important safety precautions because taking care of yourself is key.

So get ready as we take a deep dive into this incredible lower body exercise! Let’s go!


The single leg dumbbell deadlift is seriously amazing for your body. Trust me, it’s a total game-changer. This exercise specifically targets those fab posterior chain muscles like the glutes, hamstrings, and lower back. And let me tell you, when you do this move, your muscly groups become stronger and more toned than ever before. Plus, your balance and stability skyrocket.

But that’s not all! This magical workout also does wonders for your posture by activating your core muscles to keep everything in check while you’re busting out those reps. And guess what? It even improves hip mobility and flexibility while giving you some serious unilateral strength.

Oh, did I mention the bonus of targeting specific muscles? Yeah, this exercise lets you focus on each leg individually, so any muscle imbalances or weaknesses don’t stand a chance.

Take it from me, babe – the single leg dumbbell deadlift is pretty much the holy grail of exercises. Whether you want to get stronger or just look damn good in those new leggings, it’s got your back (and glutes!) covered

Step-by-Step Instructions

  1. Starting Position: Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart, holding a dumbbell in each hand at arm’s length by your sides. Engage your core and maintain a slight bend in your knees.
  2. Lift One Leg: Shift your weight onto one leg while keeping a slight bend in the knee of that leg. Lift the opposite leg straight behind you, maintaining a neutral spine and focusing on balancing on one leg.
  3. Hip Hinge: Keeping your back flat, hinge forward at the hips while simultaneously lifting the lifted leg behind you. Extend your free arm towards the ground for balance as you lower the dumbbells towards the floor.
  4. Reach Bottom Position: Continue to hinge forward until your torso is parallel to the floor or until you feel a stretch in your hamstring and glute of the supporting leg.
  5. Return to Starting Position: Engaging your glutes and hamstring of the supporting leg, push through your heel and begin to rise back up to standing position while simultaneously lowering the lifted leg back down.
  6. Repeat on Opposite Side: Complete desired repetitions on one side before switching to perform the exercise on the opposite leg.

Remember to maintain proper form throughout the movement by keeping a straight line from head to toe, avoiding rounding of the shoulders or excessive arching of the lower back.

Common Mistakes

One common mistake when performing the single leg dumbbell deadlift is using incorrect technique. It’s important to maintain proper form throughout the movement to avoid strain and injury. Another mistake that people often make is neglecting their posture during the exercise. Since the single leg dumbbell deadlift engages multiple muscle groups, it’s crucial to have good posture for optimal results. Additionally, some individuals tend to use heavy weights without first mastering the correct form and technique. This can lead to muscle imbalances and potential injuries. To prevent these mistakes, start with light weights and gradually increase the load as you become more comfortable with the exercise.

Modifications and Variations

Looking to add some variety to your single leg dumbbell deadlift routine? Here are a few modifications and variations you can try to keep things interesting and challenge your muscles in new ways:

1. Dumbbell Deadlift with Two Kettlebells: Instead of using one dumbbell, grab two kettlebells of equal weight. This will increase the load on your muscles, providing a greater challenge for strength and muscle growth.

2. Single Leg Romanian Deadlift (RDL): This variation focuses more on targeting the glutes and hamstrings. When performing the movement, keep your back leg straight and lower the dumbbell towards the ground while keeping your other leg lifted behind you.

3. Dumbbell Deadlift for Balance: To improve your balance and stability, try performing the single leg dumbbell deadlift while standing on an unstable surface like a foam pad or BOSU ball.

Remember, it’s important to choose modifications and variations that suit your fitness level and goals. Start with lighter weights or regress to bodyweight exercises if necessary. As always, listen to your body and adjust accordingly to prevent injury.

Safety and Precautions

Before attempting the Single Leg Dumbbell Deadlift, it’s essential to prioritize safety and take necessary precautions to minimize the risk of injury. Here are some guidelines to follow:

  1. Start with proper form: Begin by standing tall with your feet hip-width apart and holding a dumbbell in one hand. Maintain a straight back, engage your core, and keep your shoulders down and relaxed throughout the movement.
  2. Choose an appropriate weight: Select a dumbbell that challenges you but still allows you to maintain good technique. Gradually increase the weight as your strength and stability improve.
  3. Stabilize yourself: If you’re new to single-leg exercises or struggle with balance, start by performing the Single Leg Dumbbell Deadlift near a wall or sturdy object that you can use for support if needed.
  4. Maintain control: Control the movement throughout its entirety by engaging your glutes, hamstrings, and core muscles. Avoid using momentum or swinging the weight, as this can increase the risk of strain or injury.
  5. Listen to your body: Pay attention to any discomfort or pain during the exercise. If something doesn’t feel right, stop immediately and consult a healthcare professional if necessary.

Remember that everyone’s fitness levels and capabilities differ, so it’s crucial to listen to your body and make modifications where needed. By prioritizing safety and taking precautions, you can perform the Single Leg Dumbbell Deadlift effectively while minimizing the risk of injury.

Try It Out

If you’re eager to try the single leg dumbbell deadlift, I’ve got some exercises and variations that will get you started. These options are fantastic for building strength, enhancing stability, and targeting specific muscle groups.

  1. Single Leg Deadlift with Dumbbells: For this exercise, grab a dumbbell in each hand and stand on one leg. Keep a gentle bend in your knee as you tilt forward at the hips and lower the dumbbells towards the ground. It’s crucial to keep your core engaged and maintain a neutral spine throughout the movement. This particular exercise zeroes in on your glutes, hamstrings, and core.
  2. Single Leg Deadlift with Kettlebell: This variation is quite similar to the previous exercise. However, instead of dumbbells, you’ll be using a kettlebell. This swap provides an extra challenge while also boosting your grip strength.
  3. Supported Single Leg Deadlift: If balance is something you’re still working on or if you’re just starting out with single-leg exercises, no worries! You can use a stable surface like a bench or even a wall for support. While performing the single leg deadlift, simply place one hand on the surface to help maintain your balance.
  4. Elevated Single Leg Deadlift: To take things up a notch, give this variation a try! Find an elevated surface like a step or platform that allows for greater range of motion during the exercise. By doing so, you’ll really engage those hamstrings and glutes as they are put to work with more flexibility.

Just remember: start with lighter weights until you feel confident in your form. As you progress in both strength and stability, gradually increase the weight. And if at any point you have concerns or questions about proper technique or modifications tailored specifically to your needs, don’t hesitate to consult with a fitness professional.


What muscles does the Single Leg Dumbbell Deadlift work?

The Single Leg Dumbbell Deadlift primarily targets the glutes, hamstrings, and lower back. It also engages the core muscles for stability.

How heavy should the dumbbell be for the Single Leg Dumbbell Deadlift?

The weight of the dumbbell used for the Single Leg Dumbbell Deadlift will vary depending on your strength and fitness level. Start with a lighter weight and gradually increase as you become more comfortable with the exercise.

Can I perform the Single Leg Dumbbell Deadlift without any weights?

Yes, you can perform the Single Leg Dumbbell Deadlift without any weights to focus on balance and stability. This variation is also a great option for beginners or those recovering from an injury.

What are some common mistakes to avoid when performing the Single Leg Dumbbell Deadlift?

Some common mistakes to avoid when performing the Single Leg Dumbbell Deadlift include rounding your back, lifting the non-standing leg too high, and not engaging the core muscles.

Are there any modifications or variations for the Single Leg Dumbbell Deadlift?

Yes, there are several modifications and variations for the Single Leg Dumbbell Deadlift. You can use a resistance band for added resistance, perform the exercise with a kettlebell instead of a dumbbell, or incorporate balance props like a Bosu ball or wobble board.

Is the Single Leg Dumbbell Deadlift safe for everyone?

While the Single Leg Dumbbell Deadlift is generally safe for most people, it may not be suitable for those with certain injuries or conditions. It is always recommended to consult with a qualified fitness professional or medical practitioner before attempting any new exercise.

Can I include the Single Leg Dumbbell Deadlift in my leg day workout?

Yes, the Single Leg Dumbbell Deadlift is a great exercise to include in your leg day workout. It targets the muscles of the lower body and helps improve balance and stability.


To wrap up, I can confidently say that the single leg dumbbell deadlift is a great exercise. It works many muscles at once and helps improve both my strength and stability. This exercise does wonders for my posture and balance, while also strengthening important areas like my glutes, hamstrings, and core. When I add this exercise into my workout routine, I see big improvements in how strong and functional my lower body becomes. Of course, it’s important to start with lighter weights and focus on keeping my form perfect all the way through the movement. And like always, listening to my body is key – if I have any concerns or limitations, I’ll consult with a fitness professional. Don’t be afraid to give the single leg dumbbell deadlift a try – it could take your fitness journey to amazing new heights!