The single-leg Russian deadlift, also called a stiff-leg deadlift, is different from a standard deadlift becauseВ you keep your knees straight during the movement, creating an exercise similar to the good morning. TheВ single-leg version offers some advantages over the two-leg version, challenging your body on more levels.
Stand upright and hold the weight with an overhand, shoulder-width grip. Take a small step back with your left leg and balance on the ball of your left foot -- the front leg is the working leg in a single leg Russian deadlift. Inhale, push your hips back and lower your torso toward the floor. Keep your back straight and look in front of you, not at the floor. Keep the weight close to -- even touching -- your working leg as you descend. When you feel a slight stretch in the back of your right thigh, stop the downward movement. Exhale and reverse the movement until your torso is fully upright. Keep the working leg straight; do not bend or move your knee during this exercise. Complete 10 to 12 repetitions for one leg and then switch sides.
Use either a barbell or dumbbells for the single-leg Russian deadlift exercise. Dumbbells may be easier to balance because you can hold them close to the working leg. They also allow you toВ adjust your grip, turning your palms so they angle in toward your working leg, instead of facing directly behind you. This places the forearms and wrists in a more natural position, which may be more comfortable for some lifters.
Single-leg Russian deadlifts target the hamstrings with the lower back muscles acting as stabilizers. When you work both legs simultaneously, your stronger side may carry more of the load, eliminating some of the benefit to the muscles of the weaker leg. Working one leg at a time eliminates this asymmetry. The single-leg version also challenges your balance and coordination, engaging more muscles as stabilizers. As you descend, you can lift the back leg into the air to allow for an increased range of motion; however, this also increases the balance challenge.
Do not force the weight past the point where you feel a slight stretch in the hamstring of the working leg. Depending on your level of flexibility, this stretch may occur around the knees or farther down the calf. Keep the bar close to your legs and keep your back straight; do not round out your lower back. Improper form placesВ undue stress on the lower back and may cause discomfort or injury. Although you should keep your knee straight, do not lock out the joint as this places excessive pressure on the knee joint.