One Leg Stiff Legged Deadlift (SDL)

One Leg Stiff Legged Deadlift (SDL)

This is an awesome hamstring exercise you can do at home or at the gym.  Its a single leg kettlebell stiff legged deadlift for hamstrings.  Now I know that some of you think that anything that requires balance is stupid, its not.  Yes, working on balance is good but thats not the main reason we are doing this on one leg.  Its because doing them one legged turns it into an amazing core workout.  Its triple duty, hamstrings, balance, and core – all at once!

hamstrings sdl single leg stiff In the start position you are standing as straight and upright as you can with your shoulders held back and your chest thrust out. Most or all of your weight is on the foot closest to the kettlebell. The knee is bent slightly and will remain immobile like this the whole time, no bouncing up and down with the leg.
hamstrings sdl single leg stiff As you go down slowly, the trailing leg is straight and in line with your torso. The chest remains thrust out and the shoulders held back. The torso is held immobile in this neutral position the whole time, no rounding or arching.  To balance, remember that your arm holding the kettlebell is the primary balancing tool, don’t try to do all the balancing with your foot.
hamstrings sdl single leg stiff Go down as far as you can to get a good stretch and hold it at the bottom – feel the stretch. If you are very limber you will have to do this standing on a sturdy footstool or block of wood.

 Core workout

What?  “Why is this a core workout” you ask?  Try it and you will see!  This isn’t a “make sixpack abs to get hot babes” kind of core workout, its more about building the stabilizing muscles that get used in sports and when you trip over the kettlebell you left in the middle of the floor.  Any time the torso is loaded asymmetrically, its a core workout.  When you do this you will feel your lower back, your obliques, your abs, and everything in-between straining to support that heavy arm with the kettlebell.  Most accidents that throw peoples backs out are asymmetrical, twisting kinds of accidents.  By strengthening your core slowly and gently with exercises like this, you will better be able to withstand the jarring surprise tackle from behind without injury.

I don’t have a kettlebell

Clearly there is no reason that this exercise has to be done with a kettlebell, you can use a dumbbell.  Its just that the handle of a kettlebell is a lot easier to grasp when you get into the larger weights because its diameter is larger.