Here is a new type of deadlift that I came up with after watching a Dean Somerset blog where he showed a dumbbell version which is slightly different. Dean’s dumbell version is excellent for beginners because you can move the load in between the hips, closer the the center of mass. For more advanced individuals, the barbell version becomes necessary.
Basically, the Bulgarian deadlift has never felt right for me. I feel that the stance tampers with the exercise’s biomechanics and impairs the natural deadlifting motion (at least for me).
Many people love the single leg RDL. This is an amazing exercise but I’ve never felt stable when I go heavy.
With the rear-leg abducted single leg deadlift, you put your non-working foot on a bench to the side of your body. You actually position your leg slightly behind the body as the barbell will be just in front of the bench which prevents you from purely abducting your non-working leg. This is easier to see in the video.
I apologize in advance for the rotated video – I’ll film another soon – but for now I just wanted to get this out there. I haven’t mastered my I-Phone and didn’t realize that it would turn out this way. I should also mention that my deadlift form isn’t the best form out there to mimic. I do best with high hips and a slightly rounded upper back. For my clients I usually utilize a strong arch in the t-spine and l-spine and recommend slightly lower hips. At any rate, this vid will definitely allow you to get the gist.
I love this variation because I finally feel like I can get my all out of a single leg deadlifting motion. Whenever I’d try 275 lbs or higher on a single leg RDL, I’d usually get off-balance and have to put my non-working leg down on the ground for stability or I’d wobble around considerably. The other day I worked my way up to 295 lbs on this version and felt completely balanced and the lift felt natural for the working leg – hammies at the bottom, glutes to lock it out.
Since I can single leg deadlift around 300 lbs and can only deadlift around 550 lbs, this suggests a couple of things:
1. The deadlift is limited by core strength, not hip extensor strength
2. The bilateral deadlift is better for core strengthening (especially erectors)
3. The single leg deadlift is better for hip extensor strengthening (hamstring and glute)
I haven’t tested this exercise in EMG, and based on prior experience single leg lifts don’t outperform double leg lifts even when more load is used, but biomechanically speaking it makes sense that the single leg version would yield more hip extensor activation while the double leg version would yield more erector activation.
Both the bilateral and unilateral versions of this exercise are excellent and should be utilized to varying extents depending on goals.