Exercise Profile
  • Target Muscle Group
  • Exercise TypeStrength
  • Equipment RequiredDumbbell
  • MechanicsCompound
  • Force TypeHinge (Unilateral)
  • Experience LevelAdvanced
  • Secondary Muscles
    Abs, Forearms, Glutes, Lats, Lower Back, Upper Back
Target Muscle Group


Hamstrings Muscle Anatomy Diagram

Single Leg One Dumbbell Deadlift Overview

The single leg one dumbbell deadlift is a variation of the dumbbell deadlift and an exercise used to strengthen the muscles of the hamstrings.

The single leg one dumbbell deadlift is mostly used as a way to better isolate the hamstrings and glutes. Its unilateral set up allows for you to isolate each side individually and its resemblance to a Romanian deadlift places the emphasis of the exercise on the hamstrings and glutes.

Single Leg One Dumbbell Deadlift Instructions

  1. Begin with a dumbbell in one hand contralateral (opposite) to the stance leg.
  2. Begin the movement by lifting one foot, unlocking your knee, and slowly hinging at the opposite hip.
  3. Hinge until your chest is almost parallel to the floor and don’t allow the dumbbell to drift forward excessively.
  4. Push through the floor and extend the hip as your return to the starting position.
  5. Reset and repeat for the desired number of repetitions.

Single Leg One Dumbbell Deadlift Tips

  1. Focus on pushing your heel back as far as possible and hinging into the hip rather than dropping your chest.
  2. Don’t allow the hips to rotate, you should be able to balance a cup of water on your back in the bottom of the movement.
  3. Your chin should follow your chest, don’t worry about looking up in the bottom of the movement.
  4. Ideally you should keep a straight line from your head through your heel.
  5. Keep a soft bend in your knee and don’t allow your arch to collapse as you complete the movement.
  6. Make sure you wrap your thumbs around the handle and don’t utilize a false grip.
  7. Don’t focus on keeping the weight entirely on the heels, you won’t be able to effectively recruit your quads at the beginning of the lift and thus you’ll be slow off the flow. So, to combat this, you should focus on driving through the whole foot - you want 3 points of contact: big toe, little toe, and heel.
  8. In order to learn and master single RDLs, it may be conducive to utilize assisted versions by lightly holding onto a rack with your free hand or hinging with both legs in position like a normal RDL but keep one foot hovering off the floor.
  9. If you can’t seem to feel your glutes activating, palpate the musculature with your hands and focus on pausing the movement at the peak of contraction.