Unilateral Exercises
Source: CrossFit Inc

Unilateral Exercises To Help Crossfitters Identify & Destroy Weaknesses

If you think about Crossfit. almost all exercises are conjoint and / or bilateral movements. both or either the upper or lower body, and both arms or legs are used. Squat, Deadlift, Pullups … What is not often performed are unilateral or isolated movements.

3. Single Leg Deadlifts

The Single Leg Deadlift is a powerful exercise which isolates out one leg in the deadlift process. It requires balance and focuses work on the hamstrings, glutes and lower back. This is a great core exercise that will also help to strengthen the posterior chain.



  1. Stand tall with your feet together and your toes facing forward. Hold a dumbbell in your right hand, or hold one in each hand. (Holding kettlebells in each hand is easier on your core because it balances out the load from side to side. This allows you to go heavy and train pure hip strength on one leg. You can then watch for and correct left/right strength asymmetries. The focus will be on initiating and driving forcefully with your glutes. This hip drive with stability is the same for both double kettlebells and single-arm kettlebell single-leg deadlifts. )
  2. Position your hands on the front of your thighs with your arms straight. Face your palms toward your legs. If using only one dumbbell, hold the weight slightly to the right side of your hip and face your palm in, toward your outer thigh.
  3. Tighten your stomach by pulling your navel toward your spine to protect your back. Look straight ahead to keep your neck in line with your spine.
  4. Shift your weight onto your left foot and lift your right foot slightly behind you.
  5. Inhale and fold forward from your waist as you keep the dumbbells close to your legs. Keep your arms straight as you continue to fold forward and lower the weights toward the floor. Raise your right leg straight behind you as you move forward into the deadlift.
  6. Keep your back straight as you fold forward. Continue to look straight ahead throughout the exercise. Fold forward until the dumbbells reach the floor, or until you feel a slight stretch in the back of your left leg. Bend your left knee if you are extremely inflexible; otherwise, keep your left leg straight, but not locked at the knee.
  7. Exhale, contract your left glute and slowly return to the starting position.

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