One-Leg Deadlift

The One-Legged Deadlift is a more advanced version of the regular deadlift increasing intensity on the legs and challenging your balance and coordination. It's an excellent bodyweight exercise that can be performed anywhere, with no equipment.

Primary Muscle Hamstrings
Secondary Muscle(s) Quadriceps
Difficulty Intermediate
Also known as Pistols, One Legged Deadlift
Optional Weighted Vest

How to do One-Leg Deadlifts

An exercise designed for improving lower body strength, stamina and balance, the one-legged deadlift is a good choice of bodyweight exercise.

To perform the one-leg deadlift exercise:

  1. Stand on one leg with hands by your side and your non-supporting leg out behind you.
  2. Keep your back straight, shoulders back and core engaged and lean forward from the hips (not the waist) towards the floor until you feel a stretch in your hamstrings.
  3. Return to the start position and repeat.

Beginning the One-Leg Deadlift

If you're finding the one-leg deadlift too difficult you can use your non-supporting leg to lightly touch the floor behind you for additional support. 

If the exercise is well beyond your capabilities you should first try mastering the standard bodyweight deadlift before progressing on to the single-leg version.

Advanced One-Leg Deadlift

When you've mastered the one-legged deadlift you can introduce more weight to add intensity to the exercise and continue to challenge the body.

Weighted vests are a good solution to control additional weight or you can simply hold dumbbells or kettlebells to help increase resistance and seriously challenge your lower body.


Always consult your GP before undertaking any form of weight loss, fitness or exercise.