Do the Deadlift the WONG Way

There are exercises for strength and there are exercises for 3D movement. You cannot expect to maximize both within a single exercise.

We all know and love the Deadlift. Come on, who doesn’t like lifting heavy-ass weights off the floor and putting them back down again. It’s obviously to develop strength.

But the Deadlift is a sagittal plane exercise only, meaning it works in one dimension.

And then there’s the 1-leg Stiff-leg Deadlift. You know about this exercise if you’ve followed any of my programs before.

THROWBACK video of the week lol!

They’re a staple in my programs because they’re so good at improving single leg balance as well as muscular balance in the hips.

Plus, it trains your body to work in three dimensions: the sagittal, frontal and transverse planes, placing a unique load on the neuromuscular system and results in the creation of new neural pathways.

Now, one is not better than the other and both can be used together to produce superior results.

It’s all about SYNERGY.

Yes, Strength is important. But so is symmetry.

Like my rhyme?

Those who say that all you need are Squats and Deadlifts for the lower body have never had to fight a guy off while hopping around on one leg to defend a single leg takedown attempt.


That’s why if you’re into MMA or another combat sport or you want your body to be developed like an MMA fighter, you can’t just listen to the powerlifters or bodybuilders for training advice – their goals are different and incomplete (or excessive) for the needs of the combat athlete.

I was playing around in the gym and tried a variation of the 1-leg SLD out that really helped my single leg balance, as well as the springiness in my feet.

I noticed it most when playing ice hockey – I’d always had trouble crossing my left leg over my right – it never felt as solid as the other way.

But after a few weeks of doing the 1-leg SLD the WONG way, it improved.

This is a problem I’ve had since I started playing hockey when I was 9 years old. Amazing! Super! Fantastic!

This exercise increases both the transverse and frontal plane loads, which increases the need for the deep hip stabilizers to work, as well as the tibialis posterior.

Notice how contraction of this muscle raises your arch.

Notice how contraction of this muscle raises your arch.

I name the tibialis posterior muscle not to sound smart but to make the point that this muscle is important in creating the arch on your feet, and is important for having quick feet as it gives you the spring.

This is also important for power.

Anyway, check out this video, give it a try, then feel the benefits of improved single leg balance and perhaps cure your flat feet:

Do this exercise twice a week, at the end of your workout, for 2-3 sets of 3-5 reps.

Each rep takes about 6-10 seconds, and you want to go slow to groove the proper motor pattern.

What do you think about doing the 1-leg SLD the WONG way?

Hit me up below with a ‘Like’ or Comment.

Would love to hear how it goes for you.

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7 years ago

I’m finding it a lot easier to do your version of the stiff leg dead lift then a normal. Deadlift if I lift to heavy with a normal dead lift it. Hurts

7 years ago
Reply to  James

Back probz?

7 years ago

very nice what happen if i add the dumb bell to the cable grip and do both exercises at the same time? I have been doing the regular 1-leg Stiff-leg Deadlift as part of my patellar tendonitis rehab along with glute activation as you showed me on the kick couching program, side planks for my hip stability and squat partials just doing the bottom part of the movement to activate back of legs glutes and i even feel the internal part of my legs ( i do partials because the bottom movement its where i fail when squatting so my quads have to work harder so im trying to do just the bottom to get use to fire my glutes and not the quads down there and to get resistance and strength on those weak muscles, also this way im learning to integrate this muscles along with the quads when… Read more »

7 years ago
Reply to  Josemm

JOSE – not necessary to add the dumbbell, because we want to focus on the transverse and frontal planes, not the sagittal. So just stick to the cable with this one.

Dave Duong
Dave Duong
7 years ago

There was a traffic accident and I broke my right leg. It was broken into 2 separated parts and I needed to get a surgery. The surgery was such a success, I mean it connected two parts of the broken leg and arranged the broken bone perfectly. But somehow, my right leg is slightly shorter than the left one.
It’ve been years and people hardly recognize which is the broken leg. But I find it is extremely hard to balance while doing intense exercises.
I just want to thank you and I hope this exercise could improve my balance.
And may I ask, do you have any suggestion for my condition?