Workout Tips

Tips to Master the Single-Arm Deadlift

Work your back, legs and core single-handedly with this novel update of an all-time bodybuilding classic.


Single-arm exercises aren’t anything new. A one-arm dumbbell preacher? No sweat. A single-leg press? Bring it on. But if we were to ask you to perform a one-arm deadlift, you might just raise an eyebrow…or both. After all, it’s a very challenging full-body press-pull (pressing through your legs and pulling with your back) that stresses your legs, back and core. Don’t think a one-arm move can do all that? Follow these steps and get it…right!


>> Stand with your feet hip- to shoulder-width apart, toes pointed out slightly, with a dumbbell on the floor directly beside one foot.
>> Squat down, keeping your feet flat on the floor, abs tight and back arched as you grasp the dumbbell with one hand.
>> Allow your nonworking arm to hang straight down at your side, and keep your eyes focused forward on a point on the floor directly in front of you. This is your starting position.


>> With your abs and back tight and chest up, inhale and hold your breath, then push “through the floor” with your legs while keeping both arms straight at your sides as you stand up.
>> As you reach the standing position, exhale as you thrust your hips forward slightly and squeeze your quads, glutes and back for a brief count.
>> Inhale deeply and hold your breath as you begin your descent to the start position. Draw your navel inward, chest up and shift your glutes backward, bending at your knees and hips to lower the dumbbell to the floor.
>> Once you reach the starting position, exhale and begin your next repetition.


>> It’s important to remember on every rep that this is a press-pull exercise, not solely a pull exercise. Once you have a tight grip on the dumbbell and you’re in a safe, stable starting position, move your entire body as one unit as you press through the floor with your legs while pulling the dumbbell up with you to a standing position.
>> Keeping your working arm straight throughout the exercise will help ensure safe, proper form and a successful set.
>> Begin with light weight until you feel comfortable with this exercise, and always perform as many warm-up sets as you feel are necessary before going heavy.
>> Complete all of your reps for one side before working the other side.