Single Leg Deadlifts
I have a muscle imbalance and I am very much aware of it. While sidelined from my last running injury, my sports massage therapist pointed out how much stronger my left side is than my right side. That includes my back muscles, my abs, quads, and calves. I immediately started working to try and correct this problem. Whatever exercise I could do to isolate the right and left side, I always did more on my right side. However, since I’ve been running so much lately, I have been neglecting these exercises and after my run yesterday, I can tell.
This morning I went to the gym to focus on strength training. I need to get back in the habit of improving my muscle imbalances. I did single leg squats, single leg leg extensions, single leg deadlifts, one arm dumbbell rows (for my back), and isolations exercises for my abs. Perhaps my favorite exercise is the single leg deadlift. It improves balance, strength, flexibility and allows you to focus on just one side of the body…
When performed correctly the single leg dead lift pattern requires the recruitment of all of the muscles up the posterior chain. The gastrocnemius and soleus work to stabilize at the foot and ankle. The hamstring group is stretched at the same time it is working to stabilize the knee joint, while the glutes concentrically extend the hip. During all of this the lumbar extensors work to keep the spine neutral while the rhomboids and lower traps work to stabilize the scapula and keep the thoracic spine in extension.
This one exercise seems to do a little bit of everything. I found a great article that details how to progress towards a properly performed single leg deadlift with weights and what mistakes to avoid. It also includes great videos to demonstrate proper technique. And perhaps my favorite part of the article is at the very beginning. A quote that reads “If it is important, do it every day” – Dan John. I can’t neglect my muscle imbalances. It is important to me that I continually work to correct this problem so that I can be a life long runner. Therefore, I must focus on this every. single. day.
Have a great Sunday and here is to a fabulous week!
Happy Trails and Happy Running,