SINGLE LEG DEAD LIFTS! This is the sixth exercise of ten in the functional fitness series, and it is the first exercise of the series which provides balance, strength, mobility and stability training all at once for the lower body. Specifically, dead lifts will target the hamstrings, glutes and lower back muscles, while engaging joints at the ankle, knee and hip.
HOW TO PERFORM:
- Assume a single-leg stance
- Keep the back straight and the torso tight. Look straight ahead, retract shoulder blades.
- Prepare for movement by balancing 100% on supporting leg then,
- Lower the upper body by bending at the hip. Keep the back straight and supporting knee soft (with a slight bend).
- Swing the free leg back so it stays in line with the torso.
- Simultaneously move your arms forward (away from your body) to counter balance.
- Lower the upper body until a mild stretch is felt in the hamstrings.
- Return to the starting position.
- Perform as many repetitions as you can (5 – 12) while maintaining good form (see picture 2 below).
- Repeat on other leg.
In the beginning, you may need to modify (reduce) your range of movement for this exercise. If you cannot balance with your swing leg fully extended behind you, then hinge only to the point where you can maintain your balance before returning to the starting position. If you’ll practice a few repetitions every day, your balance and stability will improve in short order.
TO PROGRESS: Once you are able to perform a full set of 10 – 12 repetitions in good form, you may increase your posterior strength chain by holding dumbbells (3 to 8 pounds) or a weighted bar in your hands while performing this exercise. Start with lighter weights and maintain proper form while performing 8 to 12 repetitions on each leg.
Functional exercise number 7 of 10 will be posted by December 4th.