Deadlifting is normally performed while standing on both legs and is used to build muscle mass in the thighs, buttocks, arms, chest and shoulders. The deadlift is a foundational strength building exercise which can be accomplished by using heavy weights on a barbell, lighter weights on dumbbells, or kettle bells.
However, you can also specifically target certain muscles by performing a deadlift on one leg which works to further strengthen the legs and core. One-legged deadlifts are more difficult to perform, but they are great additions to your bodybuilding program, especially if you want to work on core strength, balance, or certain lower body muscles that require further development.
Proper Deadlift Form
Proper form is required when performing deadlifts so as not to encounter injury. If you develop proper deadlift form then you can safely and effectively complete deadlifts with either one or two legs since the techniques for both is basically the same.
Deadlift means you are lifting a stationary amount of weight from off the floor to waist level. Regardless of whether you use a weighted barbell, dumbbells, or kettle bells, you want to follow the same proper deadlift form. You should bend over with your feet positioned about shoulder width apart, abs pulled tight, back flat and head looking straight ahead (not down). You also want to keep the weight close to your body to minimize back strain.
Double Leg Deadlift
Utilizing both legs during deadlifts accomplishes great amounts of leg and upper body strength. Because both legs are used for balance and support, greater amounts of weight can be lifted, which also benefits grip strength. Although dumbbells and kettle bells can be used, the selection most preferred by weightlifters is the barbell since much larger amounts of weight can be used and it provides a steadier lift. When using a barbell, use either an overhand grip or one hand over the bar and the other under the bar. Since the grip is the weak link during the deadlift, you may want to use lifting straps when you reach very heavy weights. Just be careful not to rely on lifting straps in all your deadlifts or your grip strength will suffer.
Single Leg Deadlift
Performing single leg deadlifts will help you achieve greater balance as well as further develop and increase flexibility in targeted leg muscles. You will utilize the same technique as for double leg deadlifts only you will extend one leg out behind you and lift with one leg until you are in the standing position with the weight reaching waist level. Of course, lighter amounts of weight will be required and dumbbells and kettle bells are easier to use than a barbell. However, performing single leg deadlifts will more specifically target all leg muscles as well as the buttocks and core muscles.