Dumbbell Exercises: Single Leg Deadlift with Dumbbell Pick-Up

One of the best tools to keep around the home if you’re looking to improve your overall fitness is the dumbbell. A set of dumbbells is extremely versatile and can be put to use for a number of different tasks. If you find that you’re going to be working out at home and want to improve your overall musculature and strength, purchase some dumbbells.

As you improve in your dumbbell training, it’s a good idea to begin to adopt more and more complex exercises. One of the best intermediate or advanced dumbbell exercises that can work the legs is the single leg deadlift with a dumbbell pick up added. This exercise is a challenge of balance and strength that will not only work the arms, but will also provide a good workout for the hamstrings and the glutes.

Exercise Basics

The key to maintaining a good single leg deadlift is the basic resting position, although many people find that this position is not particularly conducive to resting. The basic position is with one leg resting on the floor and the other leg parallel to the floor, extended behind the body. Your torso should be oriented downward toward the floor to help balance out your leg, and one arm should be resting downward with a dumbbell in your hand. The other arm can be extended out in front of you or to the side if you need help with balance, or it can be resting by your side.

The exercise consists of balancing in this position and lifting the dumbbell up in the same way that you would for a dumbbell row; bring the dumbbell directly upward, raising your elbow primarily. Bring it up as high as is comfortable and then slowly lower it back down. This constitutes one repetition of the exercise.

Safety and Injury Prevention

Many people find that it’s beneficial to stretch out their legs before attempting this exercise, because it can help to reduce the likelihood that you’ll pull a leg muscle. Additionally, it’s important to move the dumbbell relatively slowly so that you don’t pull any muscles in your arm, shoulder or back. Finally, be very careful to continue to breathe deeply as you move the dumbbell up and down.

Although it’s not likely that you’ll suffer an injury if you drop the dumbbell, you may still wish to have a spotter available to help make sure that you do not. This is also helpful if you have a difficult time keeping your leg all the way up.


In order to modify this exercise so that you can adequately work all of your muscles, you should complete it with both arms holding the dumbbell and also with both legs raised. By combining different permutations of which arm and leg you activate for the exercise, you’ll not only test your balancing capabilities but also give both sides of your body a good workout. 


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