I was recently introduced to a new exercise…the one leg dead lift. It was part of the circuit I was performing so I attempted to execute it to the best of my abilities. I must admit, even with a light weigh, it was extremely difficult. Following that workout I ironically was reading one of Steve Rinella’s books where he detailed the efforts required to “still hunt” an animal. As he described in Hunting, Butchering, and Cooking Wild Game, “You’ll find that walking slowly actually takes a little practice; it’s a difficult thing to do…It also takes a certain type of muscle control and concentration that aren’t really cultivated by normal life.” His words couldn’t have been more true.
I began looking back to the times that I was carefully stalking an animal or attempting to quietly move through the woods and how awkward it actually was. Each step was precarious in whether it would cause unwanted noise or an imbalance causing a stumble or forceful foot placement. Truthfully, the muscle burn was real as I used muscles that I don’t regularly use. Full circle, I felt the same uncertainty while performing the one leg dead lift. Jackpot…identified a weakness and a means to get better. Isn’t that our goal?
The one leg dead lift forces stabilization which is paramount when making slow, controlled, deliberate motions. That and it works our core muscles which are crucial for the wilderness activities we partake in.
Performing a one leg dead lift to me is more like a one leg straight leg dead lift (if you’re familiar with the straight leg dead lift). Start with your feet a little narrower than shoulder width. Begin to bend at the waist (KEEP YOU BACK STRAIT!) and raise one of your legs backwards with an almost equal and opposite motion. The knee of the leg that you remained balanced on should stay slightly bent. That’s it. Then repeat with the other leg.
I recommend beginning with no weight but as your form improves and you want to add weight to further your gains there are many means to do so. Dumbbells, kettlebells, sandbags, and barbells are all valid options.
It may not seem like much but I strongly suggest you try methodically sneaking around the woods or any terrain for that matter and you’ll understand what I’m talking about. After that, try this lift and I believe you’ll feel similar burns and struggles between the two. Give it a shot and let me know what you think.