How To Do & Muscles Worked

kettlebell one-legged deadlifts

Kettlebell deadlifts are a hinge pattern movement that improve power through the back and posterior chain: glutes and hamstrings. They’re a very functional exercise for anyone that is lifting objects off the floor throughout the day at work or at home. The single-leg variation requires even more stabilization from the lower back and abdominals.

  • Easy
  • Moderate
  • Challenging

Which Muscles Are Worked?

Diagram of primary and secondary muscles worked from Kettlebell one-legged deadlifts

Primary Muscles

Lower Back Glutes Hamstrings

Secondary Muscles

Traps Upper Back Forearms Abs

Exercise Type

Kettlebell icon

How to do kettlebell one-legged deadlifts Properly

Step by Step Guide

Begin standing with the kettlebell placed between your feet. Shift all your weight into one leg – this will be your working leg.

Assume a hinge position as you push the hips back, bend the knee of the working leg slightly, and engage your abdominals to keep a neutral spine.

Continue hinging down until you can reach the kettlebell with one hand. For this exercise, it’s up to you whether you want to use the ipsilateral (same side) or contralateral (opposite side) hand compared to the working leg. The non-working hand can rest on your hip. Your pelvis and hips should remain as level as possible.

Pull the shoulder blades down and back to engage the lats as you reverse the motion and come back to an upright position while holding the kettlebell in front of your thigh.

Repeat for the desired repetitions on each side while keeping the kettlebell in your hand.

Common Mistakes

A common mistake is rounding the spine. Instead, keep the abdominals engaged the entire time and focus on keeping the spine in neutral. This means the neck, upper back, and lower back are fairly straight (besides their natural curves). Pull the shoulder blades back and keep the chest open as you hinge down into the deadlift. If you struggle to keep your balance, use less load or perform this near a wall so you can hold on.


Animation of how to do Kettlebell one-legged deadlifts