This Move Takes Deadlifts to a Whole New Level, and You Don’t Even Need Weights to Do It

I now know that squats alone won’t equal booty gains – they are quad-focused for the most part, so you’ll need to do other exercises to really target those glutes. One of my favorites is a single-leg deadlift. Since you’re working one leg at a time, this exercise can help build balance and stability, and it gets into the glutes more directly. I’d consider myself good at doing them (though increasing the weight I use definitely ups the intensity). That’s why, during a 30-minute full-body strength workout I streamed with my Peloton Digital subscription, I thought I’d have no problem with the isometric single-leg deadlift that trainer Rebecca Kennedy instructed us to do. I was wrong.

This is a bodyweight move, and all you’re doing is holding the hinge position of a single-leg deadlift for 30 seconds. You’re balancing on one leg with your knee bent and your other leg straight out behind you. Doesn’t sound all that hard, right? What makes it extra difficult is that hold – you have to focus on balance while keeping your lower body tight. It works the hamstring and glute of your supporting leg as well as the glute of your back leg (especially when you flex that back foot). This move also forces you to engage your core.

Rebecca told POPSUGAR that, if you do it correctly, you should feel it in the hamstring and glute of your supporting leg more than your quad. “If you primarily feel it in your quad that means you may not have driven your hips back enough when bending your knee, and loaded your thigh instead,” she explained. In other words, your weight is too far forward into the thigh of your supporting leg. “Imagine a wall behind you. As you lower into the exercise, try to reach your glutes to the wall behind you, rather than driving your bodyweight forward,” she advised.

Rebecca uses the isometric single-leg deadlift for muscle activation before heavier lower-body work and as a burnout move. Ever since I learned this exercise, I’ve incorporated it into my routine whenever I feel like I need something extra because it really does fire up my glutes and challenge my core (and as a former gymnast, I’m always looking for new ways to improve my balance). In her class, we held the isometric single-leg deadlift for 30 seconds on each leg twice, but Rebecca says you can hold it for 15 seconds and increase time from there. Ahead, check out exactly how to do this exercise and add it to your next workout session for a booty burn you’ve most likely never felt before!

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