Exercises You Should Be Doing: Skater Deadlift/Hip Hinge

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I’m a huge fan of the single-leg deadlift (or hip hinge, if we wanted to be technical), and feel it’s an exercise that offers a bevy of benefits.

However, as ubiquitous as the exercise is I do feel it’s a very advanced movement for people to master. Even for trainees with a fair amount of experience under the bar, single-leg deadlifts are about as advanced as they get as far as single leg movements go.

Here, a lot of things have to harmoniously come into play (core stability, hip stability, upper back strength, balance, etc) in order to perform the movement effectively, and it’s not something you just haphazardly throw into someone’s program.


Today I want t break down a regression of the single-leg deadlift I feel works really well.

Skater Deadlift/Hip Hinge


Who Did I Steal It From? – Dean Somerset actually brought this one up during our Complete Shoulder & Hip Blueprint in Boston last weekend.

What Does It Do? – Another name for this exercise could be “Fake 1-Legged RDL.”

It’s a fantastic option for those who struggle with balance yet would still gain a lot of benefit from a single leg deadlift (hip stability, grooving the hip hinge, core engagement/stability, posterior chain activation/strength).

Moreover, holding a load anteriorly (in front of the body in the form of a kettlebell, dumbbell, sandbag, heavy med ball, person) really forces the anterior core musculature to fire and helps to “lock down” the ribs and pelvis.

Subsequently it makes it harder to move through the lumbar spine (which we don’t want) and places more emphasis on the work/stabilizing hip (which we do want).

Key Coaching Cues: Grab something, anything (a boulder for all I care) and hold it in front of the body and think about pushing through the sternum. The idea is to keep the load tight to the body.

Place a ValSlide, furniture glider, paper plate – anything that will slide – underneath one foot and “glide” it back behind the body. I prefer using a straight leg, but I don’t see any major issues with bending the moving leg either.

This is a self-limiting exercise – meaning the ROM used is whatever any one individual as available to him or her. The idea is to HINGE through the standing/supporting leg while keeping the chest up and a “neutral” spine throughout.

Try to “pull” through the heel on the way back up and finish at the top with the same side glute. Aim for 5-8 repetitions per side.

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Plus, get a copy of Tony’s Pick Things Up, a quick-tip guide to everything deadlift-related. See his butt? Yeah. It’s good. You should probably listen to him if you have any hope of getting a butt that good.

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