There’s nothing I love more than a great balance exercise. Not only do balance exercises require you to engage more muscle groups during the movement, they’re also a key component of full-body fitness. As you age, if you don’t maintain your balance and flexibility, your range of motion shortens, your gait changes and you become more susceptible to falls and fall-related injuries. In order to continue living functionally well into old age, it’s critical that balance and flexibility form a cornerstone of your wellness routine.
While any exercise that’s performed on a single leg or that requires you to change body position during the movement (like walking lunges) will help you enhance your balance, it’s important to continue challenging yourself as you improve. One-legged deadlift variations are a great way to target your glutes and hamstrings while challenging your balance and coordination.
If you’re new to the exercise, try your hand at the floor-based version of the one-legged balance deadlift shown below. You don’t need to add the pulses or raise your leg to a height parallel to the floor. The main things to remember are to:
- Keep your core engaged and tight throughout the movement
- Press your hips back to start the movement, keeping your spine neutral as you tip your torso forward
- Only hinge forward until you feel a stretch through your supporting hamstring — don’t force yourself to reach beyond your natural flexibility
- Use your hamstring and glute on you supporting leg to “pull” yourself back to standing
If you’ve already mastered the floor-based version and you’re looking for a way to step up your routine, consider trying the variations shown below. You can perform the exercise with or without added weight, or while balanced atop a balance tool. Just be careful — if you feel yourself losing your balance, step off the surface and try again, rather than continuing the exercise and setting yourself up for a fall.
Remember: Always consult your doctor before starting an exercise program and be sure to listen to your body while performing any exercise. A little discomfort from physical exertion is okay, but actual pain is not okay.
The material appearing on Girls Gone Sporty, LLC is for educational use only. It should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.