Health and Beauty

How and why do you do the Suitcase Deadlift?

The suitcase deadlift, also called the one-arm deadlift, is a compound exercise that works muscle groups in the upper and lower body. This exercise is more beneficial than you think. Just think about how often you carry something with one hand, whether it's a shopping bag, a backpack, or even a weightlifting bar at the gym. For this reason alone, the suitcase deadlift can help you perform these daily routines better. In addition, the unilateral deadlift develops abdominal strength (particularly the oblique muscles) and improves your grip.

Muscles used in the one-handbag deadlift.
Illustrative credit © Aliaksandr Makatserchyk
  1. Stand up straight with the kettlebell at the side of your body. Get into a standard deadlift position and push your hips back to swing forward, then grab the ball.
  2. Push off the ground with your feet and move your hips forward to stand. Do your best to not rotate your torso or lean too much to one side. You can place your free hand to the side or in front of you for balance.
  3. With feet hip-width apart and toes pointed forward, pull hips back and down, keeping back straight. As you approach the bottom of the deadlift, keep your chest high and your abs tight. This will allow you to ensure stability in your lower back and torso.
  4. Keeping your spine in a neutral position, keep the dumbbells close to your shins and begin to come back up, driving your feet into the floor.
  5. Perform the desired number of repetitions and then switch sides.

Training tips

  • You can also use a barbell or loaded dumbbells, which you'll need to place on a stand to reduce the distance you have to travel to hold them.
  • Pull your shoulder blades together to strengthen your back. A well-supported back will prevent the torso from rotating mid-movement. This is a crucial step when performing the suitcase deadlift and any unilateral exercise.
  • The bell should remain aligned with the center of the foot throughout the movement.
  • If you have a history of back injuries, this type of exercise can cause too much stress that can damage this part of the body. Of course, always consult your doctor before starting your exercise program.

How and why do you do the Suitcase Deadlift?

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