Bridging The Gap From Bilateral To Single Leg Deadlifting

The title for this article should really be..

“Awesome Single Leg Deadlift Progressions I Stole From Other Coaches.”

While hanging out at Mark Fisher Fitness in NYC and with the crew at STRIVE United Therapies in Winnipeg I was able to pick up some cool progressions to bridge the gap from bilateral deadlifting to single leg deadlifting. I have always loved this movement and had great success programming it with the progressions I wrote about in this article back in 2010.

However, it can often be difficult to transition directly into single leg deadlifting with clients who struggle with balance and hip stability. Additionally, I think these drills can provide cool variations for the year-long general population client who may be looking for some variations in their programming. Check them out below.

Split Stance Kettlebell Deadlift

The split stance deadlift is an exercise I used to program but somehow it completely escaped from my exercise encyclopedia for a period of time. It wasn’t until Marco Sanchez and I saw an entire class of Ninjas crushing this exercise a Mark Fisher Fitness that I realized a resurgence of the split stance deadlift was necessary.

This progression is great first step from the bilateral deadlift towards single leg deadlifting. The slight stagger of the feet introduces the rotational component of single leg training but provides enough support so balance and instability is not an issue.

Supported Valslide Deadlift

The supported valslide deadlift is a variation I had never seen until I visited my friends north of the border at STRIVE in “Friendly Manitoba.” When shown this variation I had the immediate reaction of “WHY DIDN’T I THINK OF THIS?!”

I love this progression as a follow up to the split stance deadlift because it increases the demand for single leg stability and mimics the body position of a true SLDL without completely taking away the support leg. Also, the act of reaching the trail leg really encourages glue engagement on the standing leg.

Thanks for reading!


Kevin Carr

Co-Owner, Licensed Massage Therapist, Certified Functional Strength Coach


Whether he is working as a coach or therapist, Kevin’s goal is to help you move better so that you can excel at the activities that make you happy.

Kevin has already amassed a wealth of experience in the field of sports performance and personal training while working at Mike Boyle Strength and Conditioning in Woburn, Massachusetts. Working with everyone from US Olympians looking for a competitive edge to the Average Joe or looking to shed some pounds and get healthier he has helped countless clients move better and live healthier lives.

In addition to receiving a Bachelor Degree in Kinesiology from The University of Massachusetts-Amherst and a License in Massage Therapy from Cortiva Institute- Watertown he is also credited with the completion of numerous continuing education certifications including FMSSFMA,NKT Level 1 and 2, FRC, FAPP, and PRI.

He has recently found a specialization in restoring movement patterns in clients with pain and dysfunction and helping them reclaim their active lifestyles.

If you would like to contact Kevin, you can e-mail him at: