This Deadlift Variation Will Sculpt Your Butt Like Whoa
We don’t have to tell you that butts are the thing (thanks, Kim K).
But how do you plump your own peach to perfection? For trainer Betina Gozo, the best booty boosting move is the single leg Romanian deadlift.
You’re probably already pretty familiar with the classic deadlift, which involves holding weights as you stand, then bending from the hips, or hinging, lowering the weights to mid-calf, and then raising back up. The deadlift majorly tones your glutes and hamstrings (a.k.a. your bum), but Gozo’s fave variation will fire up those muscles even more and challenge them in a totally new way.
That’s because it forces you incorporate other muscle groups. “When you do it correctly, you have to focus on balancing on one leg, and it not only works your glutes and hamstrings, but your core as well,” says Gozo. Basically, it’s an exercise that pushes your whole body, in one simple move.
Let’s break it down: Grab two dumbbells, kettlebells, or a barbell. Start with light weight; if it feels like you can easily teeter-totter the weight back and forth after completing the exercise a few times, it’s too light, says Gozo. On the other hand, if you feel like the weight is pulling you over and you don’t have control over it, it’s likely too heavy, and you should move down a weight.
Start by standing tall with your feet shoulder-width apart, holding the weights in your hands. Pick which leg you’re going to balance on, and bend that knee slightly. Next, bend from your hips while keeping your spine in a neutral position—that means you don’t want to bend or curve your back—as you raise the opposite leg straight up behind you. As you hinge at your waist and your leg becomes parallel with the ground, lower the weights in front of you to about mid-calf height. At this point, your raised leg will likely be in line with your back.
Slowly raise back up as you bring your leg down. Squeeze your butt as you return to your starting position, then repeat the move while lifting your other leg.
It that’s too difficult, you can always keep both legs on the ground and perform a traditional deadlift.
If you’re looking to challenge yourself even more, try the move with one arm holding the weight. In this variation, the instructions remain the same, except that as you lower your weight, you’ll be holding it in the same hand as the leg that’s being lifted. Your opposite hand and arm will remain at your side.
Watch your form: Gozo says the common mistake with the single-leg deadlift is that people open their hips to the side. Think about keeping your upper body and hips in a square that’s facing forward and toward the ground as you move, she says.
Take things slow, too—this move is about balance and power, not speed. For the single-leg variation, go for six to eight reps each side for three sets. For the double-leg version, complete 12 reps for three sets. Gozo says you can incorporate this move into any strength-training workout or leg-day routine.
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