Exercise Profile
  • Target Muscle Group
  • Exercise TypeStrength
  • Equipment RequiredKettle Bells
  • MechanicsCompound
  • Force TypeHinge (Bilateral)
  • Experience LevelBeginner
  • Secondary Muscles
    Abs, Adductors, Calves, Forearms, Glutes, Lats, Lower Back, Quads, Traps, Upper Back
Target Muscle Group

Hamstrings

Hamstrings Muscle Anatomy Diagram

1 Kettlebell Suitcase Deadlift Overview

The 1 kettlebell suitcase deadlift is a variation of the deadlift. It is an exercise used to strengthen the muscles of the entire posterior chain.

The 1 kettlebell suitcase deadlift also provides a core challenge. Since only one side of the body is loaded during the 1 kettlebell suitcase deadlift, one must fight to stabilize the core during the course of the movement.

1 Kettlebell Suitcase Deadlift Instructions

  1. Position a kettlebell right next to your foot and assume a hip width stance.
  2. Push your hips back and hinge forward until your torso is nearly parallel with the floor.
  3. Reach down and grasp the handle with one hand using a neutral grip.
  4. Drop your hips below your shoulders and ensure there is no slack in your arm.
  5. Drive through the whole foot and focus on pushing the floor away by extending the knees and hips.
  6. Once you have locked out the hips, reverse the movement by pushing the hips back and hinging forward.
  7. Return the kettlebell to the floor, reset, and repeat for the desired number of repetitions.

1 Kettlebell Suitcase Deadlift Tips

  1. The deadlift is a hinge, not a squat. If you set the hips too low you will put yourself in a disadvantageous position biomechanically.
  2. The hips should be lower than the shoulders and you should be able to see the logo on the lifters shirt before they pull (i.e. “chest up”). The chest up cue is usually accomplished when the lats become locked in though so this cue is typically not needed if the lifter understands how to initiate the lats.
  3. Neck position is highly individual - Some prefer a neutral neck position (i.e. keeping the chin tucked throughout the lift) while others do well with looking slightly up. Here’s some factors to consider:
    • If you’re someone who is more globally extended (i.e. athletic background), then you will likely be able to keep a neutral position more effectively by packing the chin.
    • On the opposite end of the spectrum, if you tend to be more flexion dominant (especially in your thoracic spine - upper back) then it would behoove you to look up slightly as this will drive more extension.
    • Experiment with each and see which one works best for your individual anatomy and biomechanics.
  4. Ideally you should cue and emphasize a vertical shin but this will depend entirely on a lifter’s spine and limb length.
  5. Toe angle is highly individual - this will be dependent upon your hip anatomy. Experiment (toes slightly in, out, or neutral) to see what feels best for you.
  6. Do NOT retract your shoulder blades. This is mechanically inefficient and a self limiting cue as it shortens the length of the arms thus requiring a larger range of motion.
  7. Make sure you wrap your thumbs around the handle and don’t utilize a false grip.
  8. Don’t focus on keeping the weight entirely on the heels, you won’t be able to effectively recruit your quads at the beginning of the lift and thus you’ll be slow off the flow. So, to combat this, you should focus on driving through the whole foot - you want 3 points of contact: big toe, little toe, and heel.
  9. Ensure the elbows stay locked out. Don’t actively flex the triceps but make sure that your elbow doesn’t break neutral as this can potentially put you at risk for a bicep tear under maximal weights.
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