Suitcase-Style One Arm Deadlifts For A
ROCK SOLID Core
By Nick Nilsson
The Suitcase-Style One Arm Deadlift is one of the
most powerful, results-producing exercises you will NEVER see anybody in
the gym do until you actually do it yourself! The reasons? First, it's
NOT a common exercise, even though it's been around for many years.
Second, it's a tough exercise to do! But as you know, the toughest
exercises are always the most productive.
The Suitcase-Style One Arm Deadlift places extreme torque on the core
and will help you develop an incredibly tight and powerful midsection.
Basically, instead of using both arms and doing a barbell deadlift in
front of your body as you normally would, you'll stand BESIDE the
barbell and pick it up with one arm.
Imagine reaching down and picking up a suitcase
sitting beside you.
That's the Suitcase-Style One Arm Deadlift but, of course, using a heavy
There will be a link to pictures and a video of this exercise in action
at the end of the article.
How To Do It:
First, if you're doing this exercise off the floor, load a barbell with
a 45-lb plate on both ends. To lift this amount of weight, you should be
able to deadlift at least 250 to 275 lbs in a normal deadlift.
If you wish to use less weight for this exercise, set the safety rails
in the power rack to just below knee height and load the bar with
however much weight you want to use. The reason you'd want to use the
rack is, because you're using smaller plates, the bar will start too low
to the ground and you'll need to lean over too much to the side to pick
Stand beside the barbell and reach down and grasp it with one hand. When
you do the One-Arm Deadlift, you should grip the bar slightly
off-center. Your thumb and index finger grip should be about a
centimeter (about a half inch or so) from the edge of the center grip
surface. This uneven grip will prevent the bar being lifted unevenly and
tilting as you are lifting.
position - standing beside the barbell
The reason for this is that when you grip the bar with one hand, your
thumb and forefinger grip area become the main pivot point. If that main
pivot point is not close to the real center of the bar, the bar will
tilt when you pick it up. By sliding your hand down so that your thumb
and forefinger grip area is closer to the real center, you will have a
much easier time keeping the bar level.
Before you pick up the bar, make sure your shoulders are level and your
entire core area is tightened up very strongly. Pick up the bar,
focusing on keeping your shoulders level as much as possible. The weight
of the bar on the one side will place an EXTREME stabilizing load on the
other side of the body. You will be pushing HARD with the same side foot
as you're pulling on the bar, e.g. if you're picking the bar up with
your right arm, you'll be pushing hard with your right foot.
Middle position - other arms is out to the side for balance. Maintain
Keep your lower back tight and arched as you stand up. Come all the way
up to the top position and hold for a few seconds then lower the bar
back down slowly. Gripping the barbell with one arm in this fashion is
also VERY challenging to the grip. You'll need to hold on tight in order
to keep your grip on the bar.
Finish - stand up straight and hold for a few seconds. This hits the abs
Set the bar down on the floor between reps and relax the core.
Re-tighten everything then start your next rep. This exercise should
only be done for low reps, e.g. 3 to 5 reps per set. Any more than that
and the stabilizing muscles of the abs will become fatigued and cause
the torque to go into the lower back instead of the abs, where you want
The first time you do this exercise, start with a conservative weight.
It's deceptively tough, especially if you've not done a lot of movements
that are weighted on only one side. The torque on your core will be a
very new thing! The incredible tightness you'll feel all along your side
abs the next day will show you just how effective this exercise is.
If you're a strong deadlifter or find your grip strength limits the
amount of weight or number of reps you can do, I would DEFINITELY
recommend grip assistance in the form of either lifting straps or a
product called "1 Ton Hooks." The grip assistance will allow you to use
heavier weight and hold onto it longer. It will also prevent the bar
from rolling out of your fingers as your grip fatigues.
Your thumb and index finger grip should be
closer to the center balance point of the bar than the actual middle of
your hand. This is because for this exercise, the thumb and forefinger
are the pivot point of your grip. If you grip in true center, the bar
will tip backwards.
I would recommend the hooks over the straps in all cases. "1 Ton Hooks"
are cast iron lifting hooks that are designed to allow you to hold
extremely heavy without worrying about your grip strength. These hooks,
in my opinion, should be in the arsenal of EVERY serious lifter and I
highly recommend them. To put it in perspective, I've used these hooks
to do partial deadlifts with more than 900 lbs and the hooks held up
Give the Suitcase-Style One Arm Deadlift a try in your next back workout
- I can promise you'll either be thanking me or cursing me for the next
two days after you do it! Your entire core will be worked in a way it
has NEVER been worked before.
Click here for
windows media video of this exercise
Click here for apple
QuickTime video of this exercise
About Nick Nilsson
Nick Nilsson is Vice-President of the online personal training company BetterU, Inc. He has a degree in Physical Education and Psychology and has been inventing new training techniques
for more than 16 years. Nick is the author of a number of bodybuilding eBooks including “Metabolic Surge – Rapid Fat Loss,” “The Best Exercises You’ve Never Heard Of,” “Gluteus to the Maximus - Build a Bigger Butt NOW!” and “The Best Abdominal Exercises You’ve Never Heard Of” all available at:
Click Here To Visit Nick Nilsson's Website And
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