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How to Do a Suitcase Deadlift

I'm a Trainer, and This Is the Move I Like to Do For a Stronger Core and Lower Body

When I work out, I like to incorporate a variety of training techniques into my programs to improve my power, strength, and speed. The strength exercise I've been really into lately is the suitcase deadlift.

I like it because deadlifts are great for lower-body strength, back strength, and power. Add in the unilateral exercise (an exercise focusing on one side of the body), and in my opinion, it becomes even better as you're forced to address imbalances and strengthen both sides of the body. Then you overload one side of your body, aka you add weight/resistance, and boom, your core has no choice but to be involved. You can do this move with a barbell if you're more advanced, but if not, a kettlebell will suffice.

If you want a stronger core and legs, definitely program this exercise into your workouts.

How to Do a Suitcase Deadlift

Before getting started, warm up your muscles with a few glute activation and core activation exercises.

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  • Start standing with a 10 kg (about 22 pounds) kettlebell on the ground next to your right foot.
  • With a slight bend in your knees, hinge (bend) and grip the kettlebell with your right hand. There should be a slight bend in your knees, but this is not a squat.
  • Pick up the kettlebell off the ground and stand up. Be sure to get full hip extension by squeezing your glutes. With control and your core engaged, return to the starting position. This counts as one rep.
  • Grab the kettlebell with your left hand, place it on the outside of your left foot, then lift the kettlebell off the ground as you stand tall. Be sure to get full hip extension by squeezing your glutes.
  • Complete four sets of 12 reps.
Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Tamara Pridgett
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