One-Arm Lever Deadlifts

Core strength is incredibly important for people who want to lift very heavy weights, improve athletic performance, and prevent back pain and injury.

The deep muscles of the core (the obliques and the transverse abdominis) are critical for this purpose.

Nick Nilsson core

And ordinary crunches and sit-ups are NOT going to work these muscles in a way that develops the serious strength we're looking for.

When many people think of the obliques, they think of rotational exercises like trunk twists, etc.

However, one of the primary functions of those deep core muscles is what's known as anti-rotation...which means PREVENTING rotation of your torso.


Anti-rotation is a MUCH more powerful concept for targeting the deep core muscles than simple rotational exercises.

Not only can you use a LOT more resistance, it's also much safer for the spine without the rotation...and yes, the strength you develop WILL carry over to rotational movements such as swinging a golf club, throwing a punch...even jogging and sprinting.

As well, the beauty of this exercise goes even a step further than standard anti-rotational core exercises in that is also works the muscles of the lower back with the deadlift. Put together, this is an INCREDIBLY powerful and complete core strengthening movement.



To perform this one, you'll just need a barbell, some plates and something solid to brace one end of the bar on.

Load your plates onto just one end, brace the other end against that solid object (e.g. a wall, a machine, a plate tree, etc.) then get into the bottom position of a deadlift at the end of the with your body parallel to the bar.

Set your right foot right up against the plates and grip the bar on the end with your right hand.

Now, because you're gripping on the fat end of the bar, you're also going to be challenging your grip strength here, in addition to your core. Make sure your lower back is tight and arched. I also recommend holding your breath briefly as you come up off the floor in order to better maintain core stability.

Stand up.

Because the load is being supported by just one arm, there is MASSIVE cross-tension being placed through the deep muscles of the core in order to prevent rotation of the spine. Your goal is here is to keep your shoulders LEVEL as you come to the top.

This exercise is very similar in concept to a Suitcase Deadlift (where you hold the bar at your side in one hand and stand up), only balancing the bar in your hand is not an issue with this version.

You'll also notice in the picture that my body has shifted over towards the side as I come up. This is a natural movement due to the arced path of the bar as you lift one end.

When using heavier weights like this, in order to keep your grip strength fresher, you can alternate reps on each side, or you can do these rest-pause style, where you take a short break in between reps to refresh your grip.

When you're using lighter weight (something that doesn't limit your ability to grip the end of the bar), you can do all your reps directly in a row like a normal set.

Give this one a try next you work your abs/core. The loads aren't so heavy that you need to work it as a's absolutely fine to work it as a core exercise.

I recommend starting with a fairly light weight the first you do this one, especially if you've not done any heavy anti-rotational, one-sided lifting like this before. Your obliques and transversus WILL be challenged by this one.

As you get stronger with it, I normally work up to doing two sets with the heavier weights (3 to 5 reps on each side), then one back-off set with lighter weight for higher reps (e.g. 10 to 12 on each side).


This exercise develops incredible core strength.

You'll get a stronger core, better anti-rotational and rotational strength and power and you'll help prevent back pain by strengthening literally EVERYTHING in your core all at once.

For more exercises like this, follow me on Instagram.

A post shared by Nick Nilsson (@nicknilsson1) on


Another excellent off-center loaded core exercise is the One-Side Loaded Barbell Squat.



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