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Planks, crunches, sit ups… I’m getting bored just writing this list. Surely there are some more inventive and effective ways we can challenge our core to keep our lower backs happy? Well as we continue our CrossFit prehab exercise series, we’re going to share with you an exercise that might just inject a bit of enjoyment into your monotonous core routine.

When deadlifting pops up in a workout it can often result in people’s lower backs venting their outrage in the form of a painful back spasm. When we’re thinking about exercises for pain free individuals wanting to stay that way (particularly when it comes to workouts that involve lifting heavy stuff off the floor) we definitely have some functional and fun options to tinker with. Meet the single arm kettlebell deadlift.



Having the weight only on one side one side provides a novel challenge for your core to contend with. Normally your spinal muscles just have to resist your back rounding as you deadlift, now your core has to prevent rotation in your spine too. It’s worth keeping in mind this is not something you’ll want to be playing around with if you’re currently in pain and flared up, but as a prehab exercise it’s awesome for testing those spinal stabilisers in multiple planes. At the very least it’s a nice alternative core exercise that’s not boring.

Reps / sets

Try 3 x 8-12 reps

Remember we’re going to want particular emphasis place on the lowering phase of the lift so try and stick to a tempo of:

4 secs down

1 sec pause at bottom

1 sec up

1 sec pause at top


Don’t be shy with challenging yourself weight wise with this one, it’s really as form allows. Keep in mind that the goal is to resist rotation + back rounding, if you’ve gone at a weight where either one or both of these is happening and you can’t correct, you need to go lighter. With that being said, the weight must provide some challenge for you to resist. Choose your weight accordingly. If you’re unsure with form make sure you’ve got a coach or trainer supervising you and if you’re unsure regarding whether this is ok for with your injury history etc drop in for a session with one of our therapists.  

Wrap Up

So what are you waiting for? Grab your kettlebell and give it a try! Make sure to perform on both sides and see if it flags up any side to side differences. 

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