What Is a Single-Leg Romanian Deadlift?
The single-leg Romanian deadlift (single-leg RDL) is a vertical hip-hinge exercise in which you balance on one leg, hinge at the hips, lower your torso until it’s almost parallel with the floor, and then reverse the movement to return to your starting position.
The single-leg RDL with bodyweight works the posterior chain, including your hamstrings, glutes, back, and calves. Add weight, and you’ll also challenge your lats, traps, and forearms as well as increase strength in your erectors, scapula stabilizers, and anterior core. Additionally, the single-leg RDL requires a lot of stability in the ankles, knees, hips, and core.
6 Tips for Perfecting Your Single-Leg Romanian Deadlift Form
When it comes to the single-leg RDL, being very mindful of your alignment and form is paramount. Use the following tips to make sure you’re dialing in on these to get the most of the exercise.
Tip #1: Practice the Hip Hinge
Before you dive into the single-leg RDL, you need to know how to perform a proper hip hinge with both feet on the ground. Take some time to practice your hip hinge in a conventional deadlift or Romanian deadlift before you attempt to do it on one leg.
Tip #2: Practice the Single-Leg Romanian Deadlift Barefoot
Performing the single-leg RDL barefoot will help you root your foot down into the floor, making it easier to balance.
Tip #3: Practice With a Dowel to Ensure Proper Alignment
During a single-leg RDL, proper alignment is incredibly important. If you were to run a dowel or broomstick down your back during the exercise, it should touch in three spots:
- The back of your head
- Your upper back
- Your tailbone
By practicing with a dowel or broomstick, you’ll learn proper alignment. It’ll also help prevent you from rounding through your back, which is a common mistake.
Tip #4: Don’t Let Your Knee Collapse
It’s very common for the knee of the working leg to want to collapse inward when performing single-leg exercises like this. Make sure your knee tracks in the same direction as your toes through each and every rep.
Tip #5: Keep a Soft Bend in the Knee of the Working Leg
While it’s really tempting to lock out the knee of the working leg, this puts a lot of pressure on your joint and makes it more challenging to balance. Be sure to keep a soft bend in the knee of the working leg.
Tip #6: Keep Your Hips “Closed”
One of the most common mistakes we see with single-Leg RDLs is that folks want to “open up” their hip to the side. An easy fix for this is to flex the foot of your non-working leg and point your toes down toward the ground. This will help keep your hips square.
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