Single Leg DB RDL

Single-Leg Dumbbell RDL (How To, Muscles Worked, Benefits)

The Single-Leg Dumbbell Romanian Deadlift is a lower-body exercise that is used primarily as a single-leg accessory movement to help lifters gain strength and hypertrophy for their hamstrings and glute muscles.

In this article, I am going to explain how to properly execute the Single-Leg Dumbbell Romanian Deadlift, some coaching points, muscles worked, and give some alternatives.

How To Do The Single-Leg Dumbbell Romanian Deadlift

Equipment Needed

  • Dumbbell

Step-by-Step Instruction

  • Keep a neutral spine, take in a deep breath, hinging at the waist and slightly bending the knee, and grab the dumbbell.
  • Standing nice and tall, squeeze the shoulder blades back and create tension in the abdomen.
  • On the opposite side of the arm holding the dumbbell will be the up leg.
  • For example, if you are holding the dumbbell in your right hand, your left leg will be off the ground and hinging backward.
  • Keeping a neutral spine, fixing the eyes forward (DO NOT CRANE THE NECK BACK).
  • Initiate the movement by lifting one foot off the ground, bending the off-leg knee slightly, pushing the hips back, hinging at the waist, and keeping a slight bend in the knee.
  • Create and maintain tension in the arch of the foot and imagine squeezing the floor with your toes. This will help maintain balance and engage the small musculature of the foot and shin.
  • The eccentric movement will continue until the dumbbell is about 3/4 down your shins. Keep the dumbbell in front of the down leg. Do not let the weight drift over the midline.
  • For example, if you are holding the dumbbell in your right hand, keep the dumbbell right in front of the right shin.
  • Once the dumbbell is about 3/4 of the way down your shins, start to extend the hips, keeping tension in the abdomen and keeping the upper back nice and tight, straightening the knees until you return to standing in the starting position.
  • Squeeze the glutes in the last 1/4 upward movement to maintain engagement and help with balance.

Coaching Points

Do not let the weight drift over the midline. You will train for more structural stability if you keep the dumbbell in front of the down leg.

Maintain the arch of the foot. When performing single-leg movements, it is very important to maintain balance to yield all the benefits of single-leg exercises.

It is important for the lifter to maintain a neutral spine, maintaining tension in the abdomen and upper back.

Remember to breathe in and hold the breath during eccentric (lowering the weight) and breathe out as you perform the concentric movement (bringing the weight back up).

How Many Reps?

Single Leg Dumbbell RDLs are a supplemental strength exercise and recommended rep range is 3 to 4 sets of 6 to 12 reps.

Muscles Worked

  • Hamstrings
  • Glute Muscles
  • Upper and Lower Back

Single-Leg Dumbbell Romanian Deadlift Alternatives

Single-Leg Med Ball Romanian Deadlift

A single-leg med ball Romanian deadlift is where the lifter hugs or holds a medicine ball at chest height and performs the single-leg RDL movement pattern.

Single-Leg Hyperextensions

A single-leg hyperextension is where the athlete locks one leg into a glute-ham raise machine and performs a hyperextension with one leg at a time.

Single-Leg Stability Ball Leg Curls

A Single-Leg Stability Ball Leg Curl is where the athlete lies on their back. One leg bent at 90 degrees and the other fairly straight with their heel on the ball. The athlete will bridge the hips up and curl the ball underneath them and then extend back out.

More Info and Links

Looking for more great Lower Body Lifts? Head over to the exercise library where there is a great collection of exercises to help you reach your athletic potential. All for free.

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