Man doing Single Leg RDL with baby

Movement Monday – Single Leg RDL


This week for ‘Movement Monday’ Authentic Health Coach Chris gives insight into what he believes is one of the most important movements a person can perform in the gym, the single leg romanian deadlift (RDL). This movement is super versatile where it can be used during a warm or as one of the primary / accessory lifts for beginner or advanced lifters in the general population or athletic population.

Single Leg RDL Benefits

The single leg RDL is one of the most under utilised exercises in the gym especially when it comes to the everyday athlete. It’s no secret we spend a lot more time in seated positions that cause our posterior chain to become weak. The single leg RDL challenges our posterior chain by being a hip dominant exercise so muscles in our lower body such as our hamstrings, gluteal muscles, Calves all the way up through our to our back extensors, lats, and erector spinae muscles to give our torso structural integrity. Possibly one my favourite reason for utilising single leg RDL’s for everyday athletes is the emphasis it places on balance, stability, and control. Balance along with mobility for many clients is a limiting factor that is the forefront of a lot of pain and dysfunction, exercises like the single leg RDL when performed correctly are challenging in a position we spend plenty of our active life. When we walk, run, and carry we are predominantly on a single leg so it makes sense we spend some of our training ingraining these patterns and making them strong.

graphic of woman doing single-leg rdl

The main muscles utilised are;

  • Glutes
  • Hamstrings
  • Spinal Erectors
  • Lats
  • Obliques

Single Leg RDL Form

Below we are going to go through step by step how to perform the single Leg RDL with effective technique.

  1. Hold a KB in your right hand and stand on your left leg. Create structural stability by tucking your pelvis under and connecting it to your rib cage (think about pulling your belt buckle up). 
  2. In order to assist with balance put your left arm out to the side and create tightness by clenching your fist. Take a deep breath in through your nose and reinforce your rib position (see step one).
  3. Begin to push your hips backwards (fold from your hips), and allow your torso  to move towards the floor while maintaining a neutral spine from your neck to your tailbone. 
  4. As your folding from your hips allows your left knee to bend slightly with your right leg will move behind you in an extended position with your toes pointing towards the floor. Your left big toe, knee, and hip should all stay aligned helping keep your hips square.
  5. Once you reach your full range of movement which will vary from person to person (based on mobility) push up through your heel and big toe back to your start position and repeat.
How To..

Common Movement Limitations

  • Glute Medius and minimus weakness
  • Hamstring tightness / weakness
  • Overactive spinal erectors
  • Overactive hip flexor’s

These movement limitations often result in poor lumbar / pelvic control and can often result in lower back pain or discomfort. This can be avoided by utilising breathing / bracing exercises in your warm up along with glute activation exercises such as single leg bridges and dynamic hamstring lengthening exercises such as supine knee extensions.

Single Leg RDL Variations
  • Val-slide single leg RDL – great for beginners (Demonstrated in video)
  • Cable single leg RDL (Demonstrated in video)
  • Kettle-bell RDL
  • Bodyweight RDL
  • Barbell single Leg RDL

Yours In Health & Fitness

Chris Dawson

Authentic Health Coach

Thanks for taking the time to read my ‘Movement Monday’ where I looked at the Single Leg RDL. Got questions? our coaches are always available to answer your questions to the best of our ability, reach out to us through Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, or via our website HERE

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Liked This Movement Monday? You can see previous ‘Movement Monday’s’ Below;