Single-leg Romanian deadlift

Level

Intermediate

Muscle Groups

Planes of Motion

Outer Unit

Necessary Material

Progression Material

Objective

The single-leg Romanian deadlift strengthens the posterior chain. The gluteus muscles, hamstrings and adductor magnus are strengthened dynamically while synergistically working together to extend the hips. The lower back extensors function as stabilisers and are strengthened isometrically.

The single-leg Romanian deadlift row trains the cross-body connection, that transmits forces from the ground through the leg and hip, across the SI-joint via the thoracodorsal fascia, into the opposite lattisimus dorsi.

Development of dynamic flexibility in the hamstring muscles.

Because the exercise is performed with just one leg, the weight is reduced with 50% compared to the Romanian deadlift. The single-leg Romanian deadlift puts less stress on the back.

The single-leg stance requires balance and proprioception and makes the exercise more sport-specific. The hip abductors and external rotators together with the vastus medialis obliquus are required to stabilise the pelvis and the knee of the supporting leg while the movement is performed.

By flexing the knees to about 20° the gluteus muscles are activated more in comparison to a straight leg dead lift. A lot of athletes have weak gluteus muscles. If the gluteus muscles are weak the hamstrings become synergistically dominant during hip extension, which can lead to hamstring problems.

Starting Position

Assume a single-leg stance

Hold a dumbbell in the opposite hand of the supporting leg. If the exercise is performed with more weight, hold a barbell in an overhand grip in both hands.

Keep the back straight and the torso tight. Look straight ahead.

The shoulder blades are retracted.

Execution

Lower the upper body by bending at the hip. Keep the back straight.

Lower the dumbbell or slide the bar down the thigh and shin of the supporting leg. Push the hips back and slightly bend the knee during the descent.

Swing the free leg back so it stays in line with the torso.

Lower the upper body until a mild stretch is felt in the hamstrings.

Return to the starting position.

Perform the prescribed number of repetitions and switch sides.

Coaching Keys

Focus on pushing the hips back and not on bending at the hips.

The movement occurs at hip level. Keep the spine neutrally aligned throughout the entire exercise.

Variations

  • Single-leg Romanian deadlift & pull

    The single-leg Romanian deadlift & row is a compound exercise (combining the single-leg Romanian deadlift with the one-arm row) that emphasizes the cross-body connection even more. This exercise targets the entire posterior chain: hamstrings, glutes, the lower and upper back muscles. It is suitable for intermediate and advanced levels of training.
     

  • Staggered-stance Romanian deadlift & pull

    The staggered-stance Romanian deadlift targets the entire posterior chain and is suitable for all fitness levels. The staggered-stance Romanian deadlift & pull requires less balance and stability than a single-leg stance and is therefore a good progression to master the single-leg Romanian deadlift & pull. Due to the more stable staggered stance, more weight can be lifted, emphasizing more the strengthening of the upper back, compared to the single-leg Romanian deadlift & pull.