A New Move for Great Glutes, Strong Hamstrings

Level-Up Your Single-Leg RDL

The single-leg RDL is a good, but not great, muscle builder. This version takes balance out of the equation and hammers the glutes much harder.

The traditional single-leg Romanian deadlift is a top-tier exercise for improving single-leg strength, stability, and balance. But if youโ€™re trying to build muscle with it, thereโ€™s a good chance youโ€™re wasting your time. For people wanting glute and hamstring growth, thereโ€™s something better: the bench-supported, single-leg Romanian deadlift.

Stability and Balance: Good and Bad

Most people donโ€™t have the balance and stability to truly maximize the single-leg RDL. Thatโ€™s not a knock on your abilities. The exercise simply challenges your balance and proprioceptive abilities. This is a good thing since it activates more hip stabilizers than its two-leg equivalent, plus it creates more neuromuscular adaptations based on its demands. Thatโ€™s why athletes love it.

But for building muscle, challenging your balance and firing up your stabilizing muscles actually gets in the way. If you increase stability then youโ€™re going to increase force output from the targeted muscles. If you increase the stability while doing the single-leg RDL, your hamstrings and glutes grow faster.

One option is to hold onto something with a free hand. The other option is to use a bench to support your lower body.

Take a Knee for Gains

If you watch yourself in the mirror while performing the single-leg RDL, what do you notice about your hips? Theyโ€™re probably not level. Maintaining good hip alignment as you hinge allows you to stimulate your hamstrings and glutes for growth. Using a bench to support your knee during the single-leg RDL keeps your hips level and improves stability. It might even be a better option than the B-stance RDL.

Hereโ€™s How to Do It

Height Modifications

Your hips should be level when you place your knee on the bench. If your bench is too low because youโ€™re on the taller side, use a foam pad on the bench to level-up your resting knee. If your bench is too high because youโ€™re on the shorter side, place something on the floor to elevate your working leg. A weight plate or two can work, as shown in the second part of the video.

Programming It

Use these as more of a secondary exercise in your lower-body workouts. If you have a weaker leg, start your sets with that side. Work up in weight to 2-3 challenging sets on each leg, anywhere from 8-15 reps.

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