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Exercises You Should Be Doing: 1-Legged Barbell RDL

Posted Jun 19 2009 3:37pm

What Is It: 1-Legged Barbell RDL (Romanian Deadlift)-red shoes optional.

Who Did I Steal It From: Apparently the Romanians

What Does It Do: If you asked me what most trainees fail to incorporate into their programming, it’s single leg work.  Oftentimes, single leg work gets put-off or neglected altogether in favor of bilateral (two-legged) work such as squats, deadlifts, etc.  And just for the record, single legged leg curls/leg extensions/leg presses don’t count.  Nice try.

In any case, single leg work serves many purposes:

1.  Helps to correct/eliminate any asymmetries and/or imbalances between one limb and the other.

2.  Helps to increase overall strength.  I have yet to see anyone improve their strength on single leg movements not increase the amount of weight they can lift on two legged movements.

3.  They also play an important role in knee health, as well as lower back health.  For starters, single leg movements force us to activate the lateral sub-system, which consists of the Adductor Complex, Glute Medius, as well as the Quadtratus Lumborum on the contra-lateral leg:

In a two-legged stance, these muscles aren’t necessarily “activated,” per se.  However, in single leg stance, this same system of muscles are forced to “fire,” which then work to stabilize the hip and knee joint.

Moreover, and I say this with some reluctance since I don’t want this to be taken out of context- squats and deadlifts place much more compressive (and shear) force/torque on the spine.  Consider the fact that many trainees don’t know how to squat/deadlift properly in the first place (trust me on this), given time, it’s going to catch up with you.  Single leg movements allow one to train the lower body with much less of a burden on the spine.

Nevertheless, single leg training should definitely be a staple in anyone’s routine- for all the reasons listed above, and because I said so.  As such, one of my favorite exercises is the one-legged barbell Romanian Deadlift- which coincidentally, is considered a single leg UN -supported variation.

Key Coaching Cues: Keeping your spine in a “neutral” position throughout the entire movement (as well as scapulae retracted and chin tucked), simply “push” the heel of your rear leg back towards the ceiling-your leg and back/neck should make a straight line.  The knee of the standing leg should be slightly bent, and you should try to feel the brunt of your weight shift back into your heel (not your toes).  Again, red shoes are completely optional.  But for sexiness points, they’re mandatory.

On an Aside: A free container of Surge to anyone who comes up with a cool tagline for my website.  I kind of like this so far:  TonyGentilcore.com—–Strength and Performance Enhancement Done Right (courtesy of Lelli), but I feel like it needs a little more of my personality.  Any suggestions…………

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