Killer glutes and hamstrings

The SINGLE LEG DEADLIFT is functional exercise that targets a number of areas making it an absolute must for pretty much everyone; it's certainly one of our favourites. There are number of variations to this exercise; we are going to focus on the Single Leg Romanian.


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. Development of dynamic flexibility in the hamstrings 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.

Many 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 1. Assume a single-leg stance. Hold a dumbbell/ kettlebell in the opposite hand of the supporting leg.

2. Keep the spine in neutral, pelvic floor and tranversus abdominus switched on, torso as tight as required. The shoulder blades are retracted.

Execution 1. Hinge at the hip slowly with eccentric control ( 4 count), keeping a neutral spine as the upper body lowers in response to the hip movement. Allow the weight to lower in a vertical line. 2. Engage the glutes and hamstrings of the free leg and extend at the hip, and flex at the knee, ensuring ankle, knee and hip are in line with no lateral rotation at the hips. 3. Lower the upper body by hingeing at the hip until a mild stretch is felt in the hamstrings. 4. Return to the upright position (2 count) by engaging the glutes of the standing leg, and opening the front of the hip. 5. Perform the prescribed number of repetitions and switch sides.

Tips Focus on pushing the hips back and not just bending at the hips. The movement occurs at hip level. Keep the spine neutrally aligned throughout the exercise.

Keep the pelvis square to your movement, and not allowing the hips to rotate.


#singleleg #deadlift #rdl #hamstrings #posteriorchain #kettlebells