The Single Leg RDL or SL RDL, is a great exercise that incorporates single leg balance, eccentric and concentric contractions of the hamstring musculature, core stability and hip flexion to hip extension elements. This exercise can be performed in a variety of ways but which one is right for you?
The fixed leg will support the body during this exercise. Slightly bend the knee to start. When the opposite leg kicks back, this is when the trunk tilts forward over the fixed leg’s toes.
The movement of this exercise is occurring at the hip joint. In order to efficiently return to the start position, the glutes must be activated forcefully. The glute musculature is what extends the hips back to the start position. The athlete should feel tension in the hamstring musculature during the descent and ascent of the movement.
The leg that is not fixed to the ground will be kicking straight back during this exercise. The extension of the leg (kick back) will initiate the movement of the hip joint on the femur on the opposite leg. Make sure the foot is in line with the butt when the leg extends back.
The trunk should stay rigid with no excess movement at any portion of the spine. The movement occurs at the hip joint, so the hip joint is moving on the femur. There should be no excess motion of the spine or hyperextension at the lumbar spine.
The chin should stay tucked towards the neck during the entire movement. Be careful of extending the neck too much in order to look up during the movement. We don’t want any excess stress on the cervical spine. If looking up helps the balance element, simply use the eyes to peek up and not the neck.
This movement will take some time to learn, so starting with the progressions suggested below will help establish the pattern and allow you to advance in your SL RDL progressions.
Body Weight SL RDL
SL RDL to Power Skip
1-DB SL RDL
You can perform an opposite leg, opposite arm SL RDL or perform a same arm, same leg SL RDL. Both will challenge your balancing ability and core stability!
2-DB SL RDL
CHAIN SL RDL
BB SL RDL
When you’ve outgrown the DB SL RDL, the Barbell SL RDL will allow for an increase in weight to really make the exercise intense!
BB SL RDL to Bench Drive
We usually perform 3-4 sets of 6-12 on each leg. Weight will vary due to an athlete’s training phase.