Aesthetics & Athletics: Single-leg Landmine RDL

Posted on March 31, 2016 at 12:00 AM

The RDL, or Romanian Deadlift, has been a staple exercise in my track and field training. It’s great for strengthening the posterior chain and for ”bringing up” the hamstrings. I usually perform this exercise with a barbell, but came across this unilateral variation about a year ago. Some of the benefits to unilateral training include:

  • Evening out any muscular asymmetries

  • Improving balance

  • Injury prevention

I prefer using the landmine variation to dumbbells for the added stability and controlled range of motion that the bar provides. For this exercise, I’ll start with my non-dominant leg first, and let that dictate the number of reps I’ll do on each leg. Start by standing in front of the t-bar and grab the bar with both hands. Your feet should be under your body, with the weight evenly distributed from the ball of the foot to the heel. Lift the bar and hold it at about hip-level. Slowly lift one foot off of the ground while keeping a slight bend in the supporting leg. Keep your back flat and bend forward through the hips, lowering the bar. Simultaneously, lift your back leg and keep it straight. Your back leg and upper body should form a straight line. Use your glutes, hamstring, and lower back to lift the bar to the starting point. Perform 8-12 reps per side.

Some key points to remember for this exercise:

  • Keep your back flat at all times. As soon as you feel your back start to round, you’ve reached the midpoint of the exercise. Don’t worry about getting the bar to the floor.

  • Keep your hips and shoulders square to the ground. This is especially important as you start to fatigue.

  • Make sure you’re performing the exercise evenly on both sides. Range of motion, stance, and grips should all be double-checked.

  • Use the bar to help guide your range of motion

  • Perform these earlier in the workout, while you’re still relatively fresh. The exercise requires balance and coordination – things that are harder to accomplish when fatigued.

Again, this exercise helps to increase strength and power, and also helps to sculpt the hamstrings and glutes. Check out my video for the full demonstration. Give it a try! PEAK ATP really helps me get those last few reps, especially on demanding exercises like this one!

Thanks for reading! Until next time, train hard, y’all!

- Erin Stern, 2x Ms. Olympia

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