Single-Leg Romanian Deadlift: 4 Steps To Mastering The Move

 

Single-Leg RDLs Aren't Easy

The hip hinge is a fundamental movement, and mastering it means you get to try new ways to hinge.

The single-leg Romanian deadlift tends to be a staple in many strength training programs, but it's a tough move to get right. 

For one, it requires a considerable amount of balance, coordination, and proprioception. 

Add in trunk stability, spine rigidity, and hamstring flexibility, and, you've got your work cut out for you. 

But single-leg movements are a cornerstone for stability and injury prevention. Don't skip them! 

Before you throw in the towel and decide wobbling your way through another SLRDL isn't in the stars, try these 4 progressions.

I recommend working through each of these over a series of 3-6 weeks, depending on your level of fitness. 

Add one to your weekly workout plan, and then move to the next when you've nailed it down. 

Split Stance Romanian Deadlift

 

  1. Grab a dumbbell or kettlebell that's a little...
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4 Moves To Build A Bulletproof Core

It's About The Slow Burn

A good workout should never feel rushed. Especially when it comes to core exercises.

The intent of a solid core workout is to not only build strength in your trunk but also stability and balance to protect the spine.

I like to think of going for the slow-burn when doing a core routine. Focus on breathing into your muscles, allowing the ribs and back to expand-- and then fully exhaling all the air in your lungs to create a corset around the spine.

This practice translates to having that added layer of protection during other movements. Of course, it comes in handy during squats and deadlifts, but also in everyday life. 

Many injuries happen during daily activities simply because we forgot that our body is working hard to perform a task. So getting in the groove of core bracing, during exercise can help trigger those same reactions when we need them most.

Take your time with each rep, focusing on what muscles are working, and whether or not you are...

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3 Ways To Level-Up The Glute Bridge

Glutes and Shoulders, Oh My! 

The glute bridge is the cornerstone movement of a good butt-building routine. Master this and you unlock so much potential when it comes to training your posterior chain. 

One important caveat is to learn how to get the glutes to fire and core to stabilize while in an overhead reach position.

This could be a press, overhead squat, or simply reaching for something high on a shelf. 

Sounds silly to think about that, but a lot of injuries happen doing everyday things because we are conscious of our body positioning. 

Here are two moves you can add to your workout routine to help you learn how all of the trunk components work together (ie. hips, glutes, anterior and posterior core, and scapula).

Try them out in your next workout for a solid full-body exercise. 

Bridge with Overhead Reach

Grab a weight and get to it! Here I use a kettlebell, but you can also use a dumbbell, weighted plate, medicine ball, or just your bodyweight.

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Why Rotational Hip And Core Exercises Matter

Are You Locked Into One Range of Motion?

Take a look at your current workout plan and ask if it takes advantage of all 360-degrees when you move. 

Or do you typically move on the sagital (linear) plane with some variation of squat, hip hinge, forward lunge, or bridge?

If you've experienced nagging hip and low back pain, or feel your SI joint is out of whack, try adding rotational movement in the mix. 

 

Rotational Hip and Core Strength Importance

Think about when you throw a baseball or softball. What happens with your trunk?

Hopefully it rotates. If you've ever tried throwing a ball without trunk rotation, you'll notice it doesn't go far. 

Same thing goes for batting, hitting a golf ball, throwing a frisbee, swinging an ax. 

A lot of what we do in our day, be it sports, or otherwise requires our hips and trunk to move in different ways. 

Controlled rotational exercises are a great way to not only improve trunk and hip strength from these...

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3 Hip Flexor Strengthening Exercises To Add To Your Routine

Are Hip Flexors Your Weakest Link?


Do you think they have tight hip flexors from sitting for prolonged periods at a desk?

Let's exam what the hip flexors do so you can consider whether your hip flexors are tight, or just weak. Even if your hip flexors are tight, static stretching may not be the best alternative- especially if they are also weak.

The hip flexors are comprised of a group of muscles originating in the lumbar region of the back and hip girdle, which run down the femur. The pull the upper leg and trunk together.

The role of the hip flexors is to stabilize the pelvis and improve your gait. They serve as the connection that keeps the hips and low back together, which can help prevent excessive lumbar extension or flexion, and anterior or posterior pelvic tilt.

Since the primary job of this muscle group is to pull two bones toward a joint, when you are seated all day, the chair does their job.

When these muscles don't work the way they should, you may compensate with...

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Gym Hack: Alternative to 45-Degree Back Extension

No Equipment, No Problem

One of my favorite things to do is find gym hacks for exercises that normal require uncommon equipment. 

Not every gym has a 45-degree back extension, Roman chair, or glute-ham developer. 

But most gyms have a smith machine or squat rack.

With this simple set up, you can hack your gym and get in a good set of back extensions without needing the apparatus.

All you need is:

  • Smith machine or squat rack
  • Bar pad (not necessary, but recommended)

You may want to put a squat wedge or plates behind the feet if you worry you will slip. I've never slipped, but it's possible.

This video shows plates loaded and single-leg back extensions using this set up, but you can do any variation and it works the same.

 

Next time your in the gym, give it a go. It's not perfect, but it works just as well as the standard version.

 

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5 Shoulder-Saving Moves To Add To Your Warm-Up

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Protect Your Shoulder Health

These shoulder warm-up drills are a great way to prime your body for a workout, and also improve shoulder health.

It's not uncommon to have aches, pains, and loss of mobility in the shoulders as you age. 

If you're new to these moves, ease into them. Pay attention to what your body says and don't push into any position that feels uncomfortable.

I recommend choosing 2-3 for each upper body workout.

 

Prone Incline Drills

shoulder drills from Kellie Davis on Vimeo.

 

The prone incline Y and prone incline scarecrow are two great drills to work on overhead mobility and stability.

Prone Incline Y Drill: 

  1. Position the bench in an incline and lie face down with feet supporting on the floor.
  2. Extend the arms toward the floor with elbows straight and palms facing in.
  3. Roll the shoulders down and back away from the ears.
  4. Keeping the arms straight, raise them overhead.
  5. Return to starting position.
  6. Repeat for 5-10 reps.

Prone Incline Scarecrow:

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Glute Workout: Double Results With These 4 Moves

A Glute Workout Sure To Pump You Up

Frequent glute workouts are one of the best ways to improve the strength, shape, and balance of your backside.

Trouble arises if you don’t let your muscles rest and recover between sessions. I’ve found the best method for building bigger glutes is upping the volume while lowering the weight you use.

This isn’t to say you should never use heavy weights when working your posterior chain. But short, frequent bodyweight and bands glute sessions are a great way to not only grow rounder and stronger but also help you recover better.

These 4 glute-building moves are staples in my training, plus the workouts of my clients and workout program members.

I’ve also included a quick butt workout at the end that you can do 2-3 times a week on its own or at the end of your workout.

Double-Band Glute Bridge

  1. Place a medium weight loop band around both feet. Wrap the band around the hips. Place a heavy weight min band above the knees.
  2. ...
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Fire Up Your Core Workout: 3 Advances For Your Dead Bug Exercise

Dead Bugs Belong In Your Workouts

The cat’s out of the bag and roaming the streets, telling everyone how much I love dead bugs. These anti-rotation, anti-extension core exercises have endless variations that you can program into your workouts week after week.

Frankly, when I started dead bugs, I didn’t love them. Like many fitness enthusiasts, I was doing them wrong.

The key is to time your breath accordingly, and get your core cooperating, so you don’t end up going all arch-deluxe when you move your limbs away from your center.

It’s no small feat to dead bug like a pro, and here are a few of my fav upgrades you can add to your workout routine.

 

Band iso-hold dead bug

  • Fix a band securely overhead behind you.
  • Scoot out away from the apparatus, so you get some good tension on the band.
  • Lock the scapula in place.
  • Press your back into the floor, so your entire torso is flush with the mat or surface.
  • Hold the band stead and move one leg out into extension....
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2 Glute-Building Moves To Reduce Low Back Pain

A Better Way To Bridge?

Have you tried the 90-90 hip lift, popularized by PRI or Postural Restorative Institute and back health expert Dr. Stu McGill?

These hip lifts are a great way to work on trunk and pelvic positioning, which is especially helpful for those stuck in lumbar extension and present anterior pelvic tilt and rib flare. 

The limit range of motion with the 90-90 hip lift helps to focus on moving out of extension and into lumbar flexion while posteriorly tilting the pelvis. Learning to move well on a sagittal plane helps you move better on all planes. 

By doing this you align the pelvic and thoracic diaphragms, helping to improve breathing patterns, while putting the trunk in better positioning. 

Below are the double leg 90-90 hip lift and single leg version. I actually prefer to program these in my Get Strong and Epic Ass workout series over feet-elevated bridges as it helps to avoid compressing the paraspinals, which is a common issue in certain...

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