4 Progressions to a Single-Leg Romanian Deadlift


Unilateral work is an essential component of your strength program. Single-leg deadlifts are a great way to train balance, equilibrium, and proprioception.

If you feel wobbly when you attempt a standard SLRDL, then try these progressions.

Split stance RDL: I love this as an accessory move on lower body days. Stand with feet staggered and the DB or KB in a contralateral load. Loading this way helps the glute medius kick in.

Sliding RDL: The next progression is to use a slider, allowing the back leg to track behind the body while remaining on the floor.

Braced SLRDL: Next up is the braced version. The key to bracing is to help maintain balance without relying solely on the apparatus for support. If you feel you need a ton of support, then go back to split stance.

SLRDL: You can do contralateral load, double KB/DB, barbell, or any other variety. Variety is the goal. The more ways you load, the more components you work on to help improve strength, athleticism, balance, and awareness.


Remember a single-leg Romanian deadlift comes from the hips. Sit back in the hips rather than allowing the knees to jut forward.

Let the knee soften a bit. If you keep a stiff knee, you're more likely to bend forward than shift the hips back. Often low back pain during these types of hinging movements happens when you shift your weight forward by bending. 

Try different foot positions with the split stance version. Some find it more comfortable to have a wider stance, while others find it better to go narrow. 

Take your time with progressions. It isn't a race to see how fast you can work up to the single leg version. Give your body time to develop balance, coordination, stability, and strength.

I recommend using unilateral movements in your weekly programming. Try to have at least one per workout session, be it upper, lower, or core.



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