How to do Dumbbell Romanian Deadlifts (Single Leg) Correctly and Safely

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INTRODUCTION

Single Leg Training is a movement pattern that is often overlooked in many training programs. Exercises that allow you to train one side of your body individually are great for unilateral strength development while allowing you to identify any imbalances between the two legs. Furthermore, single leg training lends itself to many real-world applications.

DUMBBELL ROMANIAN DEADLIFT (SINGLE LEG) FORM VIDEO

 

BENEFITS OF THE DUMBBELL ROMANIAN DEADLIFT

  • Strengthens and tones the hamstrings, glutes, and low back muscles unilaterally

  • Teaches cores stability and improves overall total body balance

  • Exposes any potential imbalances that exist from side to side

MUSCLES WORKED DURING THE DUMBBELL ROMANIAN DEADLIFT

  • Hamstrings

  • Glutes

  • Low Back

  • Spinal Erectors

  • Upper Back

  • Core

  • Forearms/Grip Muscles

PERFORMING THE DUMBBELL ROMANIAN DEADLIFT

  • Pick up two dumbbells and position them in front of your body.

  • Set your stance with your feet close together and your feet pointing forward

  • Ideally, you should use flat sole shoes such as Converse Chuck Taylors, Nike Metcons, or Rebook Crossfit Nanos, to maintain a stable foot position. Any shoe with a squishy sole will not allow you to transfer force adequately from your feet to your hips.
  • Stand up tall and brace your core

  • Begin the movement by bending at the hips (NOT the spine) and pushing your butt backward

  • Simultaneously lift the non-working leg straight behind you as you continue to bend at the hips

  • Do not let the leg deviate out to the side. Keep it straight behind your body

  • Keep the working leg relatively straight with a slight bend in the knee

  • The dumbbells will help you keep your balance, keep lowering the weights down in front of your body as you continue bending at the hips

  • Stop once you feel a strong stretch along the hamstring of the working leg

  • Keep your core engaged, as you will need to stabilize your body in this position

 

  • Do not let you spinal alignment change. Only go as far as you can keep your back straight.

  • Once you reach your end range, reverse the movement by extending at the hips and returning the non -leg back down next to your working leg as you are exhaling

  • It’s easier to keep working the same leg for the desired amount of reps before switching sides

COMMON MISTAKES

EXCESSIVELY BENDING THE KNEE OF THE WORKING LEG

  • The Romanian deadlift is primarily a posterior chain exercise. The majority of the emphasis should be placed on the hamstring muscles. If your knees are bent, the quadriceps get more involvement then is necessary

BENDING AT THE SPINE

  • There are no circumstances where your spine should bend. Maintain your spinal alignment at all costs. Lower the weight if necessary

LOSING ALIGNMENT OF THE BACK LEG

  • When lifting the non-working leg behind you, try your best to keep it aligned directly behind your body. Letting it deviate to the left or right will change your spinal alignment and distort appropriate balancing

CHALLENGE

  • Perform 50% of your bodyweight for 8 repetitions each leg

HOW CAN I INTEGRATE THE DUMBBELL ROMANIAN DEADLIFT INTO MY TRAINING?

Check out The WCT Best Workout Template For Busy Professionals to find a simple way to add the dumbbell romanian deadlift and other great exercises into your routine.

DUMBBELL (SINGLE LEG) ROMANIAN DEADLIFT ALTERNATIVES


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Alex Robles, MD, CPT / Brittany Robles, MD, MPH, CPT

Alex Robles, MD, CPT / Brittany Robles, MD, MPH, CPT

Alex & Brittany Robles are physicians, NASM CPTs, health & fitness experts, and founders of The White Coat Trainer: a site dedicated to improving the health and fitness of busy professionals. Their advice has been featured on KevinMD, The Doctor Weighs In, My Fitness Pal, Reader's Digest, Livestrong, and The Active Times. Learn more about them here.

Learn More About Them Here
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