SAPT Exercise of the Week: Single-leg RDL From a Deadstop

Who wants strong glutes and hamstrings? (Everyone should be raising their hands and jumping up enthusiastically. You'll jump even higher with strong glutes....)

How else do you think Mario jumps so high?

Enter the single-leg RDL (that's Romanian deadlift. Don't ask me why the Romanian's get their own deadlift variation. Apparently they jumped on the posterior chain training first.). Now, the SL RDL is a fabulous exercise to train all those posterior muscles, and never ceases to amaze me with it's ability to produce soreness, however, sometimes balance is a bit of an issue. Many times folks aren't ready for a full SL RDL, so a progression I like is adding in the deadstop portion.

The deadstop helps a) give a definite start/end point to the movement which I've found helps people focus a bit more if they know where they're going. And b) requires the glutes to really fire to initiate the movement (no stretch-shortening cycle going on up in here!) and I like that it teaches the sometimes-lazy glutes to turn on first. A lot of people, myself included, can have lack luster glute firing abilities and tend to rely on the hamstrings and adductor magnus (poor little guy, that's why he gets strained so much, he's doing the glutes' work!) to achieve hip extension. The deadstop slows the athlete down and allows one to really think about using those wonderful cheeks instead of just blowing through the exercise any ol' way.

"Turn on," Grock says. Grunt.

Take a look:

Coaching cues:

1. Fire your glutes! How? Start squeezing your cheeks (yup, both of 'em.) before beginning to stand up. Shove the heel deep into the ground as you stand.

2. Brace your midsection. If you don't, you're going to be all over the place, wobbling and wiggling in a manner most unbecoming to a serious trainee.  In addition to preventing the wobbles, a tight midsection will prevent the non-working side's hip from rising up. So this exercise doubles as a core exercise (training the anti-rotation function). Fabulous no?

I can't get enough of this song; there may or may not be spontaneous wobbling going on in SAPT. But never during the SL RDL...

3. Move from the hip. Pretend it's a two-legged deadlift. HINGE baby!

4. Drive the non-working heel to the ceiling. This will ensure the the other glute stays tight and doesn't take a coffee break.

5. Keep the shoulders down and back, think about pulling your chest up towards the ceiling, to maintain a tight arch in the lower back and prevent slumping of the shoulders. We do enough of that slumpy-slump the rest of the day. We want a strong upper back so keep them blades tight!

6. Accept that you will be sore the following day. Sorry.