Single-Leg Landmine Romanian Deadlifts – For a pumped-up peach & stable hips
Romanian deadlifts (RDLs) are a totally underrated pulling movement that hit your glutes and hamstrings in the best way. Sometimes called stiff-leg deadlifts or straight-leg deadlifts, RDLs are an athlete’s best friend for building the kind of posterior chain that looks like it belongs on a draft horse. The single-leg version is also excellent for working on hip stability.
Single leg RDLs for a pumped-up peach & stable hips
Single-leg RDLs are usually done with a contralateral load—one foot stays grounded while the weight is held in the opposite hand. This tricky balancing act between opposite hip and shoulder is an essential skill for most athletes.
You can use dumbbells or kettlebells for single-leg RDLs, but you’ll be limited in the amount of weight you can pull. If you really want to load your glutes and hamstrings, the landmine attachment could be your new best friend.
The landmine secures one end of a barbell in a swiveling “pocket” on the ground, so you can use the other end in any direction. Landmines provide more balance so you don’t have to constantly stabilize your hinge movement (like with a dumbbell) and you can pull heavier weight without falling over.
More stability = more power output.
Romanian deadlifts vs conventional deadlifts
Without getting too into the weeds here, we’ll focus on the main part of each lift that differentiates them: the descent of the barbell from hips to the floor.
For a conventional deadlift, your knees bend as you move the barbell toward the floor and your back does a lot of the work. In a Romanian deadlift, your knees stay straight or have minimal bend, which forces your glutes and hamstrings to take on more of the load.
For most people RDLs have a slightly shorter range of motion, because it’s harder to reach the floor with only a little bend in the knees, so the plates might not hit the ground. You’ll also feel a nice stretch in the backs of your legs and butt.
Every now and then you work in a new exercise that makes you think, “why don’t I do these more often?” When you’re feeling that nice, meaty glute pump from RDLs, you might want to do them more often.
Get ready to bro out one cheek at a time with our guide to SLRDLs (say that abbreviation out loud and try not to laugh).
Single-Leg Landmine Romanian Deadlifts
Points of Performance
Set up a landmine attachment on a rig, barbell caddy, or landmine anchor and load one end of a barbell into it. The landmine should hold any standard bar, but if you happen to have a shorter 35lb bar, those can be easier to manipulate. Start by adding a 10lb plate on the free end just to elevate the height of the barbell.
There are a few different ways to set your stance and grip for single-leg RDLs using a landmine.
Option 1: front facing
Option 2: side facing
Whatever stance you choose, you’ll be executing the pull in about the same way. Start by planting your weight into one leg and gripping the end of the barbell with the opposite hand. If your body is perpendicular to the bar, grip with the arm closest to the bar and ground into the outside leg. No need to reach across your body for this one. Lift the free leg off the floor behind you and squeeze your glute as you pull the barbell up your body.
Keep your hips square during the lift (no twisting out to the side) and your back toes pointed toward the floor. Be sure to tuck your pelvis and maintain a flat back—arching into your low back (aka anterior pelvic tilt) is a no-no. The goal is to be able to execute the lift with minimal bend in the grounded knee. You’ll know you’ve got the right flow for each rep when you feel your glutes and hamstrings working.
Coach’s Tip: Use your free arm for balance by holding it steady out to the side.
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Work those cakes!
Once you have the movement down, don’t be shy about adding weight. Since you’re likely not used to pulling heavy with only one foot on the ground, pay close attention to your setup. It helps to think about pressing into the floor with the grounded leg and mentally focusing on the lever of your hip joint.
You might notice better balance on one side versus the other—that’s normal, and usually corresponds to joint stability. Practice just standing on the wobblier leg once in a while.
Single-leg RDLs make for awesome accessory work OR as part of a booty-blasting superset on leg day. Here’s an example set to wreck your posterior chain.
- Single-leg Landmine RDLs: 12 reps each leg @ moderate weight
- Hip Thruster: 8-10 reps @ heavy weight
Pigeon Stretch, :90 each side
Lily is TrainHeroic’s Marketing Content Creator and a CF-L1 with an English background. She was a successful freelance marketer for the functional fitness industry until being scooped up by TrainHeroic. An uncommon combo of bookish, artsy word-nerd and lifelong athlete, Lily is passionately devoted to weightlifting, CrossFit, yoga, dance, and aerial acrobatics. Find her showcasing her artist-athlete hobbies on IG @lilylectric.
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