Exercises You Should Be Doing: 1-Legged RDL to Squat

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I haven’t done one of these in a while, so I figured I’d throw a bone everyone’s way and introduce you to a brand spankin new exercise that I’ve been throwing into my own programs as well those of my athletes and clients.

I know (some) people are under the assumption that since I’ve omitted the bulk of single training from my programs, that this also means I’m avoiding them like the plague and that I’ve written them off entirely, or that what applies to ME also applies to my clients.

This is false, and couldn’t be further from the truth.

In fact, I heart single leg training and think it behooves pretty much anyone with a girl down there part or guy down there part* to include them (to some capacity) in their strength training programs.

The advantages in doing so are numerous, and something I’ve beaten to death numerous times on this blog so I won’t belabor the point now.  If you’re that curious, though (or if you’re new to the site – thanks for stopping by!) just do a search for “single leg training” or “listen to Tony because he’s the smartest man alive, even smarter than Yoda, and is also uncannily witty and awesome” in the search function in the bottom righthand corner.

Or you can visit my buddy Ben Bruno’s site and watch in awe as he demonstrates feats of strength on ONE leg that most people would give up their first born to be able to do on two.

Anyways, without getting too off-track, and since I can’t really think of a smooth segue ,I think single leg training is kind of a big deal and something that should be utilized by most trainees.  Here’s a new one you can try out.

1-Legged RDL to Squat

Who Did I Steal If From:  one of my former distance coaching clients, Laura, sent me an email a while back telling me that she had a nomination for an Exercise You Should Be Doing, and that it was one that her current trainer, the one and only Bill Hartman, had her performing on a regular basis.

What Does It Do: There’s really no other way to describe it other than how Laura explained it to me:

It’s a Frankenstein of a contralateral SLDL (Single-Leg Deadlift) and a RFE (Rear Foot Elevated) squat.

The first half of the exercise is a hip dominant RDL that places heavy emphasis on the hamstrings and glutes, while the second half is more of a quad dominant squat pattern.

It’s a marriage of both worlds, and takes the SLDL to a whole new level and really hammers hip stability, rotary stability (especially with the offset loading), as well as generally increases people’s level of awesome.

Key Coaching Cues:  Trust me, it’s a lot more difficult than it looks, so for those of you who may be scoffing at the “wussiness” of the exercise, just give it a try. It’s a much more humbling exercise than you think, as evident by the fact that I’m clearly struggling a bit with performing it correctly myself.

A few comments:

– Grab a kettlebell and crush the handle!  Literally try to make the handle “melt” in your hand.  Doing so will help the rotator cuff fire through a process called irradiation, and help make everything more “compact.”

– I find that this exercise is much easier to perform with a kettlebell, but if you don’t have access to any, a dumbbell would be a suitable substitute.

– Initiate the movement by hip hinging and forcing the brunt of your weight into your heel.  I like to tell people to try to drive their rear heel towards the ceiling, but also to pretend like they’re trying to push the wall away from them. More to the point, try to think to yourself “make the spine long.”  The entire backside – from head to toe – should make a straight line.

– Once the weight is just below your knee, bend at the knee and single-leg squat the weight to the ground.  This is the main reason why using a KB would be better here, as you don’t have to quite as low to reach the ground.

– Once there, single-leg squat the weight back up to knee level, and then SLDL hinge back to the initial standing position (making sure to finish the movement with your glute!).

– I’d say that anywhere from 5-8 reps per leg would be the goal here.

Try today and let me know what you think!

* In other words: the Who-Ha and Jiggly Bits.  Okay, we’re all grown ups here.  I’m referring to vaginas and penises, okay!  There I said it.

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