The RDL Exercise

The RDL, sometimes referred to as the Romanian Deadlift or Straight Leg Deadlift is a hip hinge exercise.

What that means that you shift your weight backwards through the hips.

Think about sitting back into the hips with soft knees (minimal knee bend). Then snapping forward with a strong glute contraction to stand straight and finish.

But, a lack of core stability, quad-dominance, and poor hip mobility make hip hingeing a challenge. But it’s an important movement, making it worth the effort to master.

Once the hip hinge is mastered deadlifts, kettlebell swings and other hip dominant exercises become easier.

The RDL is the primary hip hinge variation.

When performing this exercise, keep these tips in mind:

  1. Keep a soft bend in the knee and hinge at the hips.
  2. Keep shoulders and hips square; prevent hips from “opening up” to one side.
  3. Head stays neutral: Lock your gaze onto something that isn’t moving to help stay balanced.
  4. Don’t let your neck tilt upwards or downwards as you move into position. The spine should form one long line from the hips to the top of your head

RDL Variations

Try these variations as well.

  • Slider RDL
  • Kickstand RDL
  • Trap Bar RDL
  • Single Leg RDL


Advanced RDL Variations

  • Barbell Single Leg RDL
  • Single Leg RDL to Row
    • Single Leg RDL to Offset Row
  • Deadlift Single Leg RDL


Slider RDL


Kickstand RDL


Single Leg RDL

Single Leg RDL


The single leg RDL in action