Sometimes standard romanian deadlifts can get a little bit boring and stressful on the joints if you’re using them too frequently in your training.
However, making the move from bilateral to unilateral RDL’s isn’t easy because the single-leg variations require large amounts of balance, stability, and coordination.
Performing RDL’s with a split stance is a great way to reap the benefits of unilateral loading without the steep balance requirements. Here’s what it looks like:
As you can see, the back leg is only about six inches behind the front. It’s a small change, but it shifts the majority of the load onto the front leg and the back leg is simply there for stability. It’s also easier to push your hips back in this position, making it easier to keep the lumbar spine flat and solid.
Even though I love single-leg training and feel that the benefits are fantastic, not everybody has enough lower body stability to start performing the variations without a lot of practice. Because of this, the focus will tend to shift on maintaining balance rather than on the muscles and the movement itself. When we’re training primarily for strength, we’re going to be using heavier loads and we don’t want to worry about keeping our balance. Over time as strength and stability improve, balance will take care of itself and single leg exercises will be much more effective.
I really like this variation in particular because you can still go pretty heavy, and since your back leg stays grounded there’s no concern about losing your positioning and missing a rep.
Remember to keep a slight knee bend and keep the bar close to your body. Just as you would with standard RDL’s, pull the bar up and finish with your glutes at the top.
Give these a try if you’re looking for a good place to start implementing unilateral lower body training. I think you’ll really enjoy them!