Tip: Do the Single-Leg Romanian Deadlift

Build and strengthen your hammies with the braced variation of this exercise. Here's how.

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This is an accessory movement for the deadlift with the added benefit of increasing single-leg stability and strength in the hamstrings while sparing the spine. The "braced" position allows for a greater load to be used (and greater prime-mover muscle activation) and prevents balance from being the limiting factor of the movement.

Single-leg Romanian Deadlift with Brace

Single-leg Romanian Deadlift with Brace

  • Stand next to a squat rack or other stable object that you can hold onto during the movement.
  • Start with the dumbbell or kettlebell held in the hand that's on the same side as the leg that's going to stay in contact with the ground. Hold onto the rack with the other hand and use this hand sparingly to assist during the movement.
  • Start the movement by reaching rearwards with the opposite leg, trying to touch the wall behind you (sit back just as you would in a bilateral Romanian deadlift).
  • Keep the toes of the rear foot pointed towards the ground and keep the rear leg in line with the torso (keep the hip extended on the rear leg). Maintain a neutral head and spine throughout the lift.
  • Stop the eccentric portion of the movement when the load touches the ground, or as far as your range of motion allows while keeping proper form.
  • Make sure the dumbbell or kettlebell stays close to the body and doesn't drift too far outward.
  • Return to the start position by pulling with the heel of the front foot

Common Mistakes

  • Using the "brace" hand to assist in the lift rather than to just keep stable.
  • Not maintaining control throughout the movement.
  • Skimping on range of motion.
  • Rising up on the toe of the front foot.
  • Allowing the toe of the rear foot to drift out to the side, which in turn opens up the hips and releases tension on the lateral hamstrings.
Bret Contreras is considered by many to be the world’s foremost expert on glute training. He has turbo-charged the fitness industry by introducing effective new exercises and training methods for optimal glute development. Follow Bret Contreras on Twitter