Athlete Performs RDL

The Dumbbell RDL or Romanian Deadlift is one of my favorite strength-building exercises to use with athletes. In this variation of deadlift, the legs stay straighter with just a slight bend in the knees. The focus should be on keeping a strong hinge position, with the ribcage in front of the hips. The photo above shows an athlete performing this drill with a barbell, but you can get just as great results with the dumbbell rdl.

Why Use An RDL?

The RDL targets the hamstrings, erector spine, and gluteus muscles through hip extension. As an athlete, it’s important to have a strong back chain- which refers to all the muscles along the backside of the body.

Strengthening the muscles of the back chain allow you to improve on important athletic skills such as:

  • Tackling an offensman
  • Hitting with power
  • Vertical Jump
  • Driving on a forward play and more…

A dumbbell RDL will allow you to perform the movement with a good amount of weight, while also reflecting which side might be tighter than the other. I’ll often have athletes pair this with another unilateral exercise such as single leg split squats.

How To Do A Dumbbell RDL:

To perform a DB RDL, begin standing with dumbbells in hand. Begin hinging at the waist, keeping a slight bend in the knees. Push the hips back behind you while keeping the chest open and the spine flat.

Aim to keep both DB’s close to your legs (think about almost skimming the front of the legs with your hands. Maintain a neutral neck keeping the eyes on the floor, and allowing the gaze to lift with you as you return to standing..

Variations of Dumbbell RDL:

  • Single Leg RDL
  • Staggered Stance RDL
  • Barbell RDL

Check out this workout that features an RDL: THE BEST DEADLIFT FOR ATHLETES

For more strength training check out the Athlete Strength Formulaย 


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