Single-leg Romanian deadlift with Dumbbell

Romanian Deadlift on Single-Leg mainly targets your hamstrings, glutes and core. It also helps to create the balance between your legs and reduce your risk of injuries by strengthening the hamstrings, butt and lower back muscles.

This single-leg exercise not only trains your muscles but also challenges your balance, improves flexibility in your hamstrings by stretching the hamstring muscles during the bending motion. 

Why perform the Single Leg exercises? 

Single leg exercises are great for developing dynamic core strength. Why? because they force you to maintain your balance on one leg, while performing the dynamic move. This requires balance, muscular endurance, flexibility and core strength. By performing one leg exercises such as Single-Leg Romanian Dead Lift with correct form, you are not only working your hamstring muscles, but also your abs, glutes and lower back. Again all these muscles work collectively to achieve the balance and allow dynamic movements. 

While single-leg exercises place higher and more demands on your body and fitness skills, they are great exercises for every fitness level. If you are a beginner, begin with just with your body weight to work on the form and become familiar with the movements. As your strength and balance improve, add weights to increase the intensify and level of challenge.

Why work your hamstring muscles?

Hamstrings are a very powerful group of muscles located in the back of your legs. They are on the upper back of the upper legs. They stretch towards the hips. 

Hamstring muscles help flexing the knees and extend the hip. Hamstring muscles are heavily utilized and play a vital role in our daily activities such as walking, running, cycling and jumping. They are also key muscle groups in the lower body, so it’s crucial to have them strong, healthy and flexible at all times. 

When your hamstring contract, they help to provide stability for the knee joint, so a weak hamstrings, or who can’t activate fast enough, injury may result. Doing legs exercises, like Single Leg Romanian Deadlif will help to strengthen your hamstring muscles, improve your balance to keep your knee healthy and strong. 

How to do it: 

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and knees slightly bent. 
  • Raise one leg off the floor.


Flex your knee about 15-20% to activate the Glutes(butt). This helps to relieve any pressure on the lower back. Most people have weak glutes(butt). If your glutes are weak, your hamstrings have to work harder to become synergistically dominant during the hip extension. This can lead to hamstring strains and injuries. 

Be sure to warm-up and strengthen your glues by performing bodyweight butt bridge exercise.  

A. Without changing the bend in your knee, keep your back naturally arched, bend at your hips, and lower your torso until it’s almost parallel to the floor. 

B. Pause, then squeeze you glutes(butt), thrust your hips forward, and raise your torso back to the starting position. Repeat until you complete the prescribed number of repetitions before switching over to the other leg. 

How Many Repetitions to Perform

Although a good place to start in general is 10 repetitions and 3 sets, for maximum results and safety, rep and set counts should be adjusted to meet your fitness level. If you are a beginner, use dumbbells that you can perform 12-15 repetitions of Single-Leg RDL.

If you are well conditioned, pick up heavier dumbbells that only allow you to perform 6-8 repetitions per set. The idea is that more advanced you become, heavier your weights should be and less repetitions you perform. For a complete guide to exercise variables such as repetitions and sets, read Strength Training 101: How Many Exercise Reps and Sets to Perform. 

Exercise Table

Reps Sets Level Location
10 3 Hard Gym or Home

Single-Leg RDL both strengthens your hamstrings and glutes and improves balance and flexibility in your hamstrings. 

Romanian Deadlifts come with numerous variations. If you are a beginner, begin with Inverted Hamstring Stretch, also known as One-Leg Bodyweight Romanian Deadlift, which only uses your body weight to work your hamstrings and glutes. Inverted Hamstring not only strengthens your leg and butt muscles, but also challenges your balance and improve flexibility in the hamstrings. 


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