By Tony Gracia, Head Coach and Co-Founder at Industrial Strength.
This series of articles will highlight fifteen of my favorite exercises that I think are awesome and do not get the appreciation they deserve. The first week of installments focused on major lower body strength developers, the second week on upper body strength movements, and this week will emphasize unilateral lower body strength exercises.
UNDERRATED EXERCISE #8 = Landmine Single Leg Romanian Deadlift
As mentioned in the last installment it is important to have a balance in your lower body strength program between exercises done bilaterally (squats, deadlifts) and exercises performed unilaterally (one leg doing most or all of the work). The FFESS covered previously would be an example of a unilateral exercise that focuses on a squat pattern, and in this installment I’ll discuss the Landmine Single Leg Romanian Deadlift (LM SL RDL) as a favorite of mine for a hinge / deadlift pattern.
The main reason we started incorporating the LM SL RDL into our programs at Industrial Strength is to allow the lifter to actually load the pattern with some legitimate weight without being overly limited by balance. When I see most people working on a traditional SL RDL (using a dumbbell or a kettlebell) they are usually restricted to keeping the load really light because balance is the limiting factor. I do believe balance is important and it is absolutely justifiable to include balance training in a program; I just do not agree with making balance such a disproportionate limiting factor to the point that the lifter can not use what should be a strength training exercise to actually get stronger. By including the landmine device into the SL RDL it offers my favorite compromise where the lifter still has to pay attention to their balance, and at the same time they should be stable enough to load the exercise heavy and build some serious strength in their posterior chain and core.
HOW TO DO THEM
- Balance on your right foot and hold the end of the barbell with your left hand (the other end of the bar is in the landmine)
- While maintaining a slight bend in your right knee and your right foot flat on the floor, extend your left leg in the air behind you and hinge into your hips, pushing your hips backwards behind the heel of your right foot
- Maintain a neutral spine at all times – do not go into spine flexion, and do not allow the weight (held in your left hand) to rotate your shoulders
- Push the hips back until you feel that you are loading your right glut strongly – most likely your body will be angled somewhere 45° – 90° compared to the vertical
- Pause for a moment before initiating the upward movement by contracting your glut
- Other tips
- Remember that this is a hip hinge, and as such the hips need to be pushed back to initiate the movement. It would not be correct to keep the leg straight, keep the hips over the ankle, and just fold at the hip crease. Again, to do this well both the knee and hip must bend and the hips must push back far enough that they are no longer above the ankle of the down leg
- The knee of the right leg should be either directly above the ankle or over the shoe laces – it should NOT travel behind the ankle. Also make sure the knee stays in line with the foot and does not drift inwards
- Try to maintain a straight line from your left ankle to knee to hips to shoulders
- Maintain as square of a relationship as possible with your hips and shoulders
- At all times your shoulders should be higher than your hips and your hips higher than your right knee
- Keep your left shoulder packed – do not let the weight stretch or pull that shoulder down to the floor
- Finish every rep with a strong contraction of your glut – if you do these right you should feel them in your butt more than anywhere else