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Kettlebell Single-Leg Deadlift

Kettlebell single-leg deadlifts aka, Single leg Romanian deadlifts (RDL) is a beast and should not be underrated. It's quite different to the traditional deadlift and is one of our favorites. Single leg deadlifts will give you strong and shapely glutes, help you with core strength, balance and coordination, and improve your hip mobility, which is great both for athletes—lifters, runners, dancers—and for casual gym goers, wishing to extend the length of their healthy and mobile lives.

Practice with a lighter kettlebell first, then move to a heavier weight (one heavier kettlebell or two kettlebells) or a higher number of sets and/or reps.



Muscles Worked in the Kettlebell Single-Leg Deadlift

First and foremost, your glutes and hams. Kettlebell single-leg RDLs are notorious for their ability to shape your buttocks into the perfect form. Besides, they will strengthen your lower back and core, including obliques, as well as your trapezius and forearm muscles.

Kettlebell Single-Leg Romanian Deadlift Form

1.Plant one foot firmly on the ground. The foot should be pointing straight ahead instead of at an angle. The toes of the foot should be very close to the kettlebell (which is now resting on the floor in front of you).
2.Bend the other leg—so that the foot raises from the ground. That is where it should remain throughout the reps: in the air.
3.Straighten your supporting leg, pull your knee cap up and squeeze your glutes.
4.Pick the kettlebell up. To do it, bend the knee of the supporting leg (but keep your heel on the ground), hinge at your hips, bend down, pick the bell with both hands, pull your shoulder blades back, and stand all the way up. At the top, keep your glutes squeezed.  
The other—harder—way to pick the bell is with the supporting leg remaining straight. If this does not feel comfortable, stick to the bent-knee pickup version.
5.From here, drag the kettlebell down your leg—until it touches the ground. Be careful to not land it on your toes! However, do not lower it too far in front of your foot, which will pull you ahead, and you risk losing your balance.
The free leg may remain bent or you might straighten it—whatever feels comfortable. The only place where it should not be is on the ground.
However, if you feel that you might be falling, it is OK to touch the ground with the free leg—to regain balance. Falling is never the prettiest option.
6.Return to the standing position: stand all the way up by squeezing your glutes and hams.  Straighten the supporting leg.
7.Repeat.
8.After you have hit the desired number of reps, switch the legs.

Frequent Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

1. Foot pointing outward. The foot of the supporting leg should be facing straight ahead, not at an angle.
2. Round back. As with all deadlift variations, you want to keep your back safe. Do not round it: either its lower or its upper portion. Engage your abs and brace your core. If you lack hip mobility, which makes your lower back bend before the kettlebell touches the floor, you may use a small step, or something of sorts, where you will lower the kettlebell at first—before you have attained the necessary level of mobility.
3. Loose shoulders. Your shoulder blades should remain tightly packed into your upper back. Do not let the shoulder hang loose.
4. Soft knee. Do not let the supporting leg bend at any portion of the movement, except for the part where you are picking the bell up from the floor. As you stand tall, straighten the leg and pull the knee cap up by engaging your quads.
5. Twisting hips. On your way down and up, do not allow your hips to fall to either side. When you lower and lift the kettlebell, do not allow the hip of your free leg lift higher than the hip of your planted leg.