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Romanian Kettlebell Deadlift

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How to: Romanian Kettlebell Deadlift

Primary Muscles Used:Upper Legs, Glutes, Hamstrings

Exercise Families:Hinge


Trainer:Chontel Duncan

  1. Holding a kettlebell with both hands in an overhand grip (palms facing towards your body) in front of your legs, plant both feet on the floor slightly further than shoulder-width apart. Draw your shoulder blades down and back to push your chest out slightly. This is your starting position.
  2. Inhale. Bending from the hips only, allow the kettlebell to run along the length of your thighs and halfway down your shins, ensuring that you maintain a proud chest and that your head is an extension of your spine. You should feel tension in your hamstrings (back of your legs).
  3. As you reach halfway down your shins, exhale. Push through your heels and, using your glutes and hamstrings, extend your knees and hips to return to the starting position. Ensure that the kettlebell remains in contact with your legs. Repeat for the specified number of repetitions.

What are kettlebell Romanian deadlifts?

The Kettlebell Romanian Deadlift - often simply called a kettlebell RDL - is a hip-hinge exercise that primarily targets your hamstrings and can be performed with a single kettlebell, making it a great deadlift variation for working out at home.

While traditional deadlifts will use your quad muscles as well as your posterior chain, add kettlebell Romanian deadlifts to your workouts when you want to really focus on strengthening your glutes and hamstring muscles. Expect to feel a strong stretch throughout your hamstring when performing this exercise.

What are the benefits of kettlebell RDLs?

Kettlebell Romanian deadlifts are perfect for strengthening your posterior muscles, including your hamstrings, glutes and lower back. They are also a great way to improve your hip mobility.

Because you don't need access to very large or heavy equipment to get a lot of benefits from this exercise, you can easily incorporate it in at-home workouts or use it as a stepping stone to heavier or more challenging exercises - particularly if you want to focus on your form and master the hip-hinge movement before progressing to barbell deadlifts.

Tips for performing kettlebell RDLs

  • Perform the movement slowly and deliberately, focusing on the tension in your hamstrings and glutes.

  • All the movement should come from your hips. Keep your back straight (avoid rounding of the back) and avoid excessive bending in your knees throughout the exercise.

  • The kettlebell should stay close to your body for the whole exercise. Keeping it lightly touching your legs as you lower it through the eccentric part of the exercise can help.

Alternatives to kettlebell Romanian deadlifts

Try any of these deadlift variations in place of kettlebell RDLs:

  • Half Romanian deadlift: as the name implies, this variation uses the half the range of motion and is a great substitute if the full range is challenging.

  • Barbell Romanian deadlift: as you get stronger, this is the easiest way to increase the weight.

  • Single-leg Romanian deadlift: use this variation to train each of your legs unilaterally. You may also find you use your abdominal muscles more to maintain balance and stability.

Alternative Exercises for Gluteals

* Results may vary. Strict adherence to the nutrition and exercise guide are required for best results.

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