Sliding Single Leg RDLs

Posted on by Ben Bruno

Today I want to share Sliding Single Leg RDLs. They can be done using a Valslides, a slideboard, or really anything that allows your foot to slide along the ground.

Here’s what it looks like.

I really like single leg RDLs, but many people find that the stability aspect is very difficult, sometimes to the point that they don’t feel as though they can adequately work the posterior chain because they are too busy try to balance. I think there is value in learning the movement on one leg, but at the same time, I think it’s important to have exercises where stability isn’t so much of a factor so you can work on producing force and working the muscles.

That’s why I like this exercise. The rear leg provides stability, but the front leg bears almost the entire load, giving you the best of both worlds. If you put too much weight on the rear leg, the pad won’t slide smoothly, so it forces you to put the weight on the front leg where you want it.

It’s very knee-friendly because the tibia of the front leg stays vertical and the back leg stays straight, and it’s also back-friendly because you’re using less overall load than a bilateral RDL.

The goal is to keep a straight line from the foot of the rear leg through the head, hinging at the hips rather than bending forward from the lower back. Go only as low as you go while keeping a flat back.

I personally like staying in the 8-12 rep range, but you’re welcome to play around with that as you see fit. You can actually do this unloaded with just bodyweight and it’s still a great exercise. you can load it in any number of ways, dumbbells, kettlebells, a barbell, etc. Offset contralateral loading with the landmine works too, as seen here.

Give it a shot and let me know what you think. If you’re doing it correctly, these will absolutely smoke your glutes and hamstrings. In fact, I’d actually recommend limiting yourself to 2-3 sets tops at first to let yourself adjust because otherwise you may be crushed with posterior chain soreness (good soreness, not pain). I learned that one the hard way.

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  • Matt

    Nick Tumminello suggested a similar exercise for people with bum knees. It was called an anterior reach lunge. I prefer yours because it keeps that back foot on the floor for support.
    Here’s the video:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gztBydYNEMk&feature=player_embedded

  • Jamie Paul

    nice! a lot of my clients find the balance really challenging on this movement. thanks for the tip!

  • Paul Bruce

    Ben, you know you’re brilliant, right?

    I’ve got hip issues – if you place two fingers on my hip joint as I flex and extend my hip, you can feel my hip pop. So I’m going to hopefully get physiotherapy. But in the mean-time, I wanted to find a way to still do single-leg RDLs in my calisthenics routine. My hips would hurt, my knee would wobble (NEVER tracked over my toes), and I wanted to find a good way to add stability without using external support, so I could eventually work my way up to free single-leg RDLs.

    This is a perfect intermediary step. Thank you so much for posting this.