Can you believe that it’s October? I’m not sure there’s a better way to kick the month off than by putting up a Move of the Week. Here it is!
THE MOVE: Offset-loaded Rear-foot Elevated RDL (Offset-loaded RFERDL)
MOVEMENT PATTERN AND MUSCLES WORKED: Hinge, single-leg; glutes, hamstrings.
WHY DO IT: A few weeks ago we featured the Dumbbell Death March for our Move of the Week, and this week I wanted to continue traveling down that path.
While the Death March is primarily a bilateral hinge, there is also an element of single-leg stability and strength for the front leg. This is because of the offset stance used during the march. Today’s move can actually be seen as a logical progression on that. By elevating the back foot, we’re demanding more of that front leg from a strength and balance standpoint. This is similar to the rear-foot elevated split-squat, except that today we’re coaching up a hinge.
In other words, we’re not quite at the point where we can balance and hinge effectively on just one foot. But we’re essentially halfway there. You still want this exercise to be as unilateral as possible, and by relaxing the back foot you won’t be able to “cheat.” However, you will be able to keep your balance better throughout the movement.
Finally, the offset-loaded dumbbell adds an element of anti-rotation for the core. It also demands extra stability from the front foot so that you’re not tipping over to one side. Taken all together, the Offset-loaded RFERDL is good for building single-leg stability and strength, as well as glutes and hamstrings in a hinge pattern.
HOW TO DO IT: Set up in front of a bench while holding a dumbbell in the hand opposite the leg that you want to work (ex: dumbbell in left hand, performing the RFERDL on the right leg). Reach behind you with the non-working leg, and place the front side of that foot down on the bench, or otherwise, keep it entirely relaxed. Make sure that you’re setting up far enough away from the bench so that you aren’t crowding yourself. Stand in a tall one-legged stance. Brace your core, keep the ribs down, and press into the floor with your front foot.
To perform this exercise, unlock the knee and hinge over the front foot as you would in a deadlift or RDL. Keep the torso square and stick your butt out. You should feel a stretch in your hamstrings and glutes. Make sure that you don’t lose your neutral spine–you should be bending entirely at the hip, not the lower back.
Now, push through the entire front foot to return to the tall one-legged position. Think about fully extending the hip and squeezing the glute. Repeat for reps and make sure to perform on both sides.
The Offset-loaded RFERDL fits well in the latter half of a training session. I would use it for 3-4 sets of 8-10 reps/side. Those who are inexperienced or lacking in technique may want to do these towards the beginning of the workout. This will help to hammer down the technical side of this exercise. That’s also why the reps are a little higher here.
If you’re looking for a segway into true single leg work like lunges, single-leg squats, and RDLs, elevating the rear-foot like we do today could be the answer. In this instance, the offset load will also add a challenge for the core. Try this out and be sure to let us know what you think on Twitter or Instagram @halevylife !
by Jeremy Lau
Jeremy Lau is a Senior Staff Coach at Halevy Life.
Jeremy graduated cum laude from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute with a BSc. in Biomedical Engineering and is currently pursuing his M.Ed. in Exercise Physiology at Columbia University. In addition to his academic accolades, Jeremy is a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist (CSCS).
Prior to joining the team at Halevy Life, Jeremy completed a coaching internship at Cressey Sports Performance, where he coached both amateur and professional athletes, among whom were many professional MLB baseball players.
As an athlete, Jeremy has played baseball competitively for most of his life.