WHOLE BODY FUNCTIONAL MOVEMENT
The Romanian deadlift should be a staple of any strength and conditioning program, and for good reason. If done correctly, the entire posterior chain (gluts, hamstrings, calves, back extensors, etc) can be hit with one functional movement.
Why is this significant? Because throughout normal everyday movements, it is actually hip extension, and not knee flexion, that plays a dominant role in movement and developing power in a host of activities, like walking, running, and biking.
Furthermore, functional exercises, like the single leg Romanian deadlift are easily transferrable to new situations and environments that closely simulate every day tasks, like picking objects off the floor while protecting your lower back. In summary, the deadlift (or any variation of it) is an absolute killer compound exercise that can be adjusted accordingly to fit your personal goals.
1-Leg Hip Hinge (watch video)
CHALLENGES YOUR BODY’S 3 PRIMARY BALANCE SYSTEMS
Unlike a normal deadlift, the single leg Romanian deadlift adds a component of balance to the exercise. Simply by standing on one leg, you are challenging your static balance, By incorporating the Romanian deadlift movement on one leg, you are now additionally challenging your dynamic balance. Exercises that challenge your dynamic balance are more functional and, for the most part, recommended over static balance exercises. It’s your dynamic balance that is relied upon in sports and fall prevention alike!
Dynamic balance exercises, like the single leg Romanian deadlift, not only challenge your balance, but also challenge your foot strength. While your sensory systems are responsible for detecting changes in balance, it’s actually your muscles that are responsible for carrying out and controlling the proper corrections! In particular, the muscles in your calf and foot are largely responsible for making the small, postural foot changes that allow you to maintain your balance.
For a more advanced version of the single leg deadlift, the trap bar is a great way to add external load, while reducing shear on the lumbar spine and increasing stressors on the posterior chain.