Consider the number of times one of your athletes struggles when attempting to perform a 1-Leg RDL (“SLDL”). It’s rarely ever easy and oftentimes takes plenty of repetitions until technique is finally solid.

Quite often you’ll see difficulty with avoiding rotation in the hips and also balancing on one leg. Let’s face it: the 1-Leg RDL isn’t an easy exercise. However, it is an important one.

Enter: the Extended Reverse Lunge. This is the perfect prep exercise for the 1-Leg RDL. Let’s find out why below!


Most people perform typical RDL’s or deadlifts on two legs and then jump right into the 1-Leg RDL exercise. The problem is that this is way too big of a jump for most  people. Instead, you could take a more strategic approach in order to “slow cook” the training process and give your athletes more time in each exercise progression stage.

If your goal is to build up 1-Leg RDL strength, here’s a simple exercise progression series:

In order to keep consistency, all exercises above incorporate 2 dumbbells (1 in each hand). However, you could simply use 1 dumbbell in either hand to create more of a stability and balance challenge.

Taking your time at each of the exercise progression stages allows your athletes to build more strength, confidence and mastery of each movement. The kicker here is that the Extended Reverse Lunge exercise from the series above serves as the happy-medium that helps to bridge the gap for your athletes.


When it comes down to performing the Extended Reverse Lunge, it’s crucial to nail every detail so that you get the most bang-for-your-buck.

Here’s a list of details to keep in mind when performing this exercise:

  • Have your athletes deliberately keep their back leg straight (extended) to teach them how to shift their weight back.
  • When this happens, it allows the front leg to take the lead, which is ideal.
  • You’ll also be able to predominantly load the front leg and simply let the back leg be there for minor (assisting) support.
  • In the bottom position, be sure to press the entire surface of the front foot down through the floor.
  • This will serve as the driver for bringing your entire body back up into the starting position – and – continue to help you to predominantly load that front leg.

These are the steps that you miss out on when you jump from the two-leg RDL to the single-leg RDL without having steps in between to support the learning curve. Yet, another reason why the Extended Reverse Lunge is a true game-changer here.

In terms of exercise progressions to use for your athletes, here’s a simple approach that fits in well:


If your athletes are having trouble making sense of the 1-Leg RDL exercise, you could simply scale things back a bit and implement the Extended Reverse Lunge, which serves as a great happy-medium. Give this a shot with your athletes next time to help them build confidence and strength in the movement!

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Article by TrueCoach

First published: July 27 2022

Last updated: January 11 2024