Blast Your Glutes with Constant Tension RDL's

Crush Your Glutes with Constant Tension RDL's

Dr. Joel Seedman


Barbell and dumbbell RDL’s are a great exercise for working the all-important hip hinge movement.  Unfortunately the forces vectors produced from free weights don’t perfectly match up with how the hips and glute muscles function.  In other words it’s an axial loaded movement that we’re trying to perform in the same fashion as an anteroposterior loaded exercise.  

Here’s one of my collegiate athletes, and Olympic level high jumper Bailey Weiland demonstrating a unique RDL exercise as we work on improving her hip power, and lower body strength, to aid her jumping performance.

While there is nothing inherently wrong with this and it is in fact highly functional for moving heavy objects and lifting heavy loads, we’re missing out on maximal stimulation and activation to the posterior chain throughout certain portions of the movement.  In fact during RDL’s, the higher we go and drive into hip extension the less direct force is on the glutes and hamstrings.  Simply put, other than the bottom half the movement, most free weight hip hinge exercises provide little tension to the glutes and hamstrings and work predominately the upper back and traps. 

It’s for this reason that exercises like the glute bridge and hip thruster have become so popular over the years due to the direct loading of the hips with forces vectors that perfectly match the nature of the hips.   The cable pull-through is another exercise that has also gained popularity as it involves the same type of loading pattern but it’s actually applied to a hip hinge movement. 

Fortunately by using bands appropriately through direct horizontal hip loading, we can turn the RDL into an exercise that involves constant tension throughout the entire movement making it an incredibly effective movement not only for targeting the stretched position but also the fully contracted all-important hip extension position.  Simply put we’re combining all the best elements of the RDL, cable pull through, and hip thruster into one movement.  

In addition, adding bands in does not take away from the maximal load the individual can handle as there is no additional forces on the grip, upper body, or low back.  As a result the lifter can achieve the same benefits to the upper body and low back achieved with heavy RDL’s only this time with even more stimulation to the posterior chain namely the glutes and hamstrings. 

Lastly the direct posterior horizontal band loading provides a pulling sensation to the hips further emphasizing proper hip hinge mechanics as it literally pulls the lifter into a proper RDL or hip hinge position.

Need more info about how to perform RDL's?  Click HERE