The Ultimate Deadlift For Developing Your Posterior Chain
Dr. Joel Seedman, Ph.D.
If you’re looking for a full body posterior chain exercise that absolutely annihilates the glutes and hamstrings, look no further than this single leg dead stop RDL with a trap bar as demonstrated by one of my awesome clients Leslie Petch.
On a side note, huge congratulations to Leslie for competing and placing top 5 in her first national level IFBB Pro Level figure show last week as she competed against some of the top physiques in the nation. It’s also worth noting that while many of the competitors use steroids and performance enhancing drugs Leslie is 100% natural and has never touched any illegal ergogenic aids. So for anyone out there thinking that it’s impossible to compete at a high level of sports or bodybuilding without the use of drugs, think again. It simply takes harder and smarter work, proper nutrition habits, as well as dedication and rock-solid attitude all of which Leslie has.
This particular exercise and similar movements were part of Leslie’s training routine used to sculpt her champion-level physique.
Although this specific exercise can be performed with a traditional barbell, the depth tends to be slightly too extreme for most individuals. The trap bar allows a more natural range of motion due to the elevated grips. And yes you can simply elevate a standard barbell several inches however I’ve found that the trap bar variation is easier on the low back due to the loading being closer to the center of mass.
You’ll also notice that Leslie does not fully extend at the top. One, of the additional benefits and challenges of the trap bar single leg RDL’s is that you can’t fully lock the movement out at the top due to the bar running into the leg. This actually creates enormous constant tension on the glutes, hamstrings, and entire posterior chain as the lifter cannot simply rest at the top of the movement or relax their muscles. As an added bonus this is a great exercise for improving foot and ankle strength due to the balance and stability component.
You can also perform these in a constant tension fashion. This requires even greater stability due to the fact that the lifter can’t re-set their position on the floor each rep.
Try performing several sets of 4-6 reps per leg during your next lower body workout. Just be prepared for a seriously sore backside.
You may also want to superset these with your favorite glute bridge, hip thruster, or leg curl variation to tax the posterior chain with further mechanical tension and metabolic stress.