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Single-Leg RDL vs Kickstand RDL


Level 5 Valued Member
A few years ago I cycled single-leg RDL's (with a kettlebell) into my program, and I perceived some benefit from it but also felt it was an awkward exercise because of the need to stand on one leg with an offset load, plus keeping the focus on maintaining level hips.

Recently I tried kickstand RDL's for a unilateral supplement to lower body exercises. Now I've always thought that the kickstand RDL was a regression of the single-leg RDL and was therefore inferior, but my experience so far with it has been that it is a superior exercise (based on the glute activation that I feel), provided I focus on keeping hips square to activate the front leg adductor, as well as focusing on the cue of "back pockets towards the wall".

Has anyone else had better results from the kickstand RDL than the standard single leg RDL?




Level 5 Valued Member
Team Leader Certified Instructor
Elite Certified Instructor
Single leg you are getting more stimulus for balance. With the kickstand you take the balance out, you can definitely focus more on posterior chain and increase weight. (Since you don't have to worry about falling over)
Use single leg for balance drills. Kickstand for power and strength..
I feel kickstand is the biggest bang for your buck.


Level 6 Valued Member
I would concur with above. Kickstands simplify the exercise and seem to make keeping hips aligned easier, whilst providing more overload opportunity.

Personally, I still do loaded single leg RDLs but I support myself with free hand to remove most of the stability challenge.

I also do unsupported ‘unloaded’ single leg version as warm up.

Admittedly, I try to keep my exercise pool simplistic so I can focus on effort and refining technique. This would bore many, not me.


Level 8 Valued Member
I do single leg RDLs (non kickstand) on a reverse facing squat wedge.

This makes the balancing aspect much easier and more like a kick stand or hand-supported RDL, but with a much greater calf and ankle stretch.

Dr. Matt Longfellow

Level 5 Valued Member
Certified Instructor
I'm a fan of kickstand over single-leg for most people in most situations.

More important for me as a PT (I work with a lot of people with movement/pain issues) - kickstand variations are super helpful to work on hip mobility limitations and to reinforce a good hinge pattern before we load up more advanced drills like a heavy RDL or swings.

And if you're someone who's already doing a lot of heavy RDLs, swings, snatches or other ballistics - I'm still a fan of keeping kickstand variations in rotation as they're more conducive to loading the hips through a full range of motion.

That, and there's a lot of benefits to be had that you just don't get with other hinge variations (loaded hip rotation, hip shifting, foot loading, fixing asymmetries, etc). In simpler terms, a healthy dose of kickstand deadlifts executed well can give you all the hip mobility you need without stretching for hours on end.
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