Begin with a light to moderate dumbbell or kettlebell in the hand opposite the stance leg. Keeping the shoulder blades squeezed together, back flat, chest out and head up at all times, slowly bend forward at the hip until a comfortable stretch is felt in the hamstring.


Always maintain a slight degree of knee flexion to avoid hyperextension. Pause at the bottom, and repeat. Perform two to three sets of 10-12 reps.



This exercise is an advanced version of the traditional RDL. It targets the hamstrings and glutes. I use it specifically to train balance, prevent and rehab proximal hamstring strains, increase hamstring to quadriceps strength ratios and improve running performance. Benefits include:

Improved dynamic hamstring mobility

 Increased hamstring strength/power

ACL injury prevention

 Enhanced single-leg balance/stability

Reduced risk of hamstring strains



If this is too challenging initially, have your client hold a medicine ball or begin with a body bar to learn the single-leg form. To increase difficulty, you may choose one of the following:

Perform the exercise on a flat Thera-Band pad (I do not recommend round, unstable surfaces).

Perform an overhead diagonal PNF shoulder raise at the completion of the upward motion (you will likely need to use lighter weight to maintain form).


Unstable RDL

 Unstable RDL with PNF


Brian Schiff, PT, CSCS (www.brianschiff.com) is a licensed physical therapist, respected author and fitness professional. He became a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) in 1998. In 2000, he opened his own personal training and sport specific conditioning facility, Fitness Edge, in Dublin, Ohio. Brian has presented at several professional conferences and seminars on injury prevention and sport-specific training.


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