Kettlebell RDL: Best Guide to Strong Hamstrings and Glutes

Also called the kettlebell Romanian deadlift, the kettlebell RDL is a vital exercise to build strength in the glutes and hamstrings.

Exercise do not only improve your lower body strength, it will also help you avoid injuries and increase the performance of other exercises. We go over everything you must know about the kettlebell RDL.

The Kettlebell RDL: Working Muscles

The Kettlebell RDL Working Muscles

Primary Muscle Group

The kettlebell Romanian deadlift is a deadlift that engages four muscles located in the rear of your leg, which comprise the hamstring, namely the biceps fascia (a group comprised of two muscles: short as well as a short-headed head), semitendinosus, and the semimembranosus.

When you do this hamstring kettlebell workout, You should feel a tight stretch through the muscles.

The gluteal muscles comprise three muscles: the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius and the gluteus minimus.

The kettlebell RDL targets this muscle group in general; however, it focuses on the maximum gluteus muscle, the biggest of the three muscles.

Secondary Muscle Group

The kettlebell RDL is a powerful compound exercise that stimulates the muscles in your body. The exercise also works the core muscles like the abdominals, and your obliques contract to strengthen your midsection.

Additionally, your traps, forearms, and the mid-lower back will be activated to help control the weight in the movement.

The Kettlebell RDL: Benefits

The Kettlebell RDL

#1 Bigger & Stronger Glutes And Hamstrings

The kettlebell RDL creates a significant amount of strain on your hamstrings, glutes, and hamstrings, which causes mechanical damage to muscles’ fibers. This causes muscle cells can grow in the process of hypertrophy.

With more muscle mass, your lower thigh will appear more distinct. Still, you’ll also be able to improve your performance when lifting other weights like the barbell squat or deadlift.

#2 Improved Athletic Performance

Adding the kettlebell RDL to your exercise routine can increase your athletic ability. Running, walking, and jumping sports activities depend on strength, endurance, form, and endurance.

The kettlebell Romanian deadlift improves the strength of your glutes and the hamstrings. This will enhance your performance at any sporting event.

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#3 Convenience

In contrast to other exercises for the lower body, such as the seated leg presses or glute-ham raise, the kettlebell RDL does not rely on any equipment in the gym to achieve significant gains.

All you require is kettlebells and open space.

In that regard, Let’s get into the details of this exercise.

The Kettlebell RDL: Instructions


For the kettlebell RDL, you’ll only need a kettlebell.


  • Install kettlebells on the ground directly in front of you.
  • Stand up with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Begin by tying your waist while bending your knees to the point in line with the floor.
  • Take the kettlebell’s handle with your palms facing you.
  • Lift the kettlebell to a standing posture.


  1. With a slightly bent knee and a slight bend in your waist, you can hinge using a straight back. Slowly lower the kettlebell to the floor. There should be a noticeable stretching in your hamstrings as your hips turn forward.
  2. Pause for one second at the bottom before reversing the movement and returning to the standing position. Press your glutes with all the force you can in this posture.
  3. Keep tightness in your core, and repeat!


If you’re unfamiliar with the kettlebell RDL, pick an easy weight to start and work through three sets with 10-12 repetitions.

If you feel more comfortable with your form, grab a heavier kettlebell and do 6-8 reps in 3-4 sets.

The Kettlebell RDL: Mistakes

The Kettlebell RDL Mistakes

#1 Rounding Of The Back

The back should be rounded. This is the most frequently-repeated mistake that is made during the kettlebell RDL. A back that is rounded could cause muscles in your back and reduce tension in your lower back.

Before securing your waist, squeeze your shoulder blades to ensure your back is straight. Also, squeeze your core muscles to ensure your abs are engaged. This will significantly reduce the risk of injury while performing the kettlebell RDL.

#2 Routing The Motion

The kettlebell RDL is great for the eccentric part of the exercise when the hamstrings lengthen. It is essential to perform the exercise slowly to increase the strain on your lower back.

Typically, people rush through the RDL; they try to work too hard. Instead, focus on lifting a moderate weight and slowly finish each repetition.

This will increase your performance, but it will improve the connection between your brain and muscles!

#3 Completing Partial Reps

While doing the kettlebell RDL, you need to reduce the kettlebell just as much as your hamstrings allow.

Some lifters stop lowering the kettlebell when they find their hamstrings tense. The truth is that the kettlebell being lowered to knee-level is a partial repetition.

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However, you must quit lifting if you are experiencing any discomfort, instability, and/or pain; you must try to push yourself as low as you can each rep to maximize the gains!

The Kettlebell RDL: Variations

#1 Dumbbell Romanian Deadlift

This Romanian dumbbell deadlift is a great variation on the kettlebell RDL. Suppose you are more comfortable with two dumbbells instead of one kettlebell. In that case, you should give the dumbbell RDL a go making sure you follow the same shape as the kettlebell RDL.

#2 Single Leg Kettlebell RDL

To strengthen your legs unilaterally, you can utilize RDL, the one-leg RDL.

Begin by holding one kettlebell in both hands, and then assume the standing position, keeping your feet together. Put all the weight of your body on just one side and maintain balance on your feet. Engage your core, and then bring your shoulder blades back down.

As long as you keep your spine straight, keep your hips back, then start to bend forward. Then, lower the kettlebell towards the floor. NOTE: Although your planted leg must remain straight, it is possible to let your trail leg lean slightly.

Continue to lean toward the front until you are in line with the floor. You should feel a firm tension in your hamstring. Reverse the motion when you return to your standing position. You should feel a tightening of your glutes. Stay tight in your core and do it again!

#3 Barbell RDL

The barbell RDL gives you the chance to add more weights to test yourself.

Start by setting up an exercise bar on the ground, using moderate to light weight.

Begin by tying your waist around, then bend the knees to the point the back of your body is equal to the floor. Take the bar in your palms facing your body, and the hands are slightly larger than your shoulder distance.

The barbell should be lifted to a standing posture.

After that, finish the barbell RDL using the same form as for the kettlebell variation!

The Kettlebell RDL: Alternatives

If you’ve enjoyed the kettlebell RDL exercise, check out these other exercises for the glute and leg to increase your lower body strength:

#1 Kettlebell Alternating Lunge

You can grab a kettlebell in your right hand using a loose grip. Take a standing position with your feet approximately the same width.

Engage your core and move forward using your right leg. Then, lunge to the side until your left foot touches the ground. Make sure you ensure that your knee is straight over your right ankle.

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After that, you’ll be able to return to the starting point and then transfer the kettlebell onto your left hand and make the same lunge on the left side. Alternate sides and make certain to maintain your core strength!

#2 Nordic Hamstring Curl

Begin by sitting on your knees, keeping an upright back. Fix your ankles using equipment, or ask your partner to keep your ankles in place. Tighten your glutes, hamstrings, and abdominal muscles.

Keep your back straight and slowly lean forward until you get to the floor. It is important to note that most people have difficulty controlling the move all the way to the floor. Lean forward as much as you can to slide forward, and then stop yourself.

Press your hamstrings with your fingers to raise your body back to the starting position. You are free to lift yourself off the ground if you require an initial booster. Do a hamstring and glute squeeze at the top of the exercise to increase the contracting. Repeat!

#3 RFE Split Squat

Begin by placing your trail leg on the high surface in front of you. Take a step forward using your trail foot until the trail foot is bent slightly.

Lean slightly forward, keeping your spine straight. Engage your core and squat down to the front of your leg. Take a break at the end of the rep, then drive upwards using your leading leg.

Keep your core tight, and do it again!


  • Timothy P. Carnes

    Timothy P. Carnes is a certified personal trainer with a Bachelor's degree in Exercise Science from the University of Florida. With over 8 years of experience in the fitness industry, Timothy is an expert in strength and conditioning, body composition, and overall health and wellness. He also holds certifications in strength and conditioning through the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) and corrective exercise through the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM). As an author at FitGAG, he shares his knowledge and expertise on a variety of topics, including strength training, body composition, and overall health and wellness tips. Timothy believes that consistency and discipline are the keys to achieving fitness goals, and he strives to inspire his readers to prioritize their fitness and wellness journey. Through his articles, Timothy aims to empower his readers to take control of their health, enhance their performance, and live their best lives.

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