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Blog One of the Best Exercises for Firmer Glutes & Toned Thighs: The Single-Leg Romanian Deadlift



One of the Best Exercises for Firmer Glutes & Toned Thighs: The Single-Leg Romanian Deadlift

  • by Michelle
  • January 27, 2016

Over the years I have trained a lot of females and almost every single one of them has asked me which exercise I think is the best for tightening their bum or toning the back of their thighs.  It seems the newest craze is women wanting more curves, meaning adding a little more “junk in the trunk”.  The answer to this problem does not lie within some kind of fancy machine with a name like “butt blaster”, most of the best bum exercises are performed with your own body weight or free weights.  Although there are numerous exercises that target this area including various forms of squats, deadlifts, lunges, and step-ups; in this article I’ll cover my favorite of them all:




The Single-Leg Romanian Deadlift


Talk about getting more bang for your buck, this is a great exercise for firming the glutes and the back of the leg (hamstrings); however, because it’s a single-leg exercise it also targets your ankles and hip stabilizer muscles at the same time!

Here’s How it’s done (form is very important in this exercise):

  • Begin by standing up straight with feet a few inches apart, holding a dumbbell in your left hand (choose a lighter weight when starting out or no weight at all)
  • Looking straight ahead, stand and balance on your right leg while kicking the left leg out slightly behind you
  • You may maintain a slight bend in the right leg during the exercise to avoid locking out your right knee
  • While continuing to look straight ahead, lead the forward movement with your chest, and reach down with your left arm (holding the dumbbell) towards the toes of your right foot.  While bending over and pushing the hips back, kick your left leg out behind you, you should feel a stretch in the hamstrings as you get deeper and your back is parallel to the floor.
  • Next, focus on squeezing your left bum muscle and hamstring hard while you reverse the movement and bring yourself back to an upright position.  This is when you should feel the hamstrings and glutes working the most.
  • Be sure you keep your head up, shoulders pulled back, and flat (not rounded) back throughout the entire movement
  • CAUTION: if you begin to feel discomfort in your lower back you are most likely not maintaining a flat back (allowing shoulders to round forward), not keeping your head up, or using a weight that is too heavy for you

That is one rep, repeat for 10-12 reps on each leg for a minimum of 2-3 sets.  The first few times you perform this exercise you may need to concentrate a lot on your balance, but the more you practice, the easier it will become.  Practice in your living room without shoes on and without a weight in your hand to get the hang of it!

Here is an example of what it should look like:


Email Michelle@CORE-Condition.com for more of my favourite exercises for firming the glutes and thighs.


Michelle Roots BA Kin, CSCS, PES