The RDL is the purest form of a hinging pattern and the easiest way to teach someone how to use their hips, glutes, and hamstrings independent of their spine. I would say that’s a pretty objective opinion of mine seeing as you’re minimizing complexity of the movement by all but eliminating the contribution at the knee. In terms of complex movements, it’s a pretty simple one.
I will start most people with an RDL, even if they already have lifting experience. Well, maybe especially if they have lifting experience because, often times, I need to re-teach their hip hinge.
Now, once you know this, I’m generally going to throw on more complexity. For example, when you can demonstrate a consistently (or semi-consistently) clean RDL pattern, I’m going to then have you RDL the weight to the knee, then squat the weight down to the floor.
Ta da! Then we have a deadlift pattern.
The RDL is a fundamental movement that I need all of my clients to know, and it’s arguably the easiest way to teach hip extension while keeping the acetabulum over the femoral head.
My Brazilian Jiu Jitsu fighter client and I had a recent exchange about single leg jumps and their efficacy for him. He was under the impression that I thought they were not very useful for him, which sparked a long response about the specificity principle of training.
Below is my response. I thought it would be a good piece to share and would love to hear your thoughts in the comments if you want to chime in.