Exercise Profile
  • Target Muscle Group
  • Exercise TypeStrength
  • Equipment RequiredKettle Bells
  • MechanicsCompound
  • Force TypeHinge (Bilateral)
  • Experience LevelIntermediate
  • Secondary Muscles
    Abs, Forearms, Glutes, Lats, Lower Back, Traps, Upper Back
Target Muscle Group


Hamstrings Muscle Anatomy Diagram

Kettlebell Romanian Deadlift Overview

The kettlebell Romanian deadlift is a variation of the Romanian deadlift and an exercise used to build the muscles of the hamstrings.

Kettlebell Romanian deadlifts should be done in a slow fashion with your focus on feeling the tension on the hamstrings and glutes.

Kettlebell Romanian deadlifts are an excellent exercise to use when learning the hip hinge movement before moving on to heavier and more advanced variations.

Kettlebell Romanian Deadlift Instructions

  1. Grasp a kettlebell by the horns with a double overhand grip and assume a hip width stance.
  2. Begin the RDL by pushing your hips back and hinging forward until the bar is just below knee height.
  3. Drive through the whole foot and focus on pushing the floor away.
  4. Return to the starting position and repeat for the desired number of repetitions.

Kettlebell Romanian Deadlift Tips

  1. Range of motion in the lift will largely be determined by an individual’s mobility as well as their ability to maintain a neutral spine. Standing on a box or bench is likely counterproductive as most won’t have the range of motion to control that much range of motion effectively.
  2. Neck position is highly individual - Some prefer a neutral neck position (i.e. keeping the chin tucked throughout the lift) while others do well with looking slightly up. Here’s some factors to consider:
    • If you’re someone who is more globally extended (i.e. athletic background), then you will likely be able to keep a neutral position more effectively by packing the chin.
    • On the opposite end of the spectrum, if you tend to be more flexion dominant (especially in your thoracic spine - upper back) then it would behoove you to look up slightly as this will drive more extension.
    • Experiment with each and see which one works best for your individual anatomy and biomechanics.
  3. Do not allow the kettlebell to drift away from the body, it should graze your legs during the eccentric portion of the lift.
  4. Make sure you wrap your thumbs around the kettlebell and don’t utilize a false grip. Squeeze the handle as tight as possible like you’re trying to leave an imprint of your fingerprints on the kettlebell.
  5. Your weight will naturally shift to your heels as you hinge; however, it’s important that you keep the weight distributed over your whole foot and don’t allow the toes to rise. To combat this, you should focus on maintaining 3 points of contact: big toe, little toe, and heel.
  6. Ensure the elbows stay locked out. Don’t actively flex the triceps but make sure that your elbow doesn’t break neutral as this can potentially put you at risk for a bicep tear under maximal weights.