Horrible Superset: Romanian Deadlift/ Slider Leg Curl
Coach V showed our two teenage children this video. She then fled while I faced the questions, the squirming and the cries of "why, Father, why!?!?!?!?
It's been a couple of years since the event and I don't think I've recovered.
Luckily, you'll probably recover from doing this superset a little quicker, despite how much it may tickle.
Both of these exercises train the posterior chain (all that good stuff that causes movement, strength, power, sick aesthetics on the back of your body) hard.
The Romanian deadlift is one of the purest 'hip hinging' exercises there is.
If you google 'hip hinge' you'll see lots of people adopting the 'bottom' position of the Romanian deadlift
This means for beginner trainees they are a great tool for teaching the hip hinge, back positioning or control or familiarity when doing anything 'hingey' and are great for building the hamstrings, glutes, various muscles up and down your spine.
Here, Alan Thrall takes you through the correct way to do Romanian deadlifts
The Romanian deadlift can be loaded fairly heavy once someone can hip hinge and has developed a good base of strength and the endurance to keep each rep looking similarly good. I like to program this movement for 5 to 8 reps.
They often help people to build a bigger deadlift too, which is a nice bonus.
Slider Leg Curl
The slider leg curl is a great exercise to combine with the Romanian deadlift as it trains your hamstrings via knee flexion (this means movement at the knee rather than the hips) AND you have to fight to keep your hips extended/straight throughout which you don't have to do with exercises like lying machine leg curls. Which means it's better than laying leg curls I'm sure.
I like to use slider leg curls from anywhere as low as 3 reps all the way through to 20 reps.
Beginners may struggle to do more than 1-3 reps without cramping up and it can be very difficult/impossible to keep the hips off the ground throughout the movement, especially if someone doesn't have very strong glutes, which tends to be a lot of people.
Stronger, more experienced people tend to be able to rep them out and perform 12-20 reps. If they can do more than this or if 20 is easy, a more advanced progression is required.
Combined together, the two produce a hell of a lot of time under tension for the hamstrings, the hips are trained hard and the slider leg curls provide the burn which people love. I enjoyed having this superset as part of my training for 6 weeks.
When working on the same muscle group over 2 exercises, form can go off a cliff because the movements are too similar and fatigue sets in too fast.
I've found with my clients form didn't seem to go off a cliff when doing the leg curl after the Romanian deadlifts.
Allowing for enough rest between supersets is essential for maintaining good movement. I found 3-5 minutes between sets to be around optimum.
3-4 sets is more than enough to get all the benefits you can from this superset.
Give it a go, see how you find it and let me know if you have any questions.
By Chris Kershaw
The Heavy Metal Strength Coach