15 Minute Hardworking Hamstrings / RDL Dumbbell Workout

I love deadlifts, so I was very excited to discover a workout from Caroline Girvin devoted to them. That’s what RDL stands for BTW: Romanian Deadlift. Because of the length of this workout, and the fact there is no warm up, it is a perfect finisher workout, which is how I used it this morning. And I loved it! This will definitely be one of my go-to finishers. Carolines uses 33 pound dumbbells for everything in this workout but I had to use more of a variety. I used 20-35 pound dumbbells. I can use the heavier dumbbells for the full range deadlifts and the 1.5 rep deadlifts, but once you start pulsing for 40 seconds at the bottom of a deadlift, I have to drop to lighter dumbbells. But those lighter dumbbells are still doing a great job working my glutes and hamstrings. I adored this little lower body finisher!

This workout is done interval fashion: each exercise is done for 40 seconds followed by 20 seconds of recovery. There is a timer in the upper left hand corner of the screen counting down your intervals and recoveries. Caroline previews your next exercise during the recovery. This workout is set to great music, no talking. There is also a little bar at the bottom of the screen that counts down the entire workout time as a percentage. Caroline’s intro is important. Not only does she discuss the structure of the workout but she gives important form tips.

15 Minute Hardworking Hamstrings / RDL Dumbbell Workout is 20:03 minutes; 1:30 minute intro, no warm up and 2:20 minute stretch. Equipment: dumbbells and a fitness mat for the stretch at the end. Caroline is using a set of 15kg/33 pound dumbbells. The weights listed below are what I used.

  1. RDL pausing at bottom (35# DBs)
  2. Repeat #1
  3. Full range RDL (no pause) (35# DBs)
  4. Repeat #3
  5. 1.5 rep RDL (deadlift with one pulse at bottom of deadlift) (30# DBs)
  6. Repeat #5
  7. Pulsing RDL (remain at bottom of deadlift and pulse up slightly—Caroline takes a break half way through this set to reset) (25# DBs)
  8. Repeat #7
  9. Staggered RDL (single leg deadlift) (one 35# DB)
  10. Repeat #9 on other leg
  11. 1.5 rep staggered RDL (one 30# DB)
  12. Repeat #11 on other leg
  13. Pulsing staggered RDL (one 25# DB)
  14. Repeat #13 on other leg


  1. Full range RDL w/ 2 DBs for 20 seconds (35# DBs)
  2. Full range RDL w/ 1 DB for 20 seconds (one 35# DB)
  3. Pulsing RDL w/ 1 DB for 20 seconds (one 35# DB)

For more info on Caroline Girvan’s workouts and other (free) streaming workouts I’ve sampled and reviewed, check out my Streaming page.


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