Abstract The theoretical potential energies and level spectra are reported for odd-mass Ru, Pd and Cd nuclei. The potential energy is calculated by taking into account the blocking effect. The level spectra are obtained by considering a collective and an intrinsic degree of freedom, where the motion of an unpaired quasiparticle in Nilsson's deformed orbital is coupled by a Coriolis force with the rotational motion. For all the nuclei investigated here, the ground state spin-parity and the presence of many even-parity states and of the ccase11 2 − isomeric state are well reproduced by the model. The possible existence of shape isomeric states is suggested.