The Romanian deadlift is a variant of the deadlift, which most weightlifting gym goers are very familiar with. It’s a great exercise for developing two very important muscle groups: your hamstrings and your glutes.
We spoke to Lyanne Hodsonan experienced PT & co-founder of StrongHerto learn all about Romanian deadlifts, how to do them, their benefits and common form mistakes.
The Romanian deadlift is responsible for hitting the back chain, also known as the powerhouse of movement. Basically, anything from the rear just means butt, calves, hamstrings, or back. And in this case, it refers to all the muscles in the back of your body, starting in the traps up to your calves.
Romanian deadlifts are one of the best leg day strength moves to not only help you get over strength plateaus and reach new PBs, but also increase and improve explosiveness, speed, strength and daily hip health. Want to know how to do them in perfect shape? Read more.
How to do a Romanian deadlift?
The main difference between a deadlift and a Romanian deadlift is where the barbell is where you start the movement. A conventional deadlift starts with the bar on the floor, the Romanian deadlift, or RDL, starts with the bar at hip height.
That said, to perform an RDL correctly, the lath must be lifted off the floor in a safe manner. Before you begin, lift the bar without putting pressure on your back, with your feet shoulder-width apart and your toes pointed out. Position the barbell so that it hangs over your shoelaces when you look straight down. In this position, the torso should be upright, arms extended and shoulder blades down. This allows you to “lock” the back and minimize the strain on the neck.
Bend down and grab the bar with a slightly wider than shoulder width grip, making sure to keep your back flat, an easy way to figure this out is to push your chest and butt out, plus shoulders over the bar, and then rise .
This move can also be done with dumbbells. We’ve found the best adjustable dumbbells for weight lifting at home here.
Now to do the Romanian deadlift:
Step 1 — Master the Eccentric Phase (the Lowering Phase)
Once you’ve sat back, imagine being punched in the stomach (to help support your core) and push the hips back as if you were opening a door with your butt. As you do this, slide the barbell or dumbbells down your legs, keeping that back flat. Your torso should ideally be parallel to the floor and the barbells or barbells should hang at shin level. If you do it right, you should feel tension developing in the hamstrings and across the back (lower and middle, especially around the shoulder blades).
Step 2 — Lift with the hips and hamstrings
Once you’re in the bottom position, imagine someone sending an electric shock down your butt and shooting back up.
Step 3 — Achieve Full Hip Extension
Make sure to keep the rib cage down and the glutes active when you reach full extension of the hips.
What are the benefits of Romanian deadlifts?
Romanian deadlifts are great for those who want to improve their hip mobility and train their glutes. So those who prefer squats over all in the gym, these are for you! They can also help strengthen the posterior chain muscles and activate the core.
What are the different variations to try?
You can try many different variations when it comes to Romanian deadlifts. Some of those variations are:
Barbell Romanian Deadlift
Romanian One Leg Deadlift – as the name suggests, this move is often done by holding a dumbbell in one hand and balancing on one leg.
Striped Romanian Deadlift Here’s How To Deadlift With A Resistance Band.
Single Arm Romanian Deadlift
Snatch grip Romanian deadlift
What are some common form errors?
Rounding the lower back
This usually occurs due to a lack of control or awareness by the trunk of the body, or when people try to go lower than their hamstring mobility will allow.
Bar floats away from the body
If you don’t engage your slats and therefore press the bar into your legs, the bar will move away from the center of gravity.
Too much knee flexion
This is also common when a person goes beyond their mobility. But it could also be related to a lack of understanding of pushing the hips back to stretch the hamstrings.
Looking for more training inspiration? This is one of the best exercises to work out your inner thighs, and we’ve found the best abs on YouTube right here. Also read what happened when our fitness editor did 30 sit-ups a day for 30 days.