The Romanian Deadlift is a fantastic exercise to build up the hamstrings, glutes and spinal erectors. The posterior chain is often an area that’s weak for a lot of people. A benefit of the RDL is that it teaches people how to lift from the hips instead of using the lower back. Back pain is often associated with not using the hips properly when lifting things.
The two big differences from the RDL and the deadlift is, the deadlift starts on the floor while the RDL starts from the top. The other is the RDL uses very little quadriceps because the knees start off unlocked, but nearly straight and stays that way throughout the movement.
How to do a Romanian Deadlift
- If possible, start the exercise from a rack. If that’s not an option, deadlift the bar off the floor to get in the starting position.
- Use a double overhand grip with your hands just outside shoulder-width apart. Unlock the knees to allow a slight bend in the knees. This bend slight bend will be maintained throughout the reps.
- Feet should be hip-width with the bar resting on your thighs. Lift your chest and pull your shoulder blades down. Keep your neck in a neutral position. You’ll end up looking towards the floor as you lower the weight.
- The weight is lowered by hinging at the hips. You push your hips back, but don’t bend the knees. This is a common mistake. Your knees shouldn’t go forward at all and should go back slightly. Use your lats to pull the bar against your thighs, the bar should stay in contact with your legs all the way down.
- Think hips back, knees slightly back and shoulder forward.
- You lower until tension is felt in the hamstring while still being able to maintain your back position. For most people, this is around the knee to mid-shin. It will vary from person to person. Don’t try and go too deep that you end up bending your knees, or rounding your back. Your backing shouldn't round at all. Keep your spine long throughout the movement.
- To stand back up, push both heels into the floor, pull back on the knees and push the hips forward. The barbell should end in up in the start position in front of the thighs.
- People often bend from the spine instead of the hips. This can cause injury to the lower back. Ensure the movement comes from pushing your hips back, and not by rounding your back
- It’s common to bend the knees instead of using the hips. Think knees back,
- Looking in the mirror. This can strain the cervical spine. Keep your neck in a neutral position and look towards the floor as you hinge at the hips.