The Romanian Deadlift (RDL) is unequalled in increasing the strength in the lower back, hamstrings and the glutes, working the mobility through the hips. The Romanian deadlift, or RDL for short, is probably the most undervalued and underused exercise out there.
The Romanian Deadlift (RDL)
The main focus of the RDL is to maintain the natural curve of your lower back, under load, whilst lowering the bar down your thighs.
You want to start with your feet, hip width apart, picking up the weight with a flat back.
The start position will have you with the bar in your hands in an upright position. Your weight should be on the mid to back of your foot, your chest up, shoulders back (mum had it right all along), abs engaged and your knees soft (slightly bend).
Get a feel for the upper body position here as we don’t want this to change throughout the lift, the tension that we create must remain constant.
Drive your hips as far as you can from your shoulders and stretch through the hamstrings.
As you lower the bar and take the hamstrings into a stretched position they will start to let you know by letting off fireworks. At this point, keep everything as is, and pull the bar up your thighs, squeezing the backside as hard as possible.
Types / Variations of the Romanian Deadlift
Dumbbell Romanian Deadlift
Start with dumbbells in the hands, soft bend in the knee, flat back and move down as far as you can until the stretch reaches the hamstrings, hold for 1 sec.
Split Stance Romanian Deadlift
For the split stance RDL, start with your right leg forward and a soft knee. Your back leg has the left toe in line with the right heel. Hinge your hips with a flat back to pick up your weights.
Starting from the top drive your hips back as far as you can, keep your knees soft, drive your hips forward, stand up tall.
Barbell Romanian Deadlift
Hands at shoulder width on barbell, feet at hip width.
Soften the knees, push your hips back and as high as you can, stretch into the hamstrings.
Single Leg Romanian Deadlift
You can do this RDL using bodyweight, loaded weight or holding onto something for support.
Stand on one leg, soft knee drive the hips back reaching your arm forward, drive the hips through and come up tall.
Banded Romanian Deadlift
We use this to help people with the beginning stages of the RDL, if you are having trouble getting your RDL rhythm, get back to basics.
Snatch Grip Romanian Deadlift
Using a barbell you widen your grip to your hip width for this RDL.
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- Romanian Deadlift (RDL) – The Best Exercise you’re Not Doing
- Why Romanian Deadlift is a Must-Have Exercise for Strength Training
- Perfecting the Deadlift
- RDL for Glutes
- Rectifying RDLs Causing Lower Back Pain