Romanian Deadlift

Romanian Deadlift Explained 2018 (Updated July 2019)

What is the Romanian Deadlift?

It is one of the best exercises for building the muscles on the backside of the body. These muscles are the ones used for speed, jumping and all other athletic skills. The Romanian deadlift helps to increase mobility in the hips area because they encourage straighter leg position and they work on the glutes   and hamstrings more than any conventional deadlift

The name was derived in the 1990s after an Olympic weightlifter from Rome called Nicu Vlad came to San Francisco to demonstrate an exercise that incorporated both the conventional deadlift and a stiff leg he did not have a name for it then a US Olympic weightlifting coach suggested that they call it the Romanian deadlift

The helps to improve flexibility especially in the lower back area and hamstring and it tends to focus more on the hip hinge which is a very essential movement pattern every athlete must learn and master it

It is an easy program to learn and lead because it can you develop your glutes, hamstrings, back, and forearms and when it is performed correctly it is a very safe method

It is a nice method because athletes can choose a number of different variations and they include; the single leg Romanian deadlift, the dumbbell Romanian deadlift, and the trap bar Romanian deadlift.

The Romanian deadlift targets the posterior chains which are the groups of muscles and they include;

They also target the smaller muscles like the rhomboids, teres the major and minor and serratus posterior. The training of major muscles groups such as the biceps, calves, and quads makes it one of the best exercises you can do while training because it lets you train many muscles without the risk of injury

This weight lifting program can be done by both men and women and this deadlift can deliver the maximum muscle but they require a good technique or they can be dangerous and cause injuries.

Romanian Deadlift Variations

The Dumbbell Romanian deadlift is whereby you use a pair of dumbbells instead of a barbell and it is a good variation because it allows your shoulders to be in a more natural position but the only disadvantages are that in this people cannot lift as much weight that when using a barbell.

Single leg Romanian deadlift it is one of the most challenging variations because it requires you to balance on one leg when descending and it tends to work well for people who have good balancing skills and want a good range of motion out of every rep and it helps to prevent you from using one leg more than the other and can be a very beneficial tool for fixing and preventing muscle imbalances.

The trap bar Romanian deadlift this is a nice alternative for people who do not have lower body mobility because it does not require much hip and ankle mobility to reach the bar and does not strain the spine area.

Ways of doing the Romanian Deadlift better

  • Have to ensure that you lift heavy weights
  • Have to ensure that you increase your grip strength
  • Have to ensure that you incorporate straps to help you be able to pull up more weight
  • As an athlete, you have to wear the right shoes to provide a stable surface for balancing and support especially when carrying heavy loads
  • To improve your hip mobility

These are Three Steps of a Proper Romanian Deadlift

From the rack- Ensure that the bar you want to use is below then to hold it at the top of the movement or about mid-thigh

From the floor – You have to load the bar the same way you would when you are setting up a conventional deadlift.

These two starting positions are okay but many people prefer starting it from the rack because it tends to be a bit easier to load it from the bar and it does not require you to waste your energy when pulling the bar off the floor

Step 1 – Walk up to the bar and ensure that it is over your midfoot, then position your feet about your shoulder width apart then grip the bar and take a deep breath of air and raise your chest and press your upper arms into your sides

Step 2- Lift the bar off the floor then take one step back and bend your knees a bit then lower the bar down ten feet in front of you allow your butt to move backward as the bar descends. Ensure that your knees are of the same angle as you  started it when your hamstrings feel stretched you can slightly bend in your knees do not lower the bar to the ground because if you do so it might reduce the tension in the hamstrings area and it defeats the purpose of doing this exercise

Step 3-  Continue to keep your back tight, chest up and knees slightly bent, drive your hips forward then pull the bar straight back up


  • The dumbbells are cast in one solid piece with strong resistance to deformation and wear
  • Has a vinyl coat which helps to protect the floor and reduce noise
  • It has an ultra-smooth handle that provides ample space and protects your hands from freezing
  • It has a hex plate for stability
  • The deadlift bars are zinc plated to protect against rust and are made of solid steel
  • The deadlift bar has a weight capacity of 1000 pounds and can easily accommodate two plates


It helps to increase the hamstrings, glutes and lower back hypertrophy and ensure that you get a full range of motion while minimizing potential injuries because of the lighter loads used.

Helps to increase the positional strength of the lower back, hips, and hamstrings by offering Olympic weightlifting applications

It helps to increase deadlift performance by ensuring this movement is a great accessory to develop strong pulls

It helps to increase all the muscles involved in movements and enhance movement patterning and also help resist injury caused by lower back stress or dysfunctional loading

Helps to teach proper hip function build positional awareness and strength to prevent injuries

Provides the strength required to prevent lower back pain


When you do an improper technique during a deadlift you can injure your lower back and create chronic pain.

One can injure their spine when you place a lot of pressure when performing a deadlift

The vertebrae at the top of the back when they are strained they may herniate

How to do the Romanian Deadlift

Example 1

Hold the bar at hip level with your palms facing down and ensure your shoulders are back and the back should be arched and your knees should be slightly bent and this will be your starting point. Lower the bar down by moving your butt back as far as you can and ensure you keep the bar close to your body while your head looking forward and your shoulders back. When done correctly you should be able to reach maximum range in your hamstring flexibility just below the knee. At the bottom of your range of motion return to the starting position by driving your hips forward to stand up tall

Example 2

Load a barbell and stand with your feet shoulder width apart, toes forward and the barbell running over your shoelaces. Bend down and grab the bar with a slightly wider than shoulder-width grip and bend the knees. Push the hips back while maintaining a flat back and use glutes and hamstrings to stand upwards keeping the barbell close to the body. At the top of the movement contract the upper back, core, and glutes by flexing from the middle at the back to the glutes. Lower the barbell the same way and repeat for repetitions

Example 3

Grab a pair of dumbbells one in each arm and place to the sides and in front of the body and ensure that your torso is upright and your arms are straight. With the feet about shoulder width apart unlock the knees slightly to allow a smooth lowering of the weight then push your hips back making sure your back is flat and the knees are positioned over the ankles use your glutes and hamstrings to stand upwards ensuring that the dumbbells get lifted in a vertical path then contract the upper back, core, and glutes by flexing from the middle of the back to the buttocks. Repeat for repetitions


It is a highly beneficial movement for every athlete and can be used to suit the needs and goals of the athlete by educating them on how to build functional strength and generating carryover in their day to day lives.

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