Deadlifting 101: Romanian Deadlift

A Romanian deadlift can also be known as a straight leg deadlift. It emphasises a lot of tension on the hamstrings and requires you again to be know how to hip hinge properly. When performing a Romanian deadlift there should be no tension within your lower back, if this occurs then there is either: 

  • Too much weight on the bar and your lower back is taking the load as it is too much for you hamstrings to control and contract.
  • You are using your lower back to pull the weight up, rather than driving your hips forward to drive your torso up.

How to setup a Romanian deadlift and perform it effectively:

  • Typically, you would start with the bar on a rack instead of the floor so that you start the movement at a standing position.
  • Foot positing should be near enough the same as a conventional deadlift, with them being around shoulder width apart.
  • To initiate the movement, you want to engage your glutes and core, and slowly let the bar roll down your quads while keeping your legs as straight as possible. Your back should stay neutral while your push your glutes away from you.
  • Once you reach the bottom of the movement (at the point where your legs are still straight, and you can feel your hamstrings stretched) drive your heels into the ground, keeping your back neutral and drive your hips/glutes forward allowing you to pull your torso up. Your back should stay neutral throughout the entire movement and should not flex or extend.
Dumbbell RDL

This exercise can be performed with a barbell, dumbbells, kettlebells or cables, following the same instructions.

If you struggle to feel your hamstrings stretch, or want to get a greater contraction, try elevating your toes while still focusing on driving your heels into the ground.

Reece Halsey

Impact Personal Trainer