The Romanian deadlift – sounds like the most intimidating exercises in the book. I must say most weight training exercises don’t sound that pretty. I totally get, it can be an intimidating move and rightly so. It is one of my favourite exercises in the book because when performed correctly, results are incredible. Want sexy tones legs? Not only is this the perfect little peach maker – it works your core too!
Excellent for developing strength and muscle growth the RDL is fabulous for our posterior chain. For those that don’t know what the posterior chain is, I am talking your behind stuff. Legs, bum the lot. Whether you strive to achieve a great physique, better squat, run faster or jum higher the RDL will help you get there.
Often shortened to RDL, this exercise hits the low back, glutes and hamstrings.
One of the greatest mistakes made when trying to perform this exercise, is that often people perform a squat like movement and bend the knees too much. The movement is what we call a ‘hip-hinge’ movement. Rather than sitting down at the hips, we tilt them and push our bum back If you know how to perform a kettle bell swing (correctly) it is a fairly similar movement at the hips). It is one of the hardest exercises to master, with lots to think of. The concept of a neutral spine, keeping the weight on the hips and loading the hips by pushing them back can be tricky to master as well as to coach!
Key teaching points as below:
- Pick up the barbell shoulder width-grip apart and stand up fully
- Rest the bars against the thighs
- As you lower the bar, allow the hips to tilt and sit back and the torso to drop down keeping the back in a neutral position.
- Knees should bend slightly but the shins should remain vertical.
- Keep the chest up and shoulders back
- Keepign the bar close to legs at all times, as it reaches just below the knees reverse the motion using a hip hinge and bring the torso back up to the standing position.
Common mistakes made:
The proper alignment of the head and neck is critical while lifting, especially in posterior chain dominant lifts such as the RDL. The chin should be tucked in slightly and the neck in neutral alignment with the rest of the torso – not looking out in-front of you in the mirror! Often where people go wrong is the chest position. We need to keep our chest up, without extending the neck excessively.
The lower back should be neutral with a slight curve. This is key to ensuring we really work the hammies. Try not to increase your arch or let your back round into flexion.
The knees should bend slightly. Too much flexion ( bending) and you won’t hit your hamstrings effectively. Too little and it becomes a stiff leg deadlift with more risk of lower back injury.
Feet should be pointed straight forward, hip-width apart and the weight should be shifted towards the heels.
You can use different rep ranges depending on goals. Usually it is better to perform them in middle rep range due to its demanding nature. If you go to heavy to quickly form can be compromised and injuries may occur.