The Romanian deadlift (RDL) is a compound resistance training exercise to strengthen the hip- and trunk extensors, prepare the athlete for Olympic lifts and enhance pelvis flexibility.
Since the Romanian deadlift activates the hamstrings and erector spinae simultaneously, we can enhance the synergy of the neuromuscular system, body control and coordination.
The RDL is also essential when learning Olympic lifts. Therefore you should include the Romanian deadlift into the preparation- and hypertrophy training phases so that you can progress into more complex exercises and become a powerful athlete.
If you have hamstring flexibility issues then you can use the RDL to enhance range of motion.
Romanian Deadlift Progression
If you use additional weights…make sure you use appropriate resistance so you can control the action throughout the entire range of motion. Otherwise you defeat the purpose of the exercise.
Very often, people use too much resistance and they become sloppy. Especially when it comes to maintaining core stability.
Also, don’t just progress with adding more weight. First, maximize the speed while maintaining perfect form.
Here are the progression levels:
- Beginner: look down during the action
- Advanced: look forward during the action
- Professional: alternating one leg action only
Romanian Deadlift Description
- Position barbell on the rack; add resistance (plates) and attach safety clips; place barbell on the ground
- Take an athletic stance; stand straight, feet are shoulder-width apart; knees slightly flexed; toes point slightly outward (10˚-20˚)
- Use a pronated grip (palms facing down) and place hands just wider than shoulder-width on the bar; take barbell off the rack; stand up straight
- First flex hips (~45˚) to 90˚ (or as far as possible) without additional knee flexion; distribute weight through the heels; keep knees inside shoulders; maintain neutral spine position (push chest out and scapulae [shoulder blades] together; maintain neutral head position [look forward])
- Extend the knees and hips while maintaining neutral spine position and return to starting position
Note: If the athlete has flexibility issues or for teaching purposes, a wider stance is warranted.
If flexion of lumbar spine (rounding of lower back) occurs during hip extension then decrease resistance immediately!
RDL Targeted Musculature
- Erector Spinae
In this section we provide you with some exercises you can use to optimize your training.
The exercises have been grouped and selected based on the major muscle group(s) they target. The prime movers.
The first exercise is a dynamic warm up to increase muscle tissue temperature to prepare you for your workout.
For more info take a look at the benefits of a proper warm up routine.
The second exercise is a free-weight resistance training exercise to strengthen the respective prime movers and improve neuromuscular system efficiency.
Why? Find out more about the purpose of weightlifting for tennis players.
The third exercise is a static stretching exercise you can do following your workout as a cool down to improve flexibility and reduce muscle soreness.
Here is more information on the benefits of static stretching.
- Single Leg Romanian Deadlift Quadriceps Stretch
- Romanian Deadlift
- Hamstrings and Erector Spinae Stretch