It could be argued that Romanian Deadlifts (RDLs) are an even better posterior chain exercise than Conventional Deadlifts for one simple reason: there’s less quad recruitment (since you start from the hang position instead of the floor). Beyond that, they improve dynamic flexibility and help you develop a strong and stable core, and who doesn’t want that?!
Now that you’re sold on the benefits of RDLs, let’s make sure you’re doing them correctly.
Un-racking the bar is just like breaking inertia in the deadlift - you need to be braced!
- Make sure your legs are in contact with the bar BEFORE you un-rack it.
- Fill your lungs, push against your abdominal wall, back, and pelvic floor simultaneously - try to create as much pressure as possible in your abdominal cavity - in all three directions.
- Pack your shoulders/squeeze down and back (this will help keep the bar close).
2. FOOT POSITION
This isn’t a squat… so you need to do things differently.
- Your feet should be hip-width apart (or slightly more narrow).
- Toes should be pointed straight ahead (NOT turned out).
- Your entire foot should maintain contact with the floor at all times.
Your knees are the key to making sure your hips stay in the correct position.
- Initiate the movement by UNLOCKING YOUR KNEES (don’t “bend”, just unlock) and SLIDING YOUR HIPS BACK.
- As you lower the weight, try to maintain a vertical shin angle, but DO NOT completely straighten your legs!
- If you’re having trouble maintaining a vertical shin angle, try this: during both the descent and ascent, try PUSHING YOUR KNEES BACK (pushing back will help you maintain a VERTICAL shin angle… so your hips will stay back/in the correct position).
4. RANGE OF MOTION/BAR PATH
Shoulders should always remain slightly higher than your hips and the bar should remain close (your lumbar will thank you).
- You’ll want to stop a few inches below the knee, even if you have the flexibility to go much lower!
- If you can’t make it to the knee without rounding your back/unpacking your shoulders, stop before reaching depth.
- The bar should make contact with your legs on the way down and on the way up.