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RDLs: 4 Quick Fixes

January 10, 2019

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. 

1. UN-RACKING/BRACING

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.

3. HIPS/KNEES

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.

Have questions about a certain exercise? Email us - we'd love to answer your questions!

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