Romanian Deadlift: Get It Right And See Some Serious Gains

As you start taking your training seriously, you’re going to start hearing the words “Romanian Deadlift.” The Romanian Deadlift (RDL) is a great exercise that helps people to build and strengthen their “back” area, all the way from the back to the glutes and hamstrings.

If you’ve been looking for an exercise that can help you to achieve amazing results, quickly and effectively, you may want to consider incorporating the RDL into your workout routine. Of course, it will do you no good if you are doing the RDL in the wrong way, and unless you get the technique right, you’ll end up with a lot of pressure on your lower back.

Getting it wrong will just mean you’ll become a lot friendlier with a chiropractor.

To help you progress with the Romanian deadlift, we’ve compiled the best variations, as well as the top ways to implement it into your weight-lifting routine. If what you want is a stronger and better posterior, then the RDL is the thing you need.

How to Do a Basic RDL

The basic RDL will have you using the weight that your coach or trainer deems right for your current goals. The Romanian Deadlift can be done with the bar in the power rack if you want to, but you don’t have to use one.

With your legs relatively straight, bend your knees ever so slightly so that you can lower your bar to them. You’ll want to round your upper back and keep your lower back completely straight. Lift it back up keeping the bar close to your body and get back to a fully standing position.

While this may seem easy at first glance, the RDL requires heavy weights for you to see maximum results in your posterior chain, and you will discover that it’s all about the technique. If you’re going to make use of these more regularly then also make sure you have proper deadlift shoes.

Variations in the RDL

There are a lot of variations of the RDL, and while some are more difficult than others, they do offer added benefits for the weightlifter who is serious about their progress.

We know that there are at least 12 variations of the RDL and many different trainers will have a reason why they suggest a certain type. While there are many different kinds, the following are the basic ones that you could start incorporating into your routines, right away.

One of the variations that is as interesting as it is unique is the:

Staggered RDL with Barbells and Kettlebells

Instead of standing up straight with legs apart, you will stand with one foot in front of the other, imitating a lunge position, but with the legs closer together. You will do the same top to bottom drop as you would with a normal RDL.

The benefits from this variation are good for sports’ athletes, who may need to train specific areas while doing it quickly. The Staggered RDL helps you to train both power and speed, while not having as much effect on the posterior chain as the typical RDL does. You can swap the barbell for two kettlebells, depending on your preference.

Another variation of the RDL is:

Use a trap bar in your RDL

If you have a lot of forward knee movement in your lifts or you are tall, the trap bar allows you to have a bit more room to work with, because of the shape of the trap bar. The neutral position in a trap bar RDL allows you to drop the bar down without having to worry about your knees getting in the way. You can then focus more on your hips being positioned backwards. This type of RDL is often done with other exercises.

An RDL variation often used for athletes is the:

Oscillatory or Dimel deadlifts

This kind of RDL variation is often used by those athletes who have some weak points, as it helps them to increase intensity and volume in their weakest position. This type of strength training helps them those weak points more effectively.

It looks frenetic to the untrained eye, but the rapid pull-push method is actually very important for oscillatory training methods and cueing end-range hip extension.

There are many different variations of the RDL, but these three are enough to give you an idea of the different styles that you can do when hoping to get different results from your exercises. If you have a coach or trainer helping you in your workouts and weight lifting, ask them which type of RDL variation would be best for you.

Why Should You Do The RDL?

As you read about RDLs, you may discover that they are quite challenging. The discipline required in doing them correctly can seem quite overwhelming. But, if many athletes and weight lifters are doing it, maybe there are benefits to bringing the RDL challenge to your life.

If you’re questioning whether you should start incorporating the RDL into your life, the following benefits are just a few that can be gained by doing more RDLs:

  • It will give you that amazing backside that you’ve been hoping for. With the arrival of the Kardashians to our lives, everyone is looking for a way to improve the posterior part of their bodies, and the RDL is actually one of the most effective ways for doing just that. Apart from helping women who want to build a “booty” like Kim, it will help any gender get that perfect brick house backside that is only a part of having a strengthened and toned body.
  • It’s great for strengthening a variety of back muscles. It’s not only helpful for building your glutes; the RDL is beneficial for all the muscles in your back area. From strengthening your lower back to helping you build hamstrings to making that “booty” pop, it’s one of the best options for strengthening your posterior muscles, which is helpful for more than just looking amazing.
  • It’s very helpful for those who are training for weightlifting competitions, as it does a lot for helping you with other techniques as well. Those who are training for competitions may benefit greatly from the discipline and hip-hinge movement gained by doing RDLs. In fact, this type of move was named after an Olympic weightlifter who was the “king” at what he did. So, for those who are looking to improve their heavy lifting, the RDL may be exactly what you need to do just that.
  • It can help you to do deadlifting better. Because the RDL helps you to strengthen certain areas of your body and be able to use them better, it’s actually very helpful in helping you to do deadlifts better. It will help you to be able to lift heavier weight, thanks to the strengthened hamstrings and back you’ll have after doing RDLs.

Why the RDL is Good For Athletes?

If you are an athlete training a specific sport, incorporating RDLs into your exercise can be quite beneficial for your overall sport. Because of the demand for a hip hinge movement in the RDL, it helps you to strengthen your hips and your ability to use them. Many athletes must have strength in their hips for positioning in their sport, whether they are jumping or running, etc.

Also, a stronger posterior means that you get lower back stress and can help to prevent you from an injury that happens from overworking your body and a specific area in your sport, whether it’s golfing or racing, etc.


Now that you understand how RDLs work a bit better, you’ll want to consider using them in your weekly workouts. You don’t have to and probably shouldn’t do them every day in your workouts but doing them a few times a week can help you to strengthen your body and enhance your athletic skill. Plus, who doesn’t want a better backside? Ask your coach or trainer if you should start doing RDLs today.

Hi there, I’m Kate Young and I’m a fitness coach from California, but I now live in Austin. I have been involved in so many different sports over the years, including swimming, running, athletics, gymnastics, rugby (yeas, you read that right), baseball, tennis, and so many more that I have lost count.

I just love competing in sports, but struggled to find the one that I would stick with. So, instead I decided to become a fitness coach as it allows me to work with so many different types of athletes.

I’ve also become heavily involved it diet. The reason for this is that I’ve seen too many athletes fail in their fitness goals because their diet didn’t support it. And I’ve seen just as many people fail in their diets, because their fitness activities weren’t effective.

A lot of my work has involved working up with college tennis teams where I have tailored some endurance type fitness programs. Tennis coaches are great at teaching techniques, but a lot of them struggle with general fitness levels.

And that’s where I come in. On this site I contribute to anything tennis, fitness and diet related, which will help you get to your goals quicker and with more ease. And if you have some very specific questions then why not reach out on one of the social media channels where all of us are very active.

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

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