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How to do a Romanian Deadlift in 6 Easy Steps

How to Do a Romanian Deadlift in 6 Easy Steps

A Romanian Deadlift is an excellent exercise to do but a difficult one to learn. You want to be able to perform a Romanian Deadlift in the correct way before enforcing incorrect movement patterns. Doing the exercise incorrectly can also put unnecessary strain on your back and hamstrings.

Follow these 5 points listed below and you’ll be doing them in no time!

1. Learn the 3 points of contact

Grab your nearest weighted bar, broom handle, any sort of straight stick and hold it in line with your spine.

The 3 points of contact should be…

  • your lower spine
  • between your shoulder blades
  • the back of your head

(I find it helps if you hold the stick/bar in the small of your back where a natural arch forms so your hands aren’t in the way of the bar touching you)

Now, tilt your torso forward with those 3 points of contact remaining on the bar. Harder than it looks! Keep practising.

2. Focus on the hamstrings and glutes

Deadlifts and deadlift variations are all posterior chain exercises meaning they’re intended to target muscles in the back of your body.

Focus on your hamstrings (back of your legs) and glutes (bum muscles) as well as the erectors (muscles either side of the spine in your lower back).

Sometimes when individuals first start training it’s more about the central nervous system taking note of what you’re trying to do. But if you never feel it in the right place, it’s worth trying to make sure the hamstrings are fired up with some good slow tempo warm-ups.

“Any Romanian Deadlift and variants are not squats, so it will be in your favour to learn the difference and practice it.”

3. Know the difference between a squat movement and a hip hinge

You need to hinge at the hips! Any Romanian Deadlift and variants are not squats, so it will be in your favour to learn the difference and practice it.

I’ve actually had clients go straight from one exercise to the other to make sure they know how to switch from one to the other and improve proprioception (body awareness).

You need to be able to bend forward at the hips and not compromise your back rounding.

4. Soft knees!

It makes me feel a little bit sick when people do a hip hinge exercise with locked out knees, you’re just asking for an injury. It’s very much an old school bodybuilder style of doing this movement but just like shoulder pads and giant mobile phones, they need to stay in the 80s.

You want to make sure it’s a contraction rather than a weighted stretch and you’ll get much more out of it. Locked out knees also make it much more difficult to keep a flat back!

5. Perfecting the lockout

It makes me feel a little bit sick when people do a hip hinge exercise with locked out knees, you’re just asking for an injury. It’s very much an old school bodybuilder style of doing this movement but just like shoulder pads and giant mobile phones, they need to stay in the 80s.

You want to make sure it’s a contraction rather than a weighted stretch and you’ll get much more out of it. Locked out knees also make it much more difficult to keep a flat back!

5. Perfecting the lockout

At the top of the movement, there’s a fine line between locking out with the body in line and hyperextension of the hips.

You don’t want the latter! It will cause tension in the wrong places.

Bring your hips to the bar and squeeze the glutes. If you can push your hips forwards you need to learn to slow things down and stop at the right point.

Movement patterns are hard to change but keep it up!

“If you do a Romanian Deadlift with a very lightweight for the purpose of ‘toning’ you’re fighting a losing battle.”

6. Pick an appropriate weight

If you do a Romanian Deadlift with a very lightweight for the purpose of ‘toning’ you’re fighting a losing battle.

For example, if you can do 20+ reps with a weight that you’re doing 3 sets of 10 reps with, you need to go heavier.

On the other hand, there are those that go too heavy. If you’re back is rounding take the weight down or try a different piece of equipment.

If you’ve been using a bar maybe a trap bar or dumbbells would be better. Or vice versa.

That’s it! Let me know how you get on.

If you’ve found any of these tips helpful please let me know and share with your gym buddy!

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