What is a Romanian Deadlift?

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  • Written By: Dan Cavallari
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 28 October 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
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A Romanian deadlift is a type of weight lifting exercise that primarily strengthens the muscles of the leg, especially the hamstrings. It is performed with a barbell that has a significant amount of weight attached to it, and if possible, it should be done with a spotter standing by. Since the Romanian deadlift requires a significant amount of weight to be placed on the barbell, it is a good idea for advanced lifters to use Olympic sized weights, as these set-ups are designed for higher weights than standard bars and weights. Beginners should start with less weight, so a standard bar and weights should be sufficient.

The starting position for a Romanian deadlift is achieved by lifting the weight off the ground and standing with the feet about shoulder width apart. The palms of the hand should face inward toward the body, and the arms should be straight with no bend at the elbows. The shoulders should be straight and not crouched forward, and the back should be in a neutral position. Once this position is achieved, the Romanian dead lift motion starts by bending at the hips while keeping the back straight. The lifter will thrust his hips backward actively, thereby allowing the hamstrings to bear much of the weight.


The lifter will lower the weight until the barbell reaches about the middle of the shins, then he will hold the position briefly. The next motion of the Romanian deadlift will have the lifter returning slowly to the starting position, where he will hold the position momentarily. The motion should be done slowly and deliberately to ensure the muscles get the most benefit out of the motion. Several repetitions of the motion should be done, and each time, the lifter will need to hold the starting and middle positions. Once several repetitions are complete, the lifter should rest for thirty seconds to a minute before attempting another set of Romanian deadlift repetitions.

This exercise can be harmful for people with lower back problems, so it should be avoided or performed under professional guidance only. It may be necessary to wrap the wrists for added stability during this exercise; some specially designed wrist braces are available, and they can be helpful in preventing injury during execution of the Romanian deadlift. If necessary, this exercise can be performed with the weights propped on a raised platform, thereby making the initial setup into the starting position much easier and safer.



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