Have you tried Romanian Deadlifts? Here's what you need to know

Looking for an exercise that can strengthen your core, improve grip strength, and that really works your glutes and hamstrings?


After deadlifting really heavy weight for a year, I’m taking a short break from pulling from the floor and I’m enjoying lots of other exercises.


 (Taking a break from pulling from the floor, but only for a short while!)


One of those exercises is the Barbell Romanian Deadlift, also known as an RDL for short.


 (Be sure to push the hips back as you hinge forward. Chest high, shoulders back and down. Shoulder blades on your back)


I am amazed by the results I’m getting from Romanian Deadlifts. For the past four weeks they’ve been a part of my training program. I perform them with super light weight (45 – 50 lbs) for 3 sets of up to 20 reps. (I started with reps of 15 and gradually increased over the 4 weeks)


These RDL’s work!


Here are some tips:


1. Really push your hips back as you hinge forward. You should feel your hamstrings lengthening (tightening) as you do.


2. Keep your lats engaged, chest high, shoulders back and down, and shoulder blades drawn onto your back.


3. Keep your glutes tight throughout the movement with an extra contraction as you stand back up.


 (Use concentration throughout. For maximum results, use the “OOMPH” Factor)


 Focus on solid form with core stabilization and glute activation. Really pay attention to keeping your torso and arms tight, and be sure to engage your hamstrings and glutes.


(The biggest mistake I see people make with this exercise, is loading the bar with way more weight than ever necessary. If you need to load the bar in order to elicit any type of response, I would recommend taking some time to perform Wall RDL’s with just your body weight until you can really get the glutes to “fire”. If you can’t feel your glutes engage with a mere bodyweight RDL, adding more load will not benefit you. For a how to video of those, click here.)


Start with reps of 10 per set if you haven’t done these before. When performed correctly and with some serious “oomph” factor, these can also bring on some serious muscle soreness, so remember, in the beginning less can be more. 


Here is a sample video:


If you don’t have access to a barbell, you can use a pair of dumbbells instead! For a how to video, click here.


Now get out there!



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Jeannine Trimboli, CEO, real [FIT] life