The Romanian deadlift (RDL) may be a useful exercise for strengthening and developing the gluteal muscles and hamstrings.1 This exercise is specific to maximal speed sprinting and useful as an accessory lift to the traditional deadlift and squat.2 The RDL is a hip hinging exercise, and I have found it useful for the rehabilitation of a variety of injuries.
How to Perform
- Stand with a barbell held at arm’s length in front of the body.
- Feet should be approximately hip width apart and feet facing forward or slightly toed out
- Hinge at the hip while maintaining the natural curve in the lumbar spine. As an internal cue think of pushing the buttocks toward the wall behind you.
- There should be a slight bend in the knees during the lift.
- The hamstrings limit the range of motion of this exercise.
- When the end range has been reached, return to the starting position by contracting the glutes and hamstrings.
Application of This Exercise
Cosmetic – The RDL is useful for developing the hamstrings and glutes.
Performance – If progressive resistance is used, this may translate into improvements in the performance of activities involving hip extensions, such as sprinting or jumping.
Make sure you are able to hinge properly at the hip before adding resistance. Most experienced trainees tend to handle fairly heavy weights.