Today I would like to introduce to you the all so under-rated exercise that is the Deadlift’s cousin, the Romanian Deadlift!  And since it has a European country in its name it has to be great doesn’t it?!  This is also known as a stiff legged deadlift, but Romanian sounds so much more bad ass.

Let us start with its basic fundamental function that is the HINGE. As humans we have 7 fundamental movements that create our multi planar movement; Locomotion, Squat, HINGE, Push, Pull, Rotation and Anti-Rotation. The deadlift and any of its variations are strength patterns that reinforce our body’s ability to pick something up. I would like to quickly highly 5 reasons why you should start incorporating the RDL into your programming or training plans.

1. By flexing the hips this far we create a much longer moment arm, in the torso, which forces our posterior chain to take control. Your glutes and hamstrings will almost fully take over and create the force necessary to push back to standing. For strength benefits we see increased posterior core development as well as our all so powerful glutes and not so always developed hamstrings get a little isolation work.

2. The RDL allows us to train our hamstrings ability to decelerate in a controlled environment. This means that we can train eccentrically without the use of plyometrics. How awesome is that!? This is great for both strength training AND rehabilitation purposes. ACL injuries come to mind.

3. The hinge pattern can be heavily loaded. Although a conventional/sumo deadlift will always have a greater load restriction, we are still working with a hinge that can withstand lots of resistance. Therefore we are still attaining the neurological response to strength with the eccentric capabilities of the RDL.

4. The RDL can be loaded in many different ways to attain different results. We can be loaded with a low cable out in front, a Barbell, Dumbbells, Kettle bells, overhead reaching. All of these attack the hip joints and pelvis differently and elicit different responses.

5. Change your platform. First of which would be to drop 1 leg and create a multi planar demand on your hip and pelvis. This happens to be my personal favourite because of its complexity but the rewards of mastering this movement are endless! Hip, knee and ankle stability, posterior chain functional strength, anti-rotaion of the torso, pelvis and hip joint! I could go on and on. Other possibilities are changing the surface to create some instability, again for more rehabilitation purposes, ACL?

Consider adding some of these variations to your programs and let me know your thoughts!


Andrew LoCurto BKin, CSCS, CPT