The Romanian deadlift, often referred to as the RDL, is a staple lift that you will find in many strength and conditioning programs. It is one of the main exercises used to develop and strengthen the posterior chain. The posterior chain muscles that are worked during the RDL are the erector spinae (lower back), glutes, and hamstrings. A healthy and strong posterior chain is crucial for athletic performance and prevention of many injuries. Here are tips on how to warm-up the posterior chain.
Why the RDL?
There are many exercises that strengthen the posterior chain, so why is the Romanian deadlift so good? Not only does it act as the foundation of posterior chain development, but there are many ways to progress and modify the RDL with varying stances and equipment.
The most common form is the barbell RDL but dumbbells, kettlebells, medicine balls, bands and other equipment can be used to great effect as well. This is a very flexible movement that is relatively easy to implement and use within our programs.
Executing the RDL
Shown in the video are some of the many ways that we use equipment to implement the RDL into our programs and coaching cues that we use to teach it.
Like any exercise, the key to achieving optimal results is proper execution of the lift. Therefore, we need to be able to coach and educate our athletes on how to perform the lift correctly. Below are simple steps which can be used to teach the RDL.
- Start with feet shoulder-width apart, toes forward, and the bar resting on thighs.
- Keep chest out, shoulders back, and back straight.
- Push hips back to lower the load as far as possible while maintaining a straight, neutral back and braced core.
- Keep the bar in contact with your thighs.
- Use glutes and hamstrings to stand upwards.
- Hips should come all the way through to finish.
- Keep knees slightly unlocked
- Stop at a point that is comfortable to you
- Stay light on your toes
- Snatch grip helps keep the bar in tight
- Avoid arching your back
Coaching the RDL
The romanian deadlift is a simple yet effective lift which can be used to increase muscular hypertrophy, increase hip, hamstring, and low back health, and prevent the risk of injury. The posterior chain is essential for healthy and strong athletes and should therefore not be neglected. There are many ways to implement and coach the RDL so it’s important to find ways that work for you and the program that you are a part of.
The 2009 Strength and Conditioning Professional of the Year, Jeff is in his 16th year at Winona State University as Strength and Conditioning/ Director of Fitness. He is responsible for 10 Division II teams. Previously he was the head strength and conditioning coach for Olympic sports at Iowa State University, an assistant at the University of Memphis, and an assistant at the US Olympic training center in Colorado. Reinardy was part of two men’s basketball national championships in three appearances, numerous conference championships, and several individual national champions at both the Division I and II levels. He also holds club coach and sports performance certifications through USA Weightlifting, and is the former ADFPA American Squat record holder in the 148 weight class and four Minnesota state ADFPA championships.