Perfecting the Romanian Deadlift

Mj 618_348_the perfect romanian deadlift
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When it comes to the deadlift, the conventional method is viewed as the be-all, end-all in terms of application and effectiveness. That's why its Romanian counterpart so often gets passed over. That's a mistake. Deadlifts are typically regarded as the best movement to train the posterior chain (the muscles on the back of your body; especially the glutes, hamstrings, and lower back). Bending the knees less – as the Romanian deadlift requires – actually encourage more posterior activation.

The problem is that Romanian deadlifts generally are a little more technical than conventional deadlifts – requiring more flexibility in the hamstrings, and more mobility at the hip joint.

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To get the mobility you need, first try this: Take a dowel or broomstick, and hold it behind the back, length-wise, while standing tall. Your head, upper back, and butt should all be touching the dowel, and your lower back and neck should not. Maintaining all of the points of contact, "hinge" your body forward to simulate a deadlift pattern. Make sure the points of contact stay intact. Return to the start position and repeat for 10 reps. If you can't do this, keep practicing the movement until it's easy.

The main difference between the physics and technique of a Romanian deadlift is that it requires straighter legs used in the Romanian deadlift. Otherwise, the bar path and set up should be identical. That can get tricky, so watch the video below for a detailed description on what to think about when doing a deadlift. A good set of Romanian deadlift's should look like this (video). Here are a few extra points to remember as you lift.

• The bar should travel in a straight line. Keeping the feet under the bar, high hips, and shoulders on top of the bar will help this to stay consistent.

• Avoid pulling with a rounded back. This will risk injury. Work on the dowel hinge pattern in order to create greater mobility.

• Try not to lift in bulky shoes. Vibrams or Chuck Taylors do the trick – if not, just stick to bare feet.

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