Traditional Romanian deadlifts are a complex movement that can often have a hard time feeling natural. Most people find it difficult to keep the hips and knees over their heels, make sure the back stays neutral, and maintain good form. However, many people also don’t realize why this is so complicated for them to do. The truth is that most people go through their whole lives with bad posture and limited mobility because of the way they walk, run, sit down to start squatting or dying earlier than they need too by defaulting into a less powerful hip-driven movement pattern.
The Romanian Deadlift has been gaining popularity due to it’s ability to improve not just your mobility but also your power as well as strengthen your glutes, lower back, and hamstrings. This makes the Romanian Deadlift a great exercise to strengthen your posterior chain while also improving your mobility at the same time.
So why is this such a powerful exercise? There are several reasons, but we will focus on three: Building power in your hips, using a full range of movement, and understanding where to place the weight.
One of the best ways to build power in your hips is to learn how to use them properly. This is made possible through proper mobility and strength at the hips and back to keep them in their proper place. The fact that you are getting a full range of movement even though you are outside of your normal limitations makes this a very useful exercise.
Now that we know some basic facts about the Romanian Deadlift, let’s discuss how to actually do them correctly:
How to Do the Romanian Deadlift Correctly:
1) Place your feet at hip-width apart with your toes pointing outwards. If your balance is compromised when you first try this exercise, you can always place a little bit of weight on the balls of your feet to help you get started. Once you are comfortable with the movement, you can start lifting the weight more with your heels until your feet are flat.
2) Keeping everything directly over the middle of your feet, look down at your feet and make sure that both knees track in over your toes. Make sure to keep everything locked in and your body tight.
Learn about Getting Started in Deadlift Competitions
3) Next, make sure you are taking a big breath into your stomach to have your diaphragm and core muscles relaxed. Make sure to breathe consistently throughout the whole lift. This is important for maintaining good form and proper breathing patterns of your body as well as keeping your blood pressure low. Breathing incorrectly can force you into a bad position which causes bad posture, spinal compression, and improper movement patterns later in life.
4) Now that you are braced and ready, begin to pull yourself down towards the bar by pushing your hips backwards. Don’t lean forward or out of alignment at all; keeping everything tight is your first priority. Make sure that you keep your chest up high with your shoulders relaxed, and make sure not to over-arch your back too much as it can collapse at this time.
5) Pull yourself down to the bar staying in alignment and keeping your strength centered in your hips. You should not be leaning forward, or out of alignment at all, and pulling the weight apart from you with your arms. This can cause injury.
6) Lower yourself until you are just above the floor but not touching it and hold that position for a second. Now, inhale as you pull yourself back up to standing position. If a half-rep causes pain or injury, make sure to stop doing them altogether. In the beginning, you should perform 15 reps on each side. This can be increased later on.
7) When you have mastered the movement, try lowering it down again until you are at about half-depth. Then lower it back down for another rep. It may be best to do this with a lighter weight than what you would normally lift. This way, you will form a stronger mind-muscle connection for your lifting and get out of your comfort zone on occasion.
8) Romanian Deadlifts can be performed with dumbbells and barbells, but make sure that you are only using the weight that is appropriate for you. If you are just starting out, it may be best to stick with body weight for the time being. You can also use a bar that is too low for you, causing your body to tilt forward and put you in a less-effective position. The higher the bar, the more stability and leverage you have, but if you want to be safe, stick with a standard height bench.
9) Try performing movements such as squats and lunges to further strengthen your posterior chain while adding additional power and mobility benefits at the same time. Practice these two exercises alongside your Romanian Deadlifts until they become second nature to you.
10) You can also do leg raises while standing after you have finished the Romanian Deadlift. This can help you to stabilize your hips, lower back, and hamstrings in the finished position and make it easier for you to maintain proper alignment during this lift. This will keep things tight and strong at the same time.
11) Once you have mastered traditional Romanian Deadlifts, try other variations such as Zercher squats with a barbell or dumbbells to add more intensity and depth to your workout. This will allow you to keep your balance and maintain a stronger mind-muscle connection with your working muscles.
12) Remember that it is not about how much weight you can lift, but rather how controlled you are with the weight that you lift. Your body is an investment and this exercise will help you to minimize risk of injury as well as strengthen the foundation of your power and mobility for years to come.
In conclusion, the Romanian Deadlift is a great exercise for improving your strength and mobility at the same time. It also helps you to build up power in your hips, which will help you to excel in a number of other sports as well, making it a great investment for your future.