T Nation

Difference Between Deads?

Could someone explain the difference in execution of deadlifts and romanian deads?

A deadlift is done from the floor. You drive from the legs and hips. This hits the entire body from your calves to your traps.

A Romanian deadlift is the same thing as a stiff-legged deadlift. Meaning, you normally start at the top of the lift (standing with slight bend in knees). You bend forward at the hips by thrusting your ass/hips as far back as you can while keeping the slight bend in your knees and a good arch in your lower back (no rounding of the back). This way, it targets the hamstrings and glutes.

There are photos of both all over the forum in numerous training articles.

In brief:

Normal Deadlifts:
Hips down, grab the bar, stand up.
Return the bar to the ground in the same manner. Check out Ian King’s Top 10 Mass Makers article for a good description.


Romanian Deadlifts:
Start out the same as normal deads, but lower the bar like you would for a straight-legged deadlift.
Don Alessi’s 20 Pounds of Untapped Muscle article has a description of romanian deads:


Christian Thibaudeau’s Violent Variations has a good picture of the lowering (eccentric) position for romanian deads.


Also, check out the book by Dan John as he has a chapter on RDL there.

Whether you start from the ground or not isn’t the differentiating factor between these lifts - it’s the amount of knee bend at the lowest point of the lift.

You can do deadlifts with knee flexion anywhere from (almost) fully straightened legs as in a straight legged deadlift, through to a conventional deadlift where the knees are almost 90 degrees bent. Romanian deadlift is in between.

Thanks for the info guys. I’ve seen pic’s before but could never really see the difference.

Great links- thanks for your time.