T Nation

Help with My RDLs

Hey little buddies,

Im in the process of fixing up my lower back issues and in my program I have included RDLs. I havent done these for awhile. Im planning to do them for reps, using lightweight with the barbell.

I tried them today and I could not get any further than my knees. My form felt a little off as-well.

Please point out the cues and any tips you use for RDLs. Is there any need to work on my flexibility of my hamstrings , or will that develop itself as I do the exercise?

Uncle Bird.


just go as far as your flexibility allows. If that means stopping at your knees then that’s where you stop.

As for cues, one that I really like (that I stole from Mike Robertson) is to keep your knees “soft”.

Also, a personal trainer friend of mine teaches the hip hinge by getting people to stand in front of a wall and push their hips back until their ass touches it. Might be worth a try, it’s good for teaching neutral spine which is probably what you need if you have back problems.

The one thing I would emphasise with Romanian Deadlifts is that it is a hip hinge. The entire movement is done with the bending of the hips and not the back. Keep your chest out for the entire lift.
Initiate the lift by forcing your arse back as far as it can go and just let the bar slide down your legs.

Tight hamstrings will limit how far down you can go but that doesn’t really matter as long as you maintain good form. After a while the exercise itself will lengthen your hamstrings. Don’t try and force the bar lower though or you will start rounding your back and this is not the object of the exercise.

Start out light and use reps around 5-7. As you get the hang of it you will quickly be adding more an more weight but always focus on using your glutes and hamstrings and not your back.

Video would help.

Angus- thanks for that. I will be practising light weight after most sessions.

Fuzzy- Ill see what I can do. Im not in the good books with my gym at the moment, so I dont want to be runiing around with a camera atm.


Did you try doing them from a box under a pullup bar?

But yes, I second Angus. Hold the bar in front of you, and push your hips back to lower the bar. Don’t think of the movement as bending over. Stop when your lower back starts to round.