T Nation

Quick RDL Question

Hey Coach,

Should I let my shoulders protract forward on RDLs or try to keep them retracted (or somewhere in between)? I tend to lose focus and wind up with my shoulders protracted by the end of my sets. Thanks!

I do both depending on my goal.

When I do what I call a “Yates deadlift” or “upper back deadlift” I let the shoulder blades protract at the bottom and focus on retracting them when I’m going up. This is to increase upper back stimulation.

I wrote about it here:


The more traditional RDL would keep the upper back neutral (not retracted, not protracted) which improves your capacity to keep it neutral in other movements and might make it a bit easier to focus on the posterior chain because there are less different moving parts to focus on during the concentric phase.


Awesome. Thanks for the explanation!