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RDL Relative to DL


In 'Starting Strength', Rippetoe says most people should be able to do the RDL with 65-75% of their deadlift 1RM and that it should be done for 5-10 reps. Do you think he's saying that a 5-10 rep set of RDLs should be done with 65-75% of your deadlift max or that a 1RM RDL should be roughly 65-75% of a deadlift 1RM? If the former, then a 500lb deadlift would mean a 375lbx5 RDL, whereas the latter would convert to only 335lbx5 using the Maurice-Rydin rep conversion formulae.


I think he's saying the former, that a 65-75% of deadlift 1rm can be used for 5-10 reps.

I'm thinking this as he uses the 1rm comparison for a lot of things, like one should be able to rack pull a 1rm deadlift for 5 reps.

Don't take it too seriously though, as its really just a rule of thumb to start finding a good working weight.

This really is the minutea of what you should be concerning yourself with.


Thanks for the reply.


My best 6 rep max on RDL's is 655. My best pull is 810. Thats almost 81% so, I dont know what to tell you. That percentage range might be relative to strength levels. Plus, I would assume most people wouldnt find a true rep max on RDL's... because it is awful.


Awful as in poor exercise or awful as in uncomfortable because its effective? Sorry if thats a dumb question but sometimes sarcasm over the internet doesnt connect.


I'm voting "awful as in uncomfortable because it's effective".

I get excellent returns from RDL's, but I still dread doing them. It's always seemed like a very... vulnerable movement to me. I say that because I feel like I'm on the verge of injuring something while doing them, even though I've never had any kind of injury.

It's strange, I feel as though I have to concentrate more while doing RDL's than when I do conventional deadlifts. It's worth it though.


Rule #1 always start lighter and live to train another day.



Took me a long time and many tweaks, pulls, nagging injuries to learn this one.


Yes sir; no such thing as a casual RDL workout.


on the same subject as RDLs, how far do y'all do down for these? ive always gone down to a few inches below the knees


Awful as in they literally feel awful. Finding a true rep max or single max on RDL's is probably the most brutal lift ever. I have noticed the harder I push the weight on RDL's the better my deadlift gets. I have weak glutes though so, maybe thats why.


You go as low as your flexibility allows. If you're doing it right, your hams will tell you what is low enough, unless you have great ham flexibility and you can reach the floor.

Slight knee bend, push the butt back.

This vid has good form.


that's good form? the bar's like a foot away from him


That's what I was thinking. I don't know how he can do that.

With RDL's, you'll know you're doing them right if you can feel a great stretch in your hamstrings while doing them. The low back shouldn't have too much to do with the lift.


My best RDL is 495x7 elevated standing on 3 plates. My best pull off the floor is 606x1 RAW. Yay!