T Nation

Stiff-Leg Vs. Romanian Deads

I’ve been trying to do Romanian Deads as part of my routine, but I don’t really feel it much in my hamstrings, and my grip seems to go before I even get any decent posterior chain workout.

On the other hand, when I use the stiff-leg dead, I feel it almost exclusively in my hams, but I’m not sure if I’m doing them right, or if what I thin are stiff-legs, are more like Romanian.

Here is a video of a while back when I was doing stiff leg deads:

[video]67[/video]

I have a very slight bend in my knees, but my arms (and the weight) don’t go forward as much as I’ve seen demonstrated for a stiff-leg dead.

When I do Romanian deads, there is a little more bending in my knees, and the bar only goes about an inch past my knees before I go back up.

My question is, does it look more like stiff-leg deads or Romanian deads in the video?

And, is anyone else finding that they aren’t getting much of a workout from Romanian deads?

[quote]SWR-1240 wrote:
My question is, does it look more like stiff-leg deads or Romanian deads in the video? [/quote]

It’s 85% stiff-leg deads.

I get a great ham workout workout from RDLs.

I would call that a Romanian DL, you are going a little lower than I typically would though. For a stiff legged DL, you should really aim to maximize your range of motion. You will need to stand on a box to do this. Try to touch your toes.

I would suggest you continue with what you’re doing in the video (Romanians), but up the weight alot, and maybe decrease the rom a bit. What is your max DL? For romanians I will go up to about 75% of my max dl for sets of 5.

Yeah Romanian for sure.
Allow only 10 degrees of flexion at the knee (as in 170 degree angle) and try and initiate the movement from the hips only. Think about really pushing the hips backwards, then pulling them in keeping the bar as close to your thighs and shins as possible. I really encourage people to only go to mid shin and try a slower eccentric phase possibly with a pause at the bottom. Squeeze the glutes and make them do all the work whilst really keeping the shoulder blades pulled together tight. Maintain a natural cervical and lumbar curve throughout the movement…
Hope this helps…

[quote]tedro wrote:
I would call that a Romanian DL, you are going a little lower than I typically would though. For a stiff legged DL, you should really aim to maximize your range of motion. You will need to stand on a box to do this. Try to touch your toes.

I would suggest you continue with what you’re doing in the video (Romanians), but up the weight alot, and maybe decrease the rom a bit. What is your max DL? For romanians I will go up to about 75% of my max dl for sets of 5.[/quote]

Okay, thanks. That’s not good for back when I thought that was a stiff-leg, but it’s good to know that I’ll be able to use that as Romanians, with a little adjustment to my form.

When I looked up the difference in their forms, I started to question which one I was doing before.

What I’ve been doing lately is more like the top half of a dead, and although I was trying to push my hips back, I think I was bending too much at my knees lately, and that’s why it wasn’t as effective in my hamstrings.

Thanks!

[quote]stockzy wrote:
Yeah Romanian for sure.
Allow only 10 degrees of flexion at the knee (as in 170 degree angle) and try and initiate the movement from the hips only. Think about really pushing the hips backwards, then pulling them in keeping the bar as close to your thighs and shins as possible. I really encourage people to only go to mid shin and try a slower eccentric phase possibly with a pause at the bottom. Squeeze the glutes and make them do all the work whilst really keeping the shoulder blades pulled together tight. Maintain a natural cervical and lumbar curve throughout the movement…
Hope this helps… [/quote]

Thanks!

Now I think I can adjust my form from what I was doing in that video (not what I’ve been doing) to start doing Romanian Deads right.

I’ve been thinking about bending at my knees (when doing the awkward thing I thought were Romanians), and maybe if I don’t think about it so much, they’ll naturally bend just enough to get the form right.

[quote]tedro wrote:
What is your max DL? For romanians I will go up to about 75% of my max dl for sets of 5.[/quote]

My max dead WAS 435 back before I dieted. In that video I was using 275 for 8 reps, also before dieting.

[quote]SWR-1240 wrote:
tedro wrote:
What is your max DL? For romanians I will go up to about 75% of my max dl for sets of 5.

My max dead WAS 435 back before I dieted. In that video I was using 275 for 8 reps, also before dieting.

[/quote]

That sounds like decent weight, then. I couldn’t see both 45’s and thought it was 185. It kind of surprises me that you don’t feel like you are getting much out of it. Then again, I usually do them after squatting or conventional DL, so I’m already pretty spent.

I’m also quite surprised you?re not feeling it in your hamstrings a whole lot. Use the exact same form and exercise and do it off blocks, or use dumbbells since your get a lot lower with dumbbells and report back. I use your exact form but use dumbbells, I go heavy, then I’ll do a couple sets of leg curls on the machine, and every single time I experience extreme muscle soreness the next couple days, actually my training partners as well. I know soreness isn’t the best way to gauge an exercises? value, but hey, just letting you know. I’ll be very surprised if you don’t feel it then with some rom adjustment. Give it a try, I?m quite interested now.

Oh and about your grip going, use straps! I know some guys hate using them, but if it’s truly a limiting factor, like it is for me in this exercise, throw a pair on. I always use straps on my last set, helps so much, they allow me to just concentrate on isolating the hamstrings.

Doing what was in the video is what I DO feel almost exclusively in my hamstrings. And they do get very sore with that.

What I’ve been doing as Romanian deads is what I haven’t been feeling in my hamstrings (I don’t have a video of that).

[quote]T.J. wrote:
Oh and about your grip going, use straps! I know some guys hate using them, but if it’s truly a limiting factor, like it is for me in this exercise, throw a pair on. I always use straps on my last set, helps so much, they allow me to just concentrate on isolating the hamstrings.[/quote]

I agree. Some might bitch about this and swear that straps are evil, but I simply can’t hold enough appreciable weight for a set of 8-12 RDL’s without using some straps. Otherwise I have to put it down halfway through the set, and find myself concentrating on my grip rather than the movement and my form suffers. Grip isn’t holding me back on any of max’s, so I don’t see a problem with it.

There was an article comparing the RDL to the SLDL… I think John Paul Catanzaro wrote it. He called it a semi-stiff-legged deadlift. They are very similar exercises, as you know. The main difference being that with a RDL you keep the bar close to your thighs. With the SLDL you keep the bar several inches away. Both will lower to around the kneecap.

I do RDLs primarily and don’t feel them much in the hamstrings either, but they’re still one of my favorites.

I don’t feel the hams without an extreme (read: dangerous) ROM. The main time I feel 'em is when I do DB DLs.

I’ve been alternating SLDLs with Good Mornings to get the hammies more. The first time I did GMs I was only using 75 lbs but my hams were sore for days in places I hadn’t felt in a long time. I like them because the grip failure problem is eliminated.

That was just a couple of months ago. I’m up to 135 x 12 and still going strong (+10 lbs/week). For strength comparison, I’m at about 275 x 8 for SLDLs.

Later,
Scott

The weight is too heavy for you to do the exercise properly. I can go up to 315 easily and bang out 5-6 and I cant regular dead that much. But When I am going that heavy it is all Glutes. If you cannot feel your hamstrings doing what you are doing, it isnt the motion, it is the weight. You should be able to feel your hammy’s with a pretty light weight, so if you cant you have gone up too much to place emphasis on the hamstrings. Basically, when you try to use your hamstrings with too much weight, your body it like “F this, I just need to be able to get up and down and I dont care what Im using to do it” Prob a good thing too because prob helps prevent hamstring injuries.

ok, pretty noob question but i always thought romanian deadlift was when u brought the bar to just below knee cap and then expolsively bring the bar up, shrugging and lifting your self onto your toes when u reach the top of the movment?

Also i read through the article by John Paul Catanzaro and isn’t the romanian deadlift where u punch your butt out (concentrating more on the horizontal movement of the hips, rather than the verticle) the same as the dimel deadlift?

All these deadlift variations are making me confused…

[quote]simon-hecubus wrote:
I don’t feel the hams without an extreme (read: dangerous) ROM. The main time I feel 'em is when I do DB DLs.

I’ve been alternating SLDLs with Good Mornings to get the hammies more. The first time I did GMs I was only using 75 lbs but my hams were sore for days in places I hadn’t felt in a long time. I like them because the grip failure problem is eliminated.

That was just a couple of months ago. I’m up to 135 x 12 and still going strong (+10 lbs/week). For strength comparison, I’m at about 275 x 8 for SLDLs.

Later,
Scott[/quote]

That’s interesting, I have trouble hitting my hammys with anything, I’ve never tried GMs, may be time to give em a shot.

[quote]SWR-1240 wrote:
Doing what was in the video is what I DO feel almost exclusively in my hamstrings. And they do get very sore with that.

What I’ve been doing as Romanian deads is what I haven’t been feeling in my hamstrings (I don’t have a video of that).[/quote]

Gotcha, looks like you’ve got it figured out now.

[quote]Dilligaf wrote:
ok, pretty noob question but i always thought romanian deadlift was when u brought the bar to just below knee cap and then expolsively bring the bar up, shrugging and lifting your self onto your toes when u reach the top of the movment?
[/quote]

It sounds like you are talking about a jump shurg or high pull? RDL is a controlled movement.

That sounds more correct, yes an RDL should be thought of as more a horizontal movement with the emphasis on pushing the hips back. A dimel deadlift is similar, except the weight is lighter and the movement is performed as explosively as possible for higher reps.

[quote]MrTangerineSpedo wrote:
There was an article comparing the RDL to the SLDL… I think John Paul Catanzaro wrote it. He called it a semi-stiff-legged deadlift. They are very similar exercises, as you know. The main difference being that with a RDL you keep the bar close to your thighs. With the SLDL you keep the bar several inches away. Both will lower to around the kneecap.

[/quote]

In looking at the video I would say you are doing more of a semi-stiff legged deadlift rather than an RDL. You seem to be bending from the waist first rather than initiating the movement by pushing the hips back. Any downward movement of the bar should come as a result of moving the hips horizontally and not bending at the waist.

I also noticed that you are looking towards the floor a bit when bending forward. I recommend trying a tip that Dan John wrote about in one of his articles, when doing a RDL try to touch the wall behind you with your butt and the wall in front with your chin. This ensures that you keep the correct spine angle and I find that it stretches the hammies more, meaning that you don’t have to go down low to get the stretch you need. As soon as you drop your chin you will find it easier to bend over as your spine will round.

Cheers,

Ben