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The Romanian Deadlift

Is the Romanian Deadlift a lift you wanna focus more on the form and technique rather then weight? An example is standing DB lateral raise I use about 15-20 pound dumbbells when I those. Because I know that its more of a form and strength developing exercise. I know that sounds confusing hope I worded that correctly.

always go heavy…

this is one of my favorite lifts. I think technique is really important, but obviously go heavy.

The cues I have found most useful are

(1) shoulders back, lats flexed, and scapula retracted- this keeps the bar REALLY close the whole movement
(2) sit back and keep the tensions in the hamstrings- stretch should grow as you go lower and lower
(3) don’t go so low that you round, are lower than parallel to the floor, or bend the knees excessively/lose tension

If you do it like this it is a sick hamstring, upper back, and lower back movement. This is the way I learned to do it specific to weightlifting, anyway, and I think it is really effective.

The Romanian Deadlift is a Mother Fucking Deadlift.

Romanian Olympic Weightlifter Nicu Vlad invented what others call the “Romanian Deadlift.” Doing them heavy worked out pretty well for him. He was one of the best 100kg lifters ever, and legend has it he Front Squatted 700 pounds for a double.

So to be clear, the Romanian Deadlift did not originate as a bodybuilding exercise. It originated as an assistance exercise for the Snatch and the Clean & Jerk. There are no ‘feel’ exercises in Weightlifting.

In my opinion, Mr. Konstantinovs, the greatest Deadlifter under 300 pounds to ever live, does RDLs in the most effective way possible.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dLwGDFJW3x4

He’s using a platform that allows him to get his fists all the way to his shoes. I think this is the way to go as opposed to just letting the bar go past your knees. If you go heavy on RDLs but only let the bar pass your knees, it is entirely possible that you can end up doing something that resembles a rack pull more than a strict hip extension exercise.

But if you do RDLs off a high platform, and you do them deep, there is no chance that you will compromise the effectiveness of the exercise even if you change your body position to allow for more weight to be used.

It also ceases to be a “feel” exercise. You don’t need to wounder if you’re using RDL technique that will raise your Deadlift. You know you’re doing it right because you either make the pull from a 6 inch deficit or you don’t make it.

It becomes like the Squat, Dead from the Floor, Bench, Pull-up, or any other lift that you can qualify improvement easily through reps and weight - not through feel alone.

It could be argued that there are no “form” exercises. Some people do better using strict form and feeling the muscle work while others do better moving as much weight as possible.

But the people who can grow using light weights are usually genetic freaks like Flex Wheeler, who can get 50+ inch chests from playing with 225 on the Bench Press and 120lbs on the lat pulldown.

Anything they do would make them grow. In fact, it’s possible that these genetic freaks would grow even more if they used really heavy weights. So to be on the safe side, always go heavy - because you’re probably not a one in a million super freak that grows from even looking at pink dumbbells.

Don’t keep your scapula retracted when you do this lift. Just keep your low back arched, go low, and you’ll get it right.

Of all of the exercises done in the gym, the RDL is the one that I have seen more ‘variations’ of than any other. Try several different versions of it and see what works best for you. If you want growth…go for a bigger ROM and more recruitment. If you want to reinforce form for Olympic lifting…stay strict. In the end, as long as you maintain some structural integrity (i.e. lower back posture), you can do it whatever way you like. Just don’t wear a thong…

Basically when you do it you want to sit your ass back as far as possible while keeping your lower back tight and chest high. If you have decent mobility that means your going to basically do them like Konstantinov… which means nearly touching the top of your feet.

So you NEED to have some sort of elevated platform if you’re doing them right (and you have that kind of mobility). If you’re sitting back as far as you can, and you go farther than the ground you NEED to go farther than the ground or you’re not doing your job.

If you can touch the top of your feet though you have freaky long arms haha.

i dont know how the hell someone can keep their back perfectly straight while touching their toes. you would need insane hip mobility.

Or stupidly long arms.

Even the guy in the video is about 6inches off the top of his feet.

One thing you will notice as you start going heavier and heavier on RDLs.

1st.
Your upper back will break.
–initially it becomes hard to keep your scapulas retracted,
–followed by your shoulders getting pulled down
–finally the overall bending of your upper back/caving of the chest
—>this causes the bar to drift away from you and…

2nd.
The movement now becomes a conventional DL.
–As you start shifting your torso back, and your hips in to keep the bar in your center of gravity.
---->so your shoulders are no longer well infront of the bar

When the 1st one happens it means your are reaching your limit. When the 2nd one happens your way above it.

My coach told me to keep those scapulas retracted at all cost (as that is what keeps your chest up, and is what keeps the bar close to you even though your shoulders are well infront of the bar). And once my upper back is clearly bent then there is no point in going heavier unless I plan to do conventional DLs. (which is rarely the case)

[quote]Xen Nova wrote:
Basically when you do it you want to sit your ass back as far as possible while keeping your lower back tight and chest high. If you have decent mobility that means your going to basically do them like Konstantinov… which means nearly touching the top of your feet.

So you NEED to have some sort of elevated platform if you’re doing them right (and you have that kind of mobility). If you’re sitting back as far as you can, and you go farther than the ground you NEED to go farther than the ground or you’re not doing your job.

If you can touch the top of your feet though you have freaky long arms haha.

[/quote]

I need a platform for them, or I miss half the movement. I don’t touch my feet, but if the plates are bigger than 25s, I smack the ground.

[quote]LiveFromThe781 wrote:
i dont know how the hell someone can keep their back perfectly straight while touching their toes. you would need insane hip mobility.[/quote]

my girlfriend can do it.

[quote]pushmepullme wrote:
Xen Nova wrote:
Basically when you do it you want to sit your ass back as far as possible while keeping your lower back tight and chest high. If you have decent mobility that means your going to basically do them like Konstantinov… which means nearly touching the top of your feet.

So you NEED to have some sort of elevated platform if you’re doing them right (and you have that kind of mobility). If you’re sitting back as far as you can, and you go farther than the ground you NEED to go farther than the ground or you’re not doing your job.

If you can touch the top of your feet though you have freaky long arms haha.

I need a platform for them, or I miss half the movement. I don’t touch my feet, but if the plates are bigger than 25s, I smack the ground.[/quote]

rather then some double entendre regarding you being flexible, able to sit your ass back far, and bending over with your ass in the air… I’ll just repeat what i said above, if you’re doing them right (and you’re <300lbs) you’ll pretty much NEED a platform.

[quote]Xen Nova wrote:
pushmepullme wrote:
Xen Nova wrote:
Basically when you do it you want to sit your ass back as far as possible while keeping your lower back tight and chest high. If you have decent mobility that means your going to basically do them like Konstantinov… which means nearly touching the top of your feet.

So you NEED to have some sort of elevated platform if you’re doing them right (and you have that kind of mobility). If you’re sitting back as far as you can, and you go farther than the ground you NEED to go farther than the ground or you’re not doing your job.

If you can touch the top of your feet though you have freaky long arms haha.

I need a platform for them, or I miss half the movement. I don’t touch my feet, but if the plates are bigger than 25s, I smack the ground.

rather then some double entendre regarding you being flexible, able to sit your ass back far, and bending over with your ass in the air… I’ll just repeat what i said above, if you’re doing them right (and you’re <300lbs) you’ll pretty much NEED a platform.
[/quote]

So wait, you think I’m under 300 lbs?

I feel so complimented.

Yeah, even when I teach them to men, I try to make them stretch. It isn’t that far to reach your feet with 135, and you will get a better burn if you stretch em out.

yes i’d assume you are, unfortunately for you i like my women extra large.

RDL doesn’t even seem to activate my glutes unless i get a stretch in… the sit back as far as you can thing is for GM’s, box squats, RDL’s, basically anything u want to really get your pchain involved in.

[quote]Neospartan wrote:
One thing you will notice as you start going heavier and heavier on RDLs.

1st.
Your upper back will break.
–initially it becomes hard to keep your scapulas retracted,
–followed by your shoulders getting pulled down
–finally the overall bending of your upper back/caving of the chest
—>this causes the bar to drift away from you and…

2nd.
The movement now becomes a conventional DL.
–As you start shifting your torso back, and your hips in to keep the bar in your center of gravity.
---->so your shoulders are no longer well infront of the bar

When the 1st one happens it means your are reaching your limit. When the 2nd one happens your way above it.

My coach told me to keep those scapulas retracted at all cost (as that is what keeps your chest up, and is what keeps the bar close to you even though your shoulders are well infront of the bar). And once my upper back is clearly bent then there is no point in going heavier unless I plan to do conventional DLs. (which is rarely the case)

[/quote]

yup 100% agree

In fact, I disagree really heavily with the advice to not keep the scapula retracted in a Romanian. Doing so at all costs pretty much sounds right. If you want to build maximal lat and entire trap/upper back strength it is completely necessary, and will also have enormous carryover to lockout, isometric strength in lowbar squats and olympic lifts, keep the bar dragging the shins and thighs the entire movement, and just in general build enormous upper back strength.

They also need to be done hooked, overhand, or with straps. Maybe if you want to do absolute max weight and make it more of a deficit dead with a slow eccentric like that video than that’s cool, but that is barely even an RDL. The RDL was developed specific to weightlifting and the original (and in my opinion best) technique for it was described by Neo.

obviously do whatever makes you strongest and has the best carryover to your sport or goals though

[quote]LiveFromThe781 wrote:
i dont know how the hell someone can keep their back perfectly straight while touching their toes. you would need insane hip mobility.[/quote]

I can’t reach the floor with a tight arch, but can easily do it while keeping my back flat. If I can do it, it definitely doesn’t require insane flexibility/mobility.

so two girls can do it. well, im convinced!

I’d focus on weight more than technique. Technique is merely a funtion of weight. With light weight, you’ll always have good technique. Unfortunately, you don’t get very strong with light weight.

Fram JV Askems old site.
I am not saying you should go all the way down there before recieving any benefit.

RDL’s rock. They are key to building up my deadlift. Works entire posterior chain, and scapular retraction at the same time.

hum… for you guys/gals talking about reaching the floor I have a question…

Are you keeping your scapulas retracted?

If you do your arms will NOT be going straight down, instead they be in a diagonal. Once your upper body is almost/at parallel with the floor your hands will be at/bellow your knees. Thus leaving plenty of space between the plates and floor. (unless you got freaky short legs)

And as actionjeff explained, the bar will be very close to your thighs as you come up.

If you have doubts, take 135 and test it.