The RDL (Romanian Deadlift) is a lift designed to strengthen the posterior chain muscles. As discussed in our previous blog on the Kettlebell Swing, the posterior chain includes muscles down the back of your body, such as glutes, hamstrings, and erector spinae. The RDL movement is traditionally performed using a barbell, however other equipment such as dumbbells and kettlebells can also be used to load the movement.



  • Targets hamstrings which can help to build strength, control and muscle mass. The increase in muscle mass here can mean improved strength, power, and sports performance. This in turn will help to minimize hamstring related injuries.
  • Increased pulling strength – increasing glute, back and hamstring strength while not limiting the load to lower back.
  • Improved weightlifting movements for Olympic weightlifters to increase back and hamstring strength specific to heavy cleans and snatches. By increasing this strength, it is easier to maintain form throughout these movements which is very important to avoid injury.
  • Increased hip extension strength.
  • Great introduction to the ‘hip hinge’ movement for those new to lifting.



How to do…

  1. Start with the barbell resting on the safety pins inside a rack (the height of this should be so that you can hold the bar and have a slight bend in your knees)
  2. Walk up to the barbell and grip it with each hand just outside of your thighs
  3. Take a big breath, engage your core, and lift the barbell from the pins then take a few steps back away from the rack
  4. Soften your knees so that they are slightly bent – you’ll keep this knee position throughout the entire movement
  5. Engage your lats and keep your back straight throughout this movement – no rounding!
  6. Hinge your hips back to lower the barbell towards your knees, think about keeping the weight on your heels. The barbell should stay as close to your legs as you can
  7. Think about driving your hips back to feel the tension in your glutes and hamstring
  8. Once the barbell is just below the knee, squeeze your glutes to drive your hips up and forward whilst keeping the knees soft and slightly bend



Conventional deadlift – the Romanian deadlift starts from a standing position and relies heavily on the hip hinge motion and uses hamstrings and glutes, whereas a conventional deadlift starts from the floor and uses more quads and mid-back with hinging movements at both the hips and knees. The conventional deadlift is called a “push” movement as you push the floor away as you lift the weight up, whereas the RDL is a “pull” movement as you pull the hips through as the weight comes up.



Points to remember…

  • The further back you can push your hips the more you will activate your glutes and hamstrings.
  • Soft knees throughout the whole movement.
  • Engaging your lats will prevent your back from rounding.
  • Keep the barbell as close to your legs as you can.
  • Keeping your weight on the heels will help you to stay balanced as your hips drive behind you.
  • Squeeze the glutes on the way up as you come back to the starting position.


If you would like to learn how to do this movement or check your form with one of the instructors, just grab one of us in the gym or book a consultation at reception!