Romanian Deadlift

Posted by & filed under Exercise and Training.

Crikey, this took some finding.  She calls it a straight legged deadlift – but the knees are not straight but slightly bent.  This is critical to getting the most out of this lift.

Two things to add which will help:

  1. Turn the elbows backwards and squeeze the armpits.  This further locks out the upper back and helps to maintain a long strong back. It also encourages the arms to remain straight throughout the movement.
  2. Widen the buttocks going down and at lowest point This engages the butt which makes the exercise more effective.
What to look out for.
  • Leading the movement with the chest.  This is the hardest thing to get the head around.  It is the pivot of the hips that drives the movement.  The upper body and the bar move as a result of the hips and not the other way round.  If the upper body leads, then the back rounds out which carries a high risk of injury.
  • The bar travels in a straight line down and up.  There is a tendency to move the bar away from the legs.  This gets dangerous as the weight increases.
  • Lifting the bar with the arms when standing up.  Makes the exercise less effective.
  • Bending the knees too much when lowering the weight.  This encourages us to use the fronts of the legs – the quads – to help us stand.  If this is not watched out for, as the weight gets heavier, the knees start to bend more and more. So when the weight is increased, the exercise feels just as easy.  Increasing the knee bend does not lead to injury – it just makes the exercise less effective.
  • Head position.
    Arguments both ways.  You can either keep your eyes on the same spot as she does in the clip or you can keep the head in a neutral position so you will be looking at the floor when the bar is at the lowest point.  Personally I favour the latter since we all get very tense at the back of the neck.
What it strengthens:
  •  Hamstrings (the back of legs)
  • Glutes (the bottom)
  • Low back muscles – but you should NOT feel these working
  • The abs to keep the back strong and safe
  • Upper back muscles for stability
  • Grip strength.
This exercise has great carry over into every day life.  Yes, ideally we bend the knees and keep the back straight when lifting things up from the floor or from low down.  But frequently this is not possible – for instance when lifting something heavy out of a supermarket trolley. If the knees are bent, then the arms can’t reach into the trolley. So learning how to pivot from the hips properly prevents injury – as well as giving beautifully shaped bottoms and hamstrings.

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