Romanian deadlifts | How are they performed? Muscles involved and common mistakes

The Romanian deadlifts are a great exercise to work the back, lumbar muscles, glutes and hamstrings. Basically, as an exercise, they involve what is the posterior kinetic chain. In this article we will analyze the correct execution and we will see what are the most common errors. At the end we will give you a training card where you can use them.

Execution of the Romanian Deadlifts

Let's start by analyzing the correct execution of the Romanian deadlifts. The exercise is a variant of deadlifts and provides, as a difference, not to touch the ground when we go down in the negative phase. Basically we will reduce the ROM (range of movement) of the exercise, limiting ourselves to the initial stretch. To start, the ideal is to detach the bar from an ermo (for example from the rack) that is not the ground. In fact, the initial position sees the barbell at mid-tibia height. From here we will have to perform the concentric phase of the deadlift, therefore an extension of the bust.

Unlike the classic deadlift, the Romanian deadlift will minimally involve the legs which are, in fact, more present, in the initial phase of the ROM, phase excluded in this variant. The movement will therefore be more dependent on the lumbar spine and the glutei-femoral block. This difference makes the Romanian deadlift a pure pull exercise unlike the deadlift which can be seen (many technicians do) as a push (leg) exercise.

Muscles involved in Romanian deadlifts

As we have seen, the main involvement is of the lumbar, gluteus and hamstring muscles. This feature makes the exercise a valid alternative to deadlifts to be included in a back or back-hamstring session.

Common mistakes of Romanian deadlifts

There are several mistakes that are normally made with the Romanian deadlifts.

The first ever is to lift a lot. Compared to deadlifts, the Romanian deadlifts do not see a strong participation of the knee extensors, for this reason the load that will be lifted will tend to be reduced (despite the lower ROM). We try to focus on a correct activation of the muscles, activation which must be synergistic and not isolated.

Second mistake is to lose the lumbar curve. Often it simply comes from using too much weight. The maintenance of the lumbar curve is however a factor to keep in mind for a correct execution and for the learning of a correct motor pattern. Let's be clear, maintaining the curve means maintaining the natural curve, not exaggerated hyperextension. In this too we must pay close attention.

Third mistake is to look for too isolated involvement of the target muscle. In other words, even if we insert the Romanian deadlifts after a back session, we absolutely must not fall back into the error of trying to isolate the lumbar spine. The motor scheme is a systemic motor scheme that sees the involvement of different districts. If we sought a muscular isolation we would risk dirtying the execution and causing an injury.

Card with the Romanian deadlifts

Now let's see how to insert the Romanian deadlifts into a training schedule. Normally, with our athletes, we prefer to include them as the last exercise of a back session. This is because starting with such a demanding exercise would take away too much energy for the next job and would prevent us from working well the great dorsal, a very complex muscle to activate. In addition to this we would be fatigued at the lumbar level and therefore we would go to dirty the execution of different exercises and motor patterns.

Leaving this exercise for last and allocating it to work on the hamstrings with a perhaps reduced load is certainly an excellent solution.

Let's go see a back session extracted from an athlete's schedule in preparation for the October Natural Bodybuiding competitions.

Pulley – 4 set

Let's start with a Pulley. Do me sets of 8 repetitions gradually increasing the load. It comes up to the point of failure. From here I want 4 training series of 8. I recommend the execution. At each repetition, keep 1-2 '' of still in maximum shortening trying to squeeze the great dorsal as much as possible.

Lat triangle - 5 sets

Find a load that leads you to technical failure on 8 reps, as we have seen in the room together. I want 5 sets of 8 with that load. Recover what you need to work cleanly and precisely.


Outstretched arms pulldown - 5 sets

I want 5 sets of 12 reps here. Choose the variant you prefer, it comes from the maximum lengthening up to the maximum shortening. Here verticalize the bust a little in order to create a lot of pump on the great dorsal. There are 5 training series, take 60 '' of recovery here.

Romanian deadlifts - 3 sets

Find a load that causes you to collapse over 15 reps. I want 3 sets with only 60 '' of recovery. Try to do as many repetitions as possible every time, always staying between 12 and 15. You will be cooked after this work.

Conclusions on the Romanian deadlifts

The Romanian deadlifts are therefore an excellent exercise to be included in our back session. We always take care of the execution in a maniacal way and make sure to contextualize them in the best possible way. It will be one more weapon to get to our results.

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