Romanian Deadlift

This functional exercise builds glutes and strengthens hamstrings.

  • Main muscles worked: Hamstrings, glutes
  • Other muscles: Core, calves, lower back, hip flexors (groin)
  • Exercise type: Compound, Pull, Hinge
  • Equipment: Dumbbells

Romanian deadlifts are sometimes called RDLs for short. They are a variation of conventional deadlifts. Unlike regular deadlifts, they are performed with only a slight bend in the knees and start from an upright position.

Benefits of Romanian Deadlifts

Romanian deadlifts are a compound exercise that targets the muscles of the back of the body, known as the posterior chain, which includes the glutes, hamstrings and lower back. This is a part of the body that is often underdeveloped. Targeting the muscles of the posterior chain addresses this common muscular imbalance between the front and the back of the body. Strengthening these muscles can also boost athletic performance, improve posture, reduce low back and help activities such as running, jumping, and walking.

Romanian deadlifts involve a hinging from the hips, which is a functional movement that supports everyday movements such as bending over to pick something up. Most people tend to bend their back, instead of bending (aka hinging) at the hip. Learning how to mobilize the hips correctly can help prevent lower back pain and reduce the risk of injury when doing everyday activities.

This exercise is especially effective for increasing the strength and size of the glutes and hamstrings.12 And although primarily a lower body exercise Romanian deadlifts also improve core strength, and work the shoulders and forearms.

Variations: If you’re a beginner, make Romanian deadlifts easier by just using your bodyweight until you perfect your form. On the other hand, a more advanced version of this exercise are single-leg Romanian deadlifts, which will also improve balance.


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