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Mastering the Romanian Deadlift: Tips and Mistakes to Avoid

Updated: Mar 24


Romanian deadlift

Looking for an exercise to gets your hamstrings and glutes pumped? Look no

further than the Romanian Deadlift, a fantastic lower body movement that I

promise is not as scary as it sounds.


Despite the Romanian deadlift being a very popular exercise in workout

programmes, the hip hinge component of the lift makes it quite technical

which is why we often see a lot of people perform it wrong. So, without further

will do, let’s discuss how to perform the exercise safely and with correct form.


The set up;


  • Set up the bar in the rack at the height of your deadlift lockout position.

  • Hold the bar with an overhand grip, hands should be just outside the thighs.

  • Un-rack the bar and take a few steps back.

  • Feet should be around shoulder width with your feet slightly angled out at around 10 degrees.


Performing the Romanian Deadlift;


  • To initiate the movement, think about pulling your shoulders down and engaging the lats, this will help maintain a close to neutral spine.

  • Maintain soft knees. Imagine a wall in front of your knees, this will prevent them moving forward.

  • We then want to hinge at the hips. Push your hips back towards the wall. Imagine someone has wrapped an elastic band around your waist and is pulling your hips back with the band, but your feet stay planted.

  • Keep the bar close to your legs, we want to keep that bar path as vertical as we can. The bar should stay over the middle of your foot and your shins should stay vertical.

  • For most people, the hamstrings are engaged when the bar gets to the knee/mid shin, this is when we drive back up to the start position.


Now we know how to properly perform the Romanian deadlift, let’s look over

some of the common mistakes people make and tips on how to avoid them;


1) Overly rounding or arching your lower spine.

This is likely due to a lack of tension and stiffness in the core and lats. Remember to take a deep breath, brace, engage lats and keep the shoulders down before every rep. If you are struggling with maintaining a neutral spine throughout the movement, try out the dowel stick drill.


2) Knees travelling forward.

This is probably because the bar is too heavy. The bar ends up travelling over your knees which takes the tension away from the hamstrings and glutes and places it more on the quads. Aim to keep that bar path vertical.


3) Bar travelling away from the body.

A lack of control is going to put more stress on the lower back. We want the bar to stay within our centre of mass, this means keeping the bar super close to our legs and over the midfoot on the way down and way up.


4) Going outside active range of motion.

This means bringing the bar down lower than it needs to go where the plates touch the floor. This requires a high level of mobility however it’s not necessarily better, it actually tends to compromise spinal position (rounding of the lower

back) which places no extra tension on the hamstrings and glutes.


Author: Tahnee Perfect

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