RDL Renaissance: Revitalize Your Hamstrings with Romanian Deadlifts

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By Jim Turner

Gone are the days of endless squats and lunges to strengthen your legs. If you haven’t tried Romanian Deadlifts (RDLs) yet, you’re missing out on one of the most effective exercises for your hamstrings. This versatile exercise offers a multitude of benefits, and it’s a great addition to any athlete’s workout routine. Here’s everything you need to know about RDLs and the hamstrings.

What are Romanian Deadlifts?

Romanian Deadlifts are a type of weightlifting exercise that strengthens and stretches your hamstrings. It involves holding a weight, typically a barbell, while bending forward and pushing your hips back. The exercise is named after the Romanian weightlifting team, who popularized it in the ’90s. Unlike the conventional deadlift, RDLs keep your knees slightly bent and emphasize the stretch on your hamstrings.

RDLs are an effective exercise for building strength and size in the posterior chain muscles, which includes your hamstrings, glutes, and lower back muscles. The exercise also develops your grip strength, core stability, and overall balance.

How to Perform Romanian Deadlifts?

RDLs are suitable for both beginners and advanced weightlifters. Here are some steps to perform RDLs correctly:

  1. Set up the barbell: Start with a barbell on the ground with weights loaded on each end. Stand in front of the bar with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. Grab the bar: Bend down and grip the bar with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Your palms should face down, and your thumbs should be outside of your fingers.
  3. Stand up with the bar: Push through your heels and stand up while keeping your arms straight. The bar should be close to your body and in line with your midfoot.
  4. Bend Forward: Hinge your hips back while keeping your knees slightly bent. Your weight should be on your heels while your back remains flat.
  5. Stretch Your Hamstrings: Lower the barbell as far as your flexibility allows. You should feel a stretch in your hamstrings. Your weight should remain on your heels.
  6. Stand up: Push through your heels and straighten your hips to return to the starting position.

It’s important to keep proper form while performing RDLs to avoid injuries. Keep your back straight, knees slightly bent, and the barbell close to your body throughout the exercise.

Benefits of Romanian Deadlifts for Hamstrings

Here are some benefits of Romanian Deadlifts for your hamstrings:

  • Increased Strength: RDLs are an effective exercise for building strength in your hamstrings and glutes. You can progressively overload the exercise by adding more weights to the barbell.
  • Injury Prevention: Strengthening your hamstrings can prevent injuries to your knees and lower back. RDLs also improve your flexibility, which reduces the risk of muscle strains.
  • Better Posture: RDLs strengthen your back and core muscles, improving your posture and reducing the risk of back pain.
  • Improved Athletic Performance: Strong hamstrings play a crucial role in various athletic activities, including sprinting, jumping, and change of direction movements.


Romanian Deadlifts are a versatile and effective exercise for your hamstrings. It improves your strength, flexibility, and posture. RDLs are easy to learn and can be performed with minimal equipment. Incorporating RDLs into your workout routine can lead to better athletic performance and injury prevention. So, are you ready to revitalize your hamstrings with RDLs?

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