The barbell Romanian deadlift is a great exercise to strengthen the musculature of the posterior chain (glutes and hamstrings) and hips, the muscles of the lower, mid and upper back, scapula stabilizers, upper arms, forearms, and core.
A barbell should be used for this exercise. A traditional barbell may be used, and to increase the resistance users may add weight plates to each side. Some gyms have fixed weight barbells which are shorter than a traditional barbell and the resistance is not adjustable. These fixed weight barbells often increase in resistance by 5-10 pounds (50 lbs, 55 lbs, 60 lbs, 65 lbs, and so on).
The barbell Romanian deadlift may be too advanced for women who are just beginning to strength train. Beginners may prefer to start with a different deadlift variation which allows them to start with a lighter resistance, or one that is slightly less technical. Great deadlift exercise options for beginners include resistance band deadlifts, band pull-throughs (teaches the hip hinge), kettlebell Romanian deadlifts, dumbbell Romanian deadlifts, and landmine Romanian deadlifts.
The barbell Romanian deadlift is a great option for lifters who have an intermediate level of experience, and who have mastered some of the deadlift variations listed above for beginners. Intermediate lifters should place the barbell Romanian deadlift towards the beginning of the workout as it is important to perform this exercise when you are mentally and physically fresh. If you are also going to be performing heavy conventional or sumo deadlifts, do these first and then opt for some higher rep Romanian deadlifts and with less resistance, or vice versa. If a full body workout is being performed, the barbell Romanian deadlift can be paired with some type of pushing or pulling movement, but don’t pair it with any exercise that will compromise grip strength, or one that will fatigue the core muscles. Intermediate lifters might perform 2-4 sets of 6-12 reps of the barbell Romanian deadlift.
Women who are comfortable with the barbell Romanian deadlift may choose to use this deadlift variation as well as increase their weight/resistance for multiple sets (2-4+) of fewer repetitions (3-6). The barbell Romanian deadlift may also be used as part of a conditioning circuit or barbell complex, but only once a high level of technical proficiency has been achieved. Lifters can also perform negative reps and really focus on the eccentric component, can add chains/bands for additional resistance, or can perform the single leg Romanian deadlift variation. The Romanian deadlift is one of a few barbell deadlift variations. Lifters can also perform the barbell sumo Romanian deadlift where their stance will be much wider and their hands will be on the inside of their legs.
There are many Romanian deadlift benefits. How a woman chooses to use a Romanian deadlift is highly dependent on her overall technical ability and experience, how much weight is being used, the set/rep scheme used, where it falls in the workout, what it’s paired with, and what the rest periods are. In general barbell Romanian deadlifts can be used to do any or all of the following:
All of the tips below will give you the technical proficiency to do a Romanian deadlift, and constitute good Romanian deadlift form:
To properly perform a barbell Romanian deadlift there are a few key points that you need to remember. First and foremost, the barbell Romanian deadlift is a hinge exercise, not a squat. So you’re going to be picking up the barbell, holding it right up against your legs and pushing back into your hips. You’re not squatting the weight down.
So I have a barbell loaded up here with clips in either side, which is really important because if you’re going to pick up the barbell a little bit off kilter you don’t want the weight sliding off. The other thing you want to remember is before you hinge, you want to make sure your core is nice and braced. You’re going to take a deep breath in through your nose, blow your air out, get your ribcage down and brace your core as you push back into your hips. The weight’s going to drag right down near your legs and, you’ll notice that my spine is nice and neutral so that if I had a broomstick on my back it would touch my tail bone, my upper back, and the back of my head. I’m going to stop when I feel like my hamstrings catch and then I’m going to reverse the motion by bringing my hips and squeezing my glutes. At the top I’m going to make sure not to finish with my spine but finish with my glutes and what I mean by that is when I push back into my hips I’m not going to finish by arching my back, I’m going to finish by pulling my glutes under and squeezing.
So I’ll show you what it looks like. Make sure you pick up the barbell properly. Okay, I’m here, it’s right up against my legs. I’m going to take a nice deep breath in, let my air out, ribs down, embrace my core. As I push back the barbell just going to drag right down my legs. I’m going to maintain a neutral spine and stop when my hamstrings catch and then I’m going to reverse the motion to come back up squeezing my glutes at the top. Push back into my hips, so knees are soft, spine is neutral and core is braced.
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