As I was coaching yesterday, I noticed more than a few athletes really struggling with RDL, or Romanian Deadlift. Unlike a deadlift from the ground, a RDL is simply a big hinge that works the posterior chain.

Many athletes believe the further they hinge, the more they get out of it. This is true up to a point.

Hamstring flexibility is what determines how far you’ll hinge when doing this exercise. If your hamstrings are fully elongated, then you have reached the bottom position regardless of how far the barbell has traveled.

If you continue to lower the barbell you are forced to change position somewhere up / down stream. Typically this happens in the low back as you’ll see in the video.

Note that if you bend your knees at the bottom then you are actually shortening the hamstrings which allows you to continue moving. This is not necessarily incorrect, it just turns the exercise into normal deadlift. We’re specifically talking about RDLs here.

So unlike a squat, a RDL has no standard bottom position. When your hamstrings have lengthened completely that is the end of the movement, and it’s time to stand back up.

Check the video below for a clear visual of the difference of the two.





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