Romanian deadlifts are a controversial exercise. Many people love them and do them as part of their regular routine, while others avoid them like the plague. It is true that this exercise can be dangerous but that is only true when it is done incorrectly. Through understanding the right way to do them and learning more about common mistakes when doing them, you can learn how to properly incorporate them into your routine. The reason you want to do this is this exercise offers many, many benefits.
As mentioned, in order to do Romanian deadlifts, you have to understand proper form and the proper steps to the exercise. There are a few key differences between the Romanian deadlift and the conventional deadlift. To begin you will need a barbell set in a rack. The basic movement is lift and then lower to the floor, not the other way around. This is important to remember. Your first move will be to lift the barbell above your head with arms straight. You should have a slight arch in your lumbar region and your knees should not be locked. Now, with slow movements, lower the barbell to your thighs, touching your thighs with it. Continue with slow movements as you begin to bend and move the barbell along your thighs until you begin to feel the pull in your back. Then reverse slowly to get the bar back above your head.
It is essential to use slow movements and never swing the bar. Your back should stay aligned and your knees kept soft. You should feel this mainly in your hamstrings as you work. As part of your routine, you can do this after doing your other lifts or as part of your warm up.
Effects on the Body
If you have discussed this exercise or researched it before, then you probably are aware of the Romanian deadlift benefits. This exercise works the back, hips, and legs. When it comes to the back, it helps with motor skills and teaching proper mechanics of bending. Because the moves are so concentrated and the effort is so exact, you can work your back in a way that will teach it to move properly. The movements do the same for the hips, helping them to loosen up and increases mobility.
However, the biggest benefits occur in the legs. This exercise is great for the hamstrings and the glutes. You will be using these muscles to keep your body aligned correctly and to concentrate the movement. Flexibility is increased thanks to the gentle stretch you get as your move through the exercise. One thing you may not realize is how much you work your quads while ignoring your hamstrings. Romanian deadlifts give you the chance to really work your hamstrings while not doing much with the quads. It is a great way to achieve a balance between the two muscle groups that is difficult to achieve with other exercises.
In addition, you get lengthening of your hamstrings while doing this move. This is important because tight hamstrings is a common issue and there really aren’t a lot of other options that will help you achieve the lengthening necessary to loosen them up. Through lengthening, you are able to make them more flexible and moveable. An added bonus here is that if you are a runner, this benefit will really help you because it helps with stride length and overall leg strength to get you moving faster and further.
Finally, because of how this exercise works, it allows other areas of your body to be relieved of strain. Because you are strengthening your back, hips, and legs, your knees and quads have some of the stress taken off them. Knee problems are such an issue with athletes and even those who just work out for health reasons that anything you can do to help preserve them is a good thing. Deadlifts enable you to prepare your body for the future when you are older and not as flexible or as mobile. All these benefits add up to making your body stronger in the long run. As others start to be affected by age-related degeneration and lack of flexibility, you will stay fitter longer because of doing the Romanian deadlift as part of your routine.
Warnings and Tips
As mentioned, part of the reason why people shy away from the Romanian deadlift is because when done incorrectly, it can cause serious injuries. That is why you have to listen to warnings and watch your form the entire time you are doing the exercise. You cannot become lazy or you will risk injury. It is also essential that you remember that the move goes from top to bottom not bottom to top. Do not start with the bar on the floor. You are starting the move with the bar in the air above your head. You won’t get the proper strengthening benefits and you won’t be working out all the muscle groups you should. In addition, it increases the chance of hurting your back when you start out at the bottom.
Keeping an eye on your form is also essential to avoid injury. Keep the bar against your thighs. Make sure to move slowly and don’t be too worried about going low. In time, you will eventually increase your flexibility and be able to bend further down. In the beginning, just go as low as you comfortably can. Finally, a good tip to keep in mind is to watch your weight. It seems to be natural for people to go for too light rather than too heavy. Go heavier than you may be inclined because this will give you the best hamstring workout possible.
Adding the Romanian deadlift to your workout routine is a great idea if you are focused on all around strength in your body. It is the ideal way to balance out your legs and make them as strong as possible. This is something that will benefit you if you play sports or run, but it also benefits you in the future because strong legs will really help you as you age and begin to lose muscle and flexibility.