The Basics of Romanian Deadlifting

on August 29, 2023

woman and man deadlifting in a gym

When it comes to fitness, there are a plethora of different exercises that you can implement into your workout routine. From squats to lunges and everything in between, there are numerous ways to target different muscle groups. One exercise that has been gaining popularity in recent years is the Romanian deadlift. This exercise is not only great for building strength and muscle, but it’s also key in preventing injury. If you’re not sure what Romanian deadlifting is or how to properly perform it, keep reading! This blog post will cover everything you need to know about Romanian deadlifting.


Where does the name come from?

The name “Romanian deadlift” may initially sound strange. Where did it come from? The exercise was actually first introduced by the Romanian weightlifter, Nicu Vlad, in the 1980s. Vlad is famous for his impressive deadlifts and is considered one of the greatest weightlifters of all time. The exercise was then further refined and popularized by another Romanian weightlifter, Dragomir Cioroslan. And thus, the Romanian deadlift was born.



When it comes to performing the Romanian deadlift, correct positioning is key. First off, grip the bar with your hands about shoulder-width apart. While standing with your feet hip-width apart, move the bar down your legs until it reaches your shins. Your knees should be slightly bent with your hips pushed back. Ensure that your back is straight and engage your core.

Step 1 – Begin with your feet hip-width apart. Hold the barbell with a wide grip and let it rest at your thigh level.
Step 2 – Keep your back straight and your shoulders back. Hinge forward at your hips and slowly lower the barbell until you feel a stretch in your hamstrings.
Step 3 – Push your hips forward and return to the starting position. Repeat the exercise, focusing on engaging your glutes, hamstrings, and core.

 man in gym deadlifting

Work with experience

If you are new to the Romanian deadlift or lifting in general, it’s a great idea to start with a professional. They will be able to guide you through the movement, help you with proper positioning, and ensure that you are avoiding any common mistakes. Even if you are a seasoned lifter, it can still be helpful to have a coach or trainer to help keep your form in check.


Deadlifting vs. Romanian Deadlifting

Speaking of form, one common misconception is that the Romanian deadlift is the same as a traditional deadlift. This is not the case. When performing a traditional deadlift, the barbell is lifted from the ground and back down. However, with the Romanian deadlift, the barbell never touches the ground. Instead, the movement begins with the bar at hip level or slightly above and lowers down to mid-shin level.


Common mistakes to avoid

One common mistake with the Romanian deadlift is relying too much on your lower back. This can lead to injury and will not effectively target the muscles you are trying to work. Be sure to engage your glutes and hamstrings throughout the movement. Another mistake is rounding your back. Remember to keep your back straight and your core engaged. Finally, make sure that the bar is staying close to your body throughout the entire movement.

It's important to support your low back with a weightlifting belt. As you lift, maintain proper form by keeping your arms and back straight while engaging your core muscles. To hold the barbell, use an overhand grip or a mixed/alternating grip where one palm faces up and the other faces down. If you're concerned about your wrists, consider using wrist braces for added support when lifting heavier loads. To improve your grip strength, incorporate lifting straps. Remember to exercise caution and listen to your body, paying attention to any pain or discomfort during or after the exercise. Throughout the movement, keep the bar close to your body. Finally, perform the exercise with slow and controlled movements, avoiding any sudden or jerky motions.


What muscles are you targeting?

So, what muscles are targeted with Romanian deadlifting? Mainly, you will be focusing on the glutes, hamstrings, and lower back. These are all important muscle groups for anyone looking to build strength in their lower body. Additionally, since the exercise requires stability from the core, you will also be working your abs.

You're working out your...

  • trapezius
  • back
  • abdominals
  • glutes
  • hips
  • adductors
  • quadriceps
  • hamstrings


If you’re not already incorporating Romanian deadlifting into your workout routine, now is the time to start. The exercise is a great way to strengthen your lower body, prevent injury, and work on stability. Just remember to start with proper positioning, avoid common mistakes, and engage the correct muscles. If you’re unsure about anything, don’t be afraid to seek guidance from a professional. Happy lifting!