Jen Rulon

Today, let me give you my “Rulon Rules” to Romanian Deadlift. About a month ago, I chatted about deadlifts.  Romanian Deadlifts (RDL) are a great way to work the posterior chain, which helps us move forward. If we strengthen the posterior chain, this will help us run faster, which we all need heading into our triathlon season.

What is the difference between a deadlift and a Romanian Deadlift? The deadlift is when the athlete starts the movement by picking the bar up from the ground and bringing it to their hips. The RDL is when the athlete begins the move at full extension in the hip and lowers it slightly past the knees.

What muscles do RDL’s work?

  • Gluteus Maximus

  • Hamstrings

  • Erector spinae – Stabilizers of the lower back

  • Adductor Magnus

Here is the video of Nick from “The Tribe” Strength and Conditioning Gym doing RDL’s:

Here are “Five Key Points to a Romanian Deadlift”:

  1. Hand position for an RDL: Either both hands are pronated (palm facing you), or one hand is supinated (palm away from you), and the other is pronated.

  2. Shoulders, hips, and feet are all aligned with the knees slightly bent.

  3. Starting movement: Make sure you are in full hip extension beginning the movement. See the photo below. (When picking up the bar to start the RDL movement, remember to use the legs, just how you learned to pick up a bar from a deadlift.)

  4. Lowering Phase: The bar stays close to the body, as the hip is “hinging” or bending at the waist and sitting your hip back to lower the bar. See the photo below.

  5. How low does the bar go? Slightly past the knees or lower as far as your flexibility will allow BUT do not touch the bar to the ground, as this would be considered a Stiff-Legged Deadlift.

The biggest takeaway with the Romanian Deadlift is the importance of keeping that bar close to the body and NOT using your back to move the bar. We want the gluts and the hamstrings to be firing.

There are many different ways to rock out an RDL with a bar, kettlebell, and dumbbells. You can also do single-legged RDL as you get used to the regular movement above.

I hope this gives you an alternative option for RDL’s. Comment below if you have any questions. 

AUTHOR: Jen Rulon

I have been coaching triathletes, runners, and cyclists for over 21+ years; I received my Master's Degree in Kinesiology with an emphasis in Exercise Science. And as you may have learned, there is more to life than swimming, biking, and running. It is a lifestyle, and I am here to help you cross that finish line with a smile, whether it is an Ironman Triathlon or the Ironman of Life. You can find my knowledge shared in Triathlete Magazine, Runners World, on the TEDx Stage, the Health and Wellness Expo in San Antonio, TX, Southwest Research Institute Human Performance Summit, Training Peaks Workshops, "Self Motivation Strategies for Women" on Amazon, Men's Journal Online, and the New York Times. I also practice what I preach—she's a 15x Ironman Triathlete who participated in the Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii, on October 14, 2017.

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