Conventional Deadlift vs. Romanian Deadlift: What is the Difference?

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Author Name: Lucas Cook
Date: Wednesday January 18, 2023

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There are many variations of the deadlift. The conventional deadlift vs the Romanian deadlift (RDL) is the two most common variations. Both of these options involve similar muscles but depend on the technique. More activation can be targeted in some regions of the legs. No matter what choice you make, performing these exercises correctly will maximize your strength gains. 

Deadlift vs. Romanian Deadlift: What is the Difference?

There are some key differences between the deadlift and RDL. The difference between the two is that the deadlift starts on the floor and the RDL starts from the standing position. The deadlift’s range of motion is concentric, which is an upward motion and the RDL is eccentric, which is a downward motion. You will want to focus on pushing the floor away while deadlifting but pull the hips through while RDLing. 

The form differs since the shoulders should be way farther in front of the bar for RDLs compared to slightly over it for deadlifts. Both exercises involve hinging at the hips, although the deadlift relies on both the knees and hips, while the RDL’s entire range of motion is from the hips. You may want to choose a variation depending on your goals. The deadlift involves more quad activation over the RDL and targets more glutes and hamstrings. 

What are the Benefits of The Deadlift?

Whether you’re an athlete or enjoy training for your health, building muscle and strength is important in life. Some benefits of the deadlift include building muscle and strength in the hips, thighs and back, improving body awareness, coordination and balance and increasing and preventing a decline in bone mineral density.

A significant benefit of the deadlift is that it is a compound movement. It targets many muscles in the body, but the quad is the primary muscle group that is recruited more in the deadlift than in the RDL. Here are all the muscles used in the deadlift. 

  • Quads
  • Glutes
  • Adductor
  • Hamstrings
  • Erectors
  • Lats
  • Traps
  • Rhomboids
  • Abdominal 

What are the Benefits of The RDL?

The RDL is another compound movement with excellent benefits similar to the deadlift. It includes glute and hamstring hypertrophy, increased hip extension strength and an easy method to progress from. The muscles used are similar to the ones already listed from deadlifts. However, the glutes and hamstrings are activated to a more significant extent. Depending on your goals, you can choose which variations suit you best. 

Which Lift Is Right For You?

The RDL may be a better option if you start to train. The main reason is that it introduces you to the idea of deadlifting. It is essential to master the hip hinge movement before jumping into a deadlift. It can cause serious problems such as back injuries and more if not properly learned.

The RDL can usually start with lighter loads compared to the deadlift. This is a more beginner-friendly workout and can build the lower back and hips. At the end of the day, each lift will fit very well into a routine. It is best to consider the benefits and disadvantages of each to fit into your fitness routine, 

What’s the Difference Between a Deadlift and a Romanian Deadlift?

Besides the conventional deadlift and RDL, there are many variations you can try out. One may suit you better due to your body limitations and strength training goals. No matter what they are, choose which one you will enjoy progressing in the gym. 

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