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Difference between Deadlifts and Romanian Deadlifts

Difference between Deadlifts and Romanian Deadlifts

The deadlift and Romanian deadlift are both exercises that work the back, glutes, and hamstrings, but they are executed slightly differently. The main difference is that the RDL targets the hamstrings more than the deadlift does. Both exercises are great for overall strength and development, but if you’re looking to specifically target your hamstrings, then the RDL is your best bet.

What are Deadlifts?

Deadlifts are a type of strength training exercise that work the muscles in your back and legs. To do a deadlift, you start by standing with your feet hip-width apart and your knees slightly bent. Then, you bend down and grip the barbell with your hands shoulder-width apart. From there, you lift the barbell up until your hips and thighs are parallel to the ground, and then lower it back down to the starting position. Deadlifts can be done with either a barbell or dumbbells and they can be performed with either one arm or two arms. Deadlifts are an excellent exercise for building strength and muscle mass, and they can be adapted to suit any fitness level.

What are Romanian Deadlifts?

Romanian deadlifts are a type of strength training exercise that primarily targets the hamstring muscles. Unlike traditional deadlifts, which start with the barbell on the ground, Romanian deadlifts begin with the barbell already in your hands. To perform the exercise, you will need to hold a barbell with an overhand grip and stand with your feet hip-width apart. From there, bend at your hips and lower the barbell down your legs until it reaches your shin level. Be sure to keep your back straight and your core engaged throughout the movement. Once you reach the bottom of the lift, reverse the motion and return to the starting position. Romanian deadlifts can be performed with weights or without weights, making them an ideal exercise for all fitness levels.

Difference between Deadlifts and Romanian Deadlifts

Deadlifts and Romanian Deadlifts are both excellent compound exercises that target the posterior chain muscles. However, there are a few key differences between the two exercises.

  • Deadlifts are typically performed with a heavier weight, and the movement starts with the barbell on the ground. In contrast, Romanian Deadlifts are usually done with a lighter weight, and the movement starts with the barbell already lifted off the ground.
  • As a result, Deadlifts tend to be more effective for building overall strength, while Romanian Deadlifts are better for targeting specific muscle groups.
  • Another key difference is that Deadlifts require more coordination and balance, as you have to maintain a neutral spine throughout the entire range of motion.
  • In contrast, Romanian Deadlifts allow for a slight round in the lower back, which can make them a bit easier to perform.
  • Ultimately, both exercises are great for building strength and developing muscular endurance.
  • However, Deadlifts may be better for beginners, while Romanian Deadlifts may be better for experienced lifters who are looking to target specific muscle groups.


The deadlift is a compound movement that targets multiple muscle groups, including the glutes, hamstrings, and quads. Romanian deadlifts are a variation of the traditional deadlift that specifically emphasizes the hamstring muscles. Both exercises can be effective in building strength and size, but each has its own unique benefits. If you’re looking to target your hamstrings specifically, the Romanian deadlift is a great option. But if you want to work all of your major muscle groups, go for the classic deadlift.

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