10 Differences Between rdls and deadlifts

RDLS vs Deadlifts: Understanding the Key Differences

Welcome to our comprehensive guide on the differences between Romanian Deadlifts (RDLs) and conventional Deadlifts. Both exercises are incredibly effective for developing strength and power, but they differ in terms of technique, muscle activation, and overall benefits. In this article, we will dive into the specifics of each exercise, provide examples, discuss their uses, and ultimately highlight the key differences between RDLs and Deadlifts. So let’s get started!

What is/are RDLs?

RDLs, or Romanian Deadlifts, are a variation of the conventional Deadlift exercise. This movement primarily targets the posterior chain, which includes the hamstrings, glutes, and lower back muscles. The main distinction of RDLs is the focus on the eccentric (lowering) phase of the movement, making it a valuable exercise for improving hamstring strength and flexibility.

Examples of RDLs

Here are a couple of examples of how to perform RDLs correctly:

  • Barbell RDLs: Stand with your feet hip-width apart and grasp a barbell with an overhand grip. Keep your knees slightly bent and hinge forward at the hips, pushing your glutes backward. Lower the barbell towards the ground while maintaining a neutral spine. Return to the starting position by driving your hips forward.
  • Dumbbell RDLs: Hold a pair of dumbbells with an overhand grip in front of your thighs. Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Similar to the barbell RDLs, hinge forward at the hips, keeping your knees slightly bent. Lower the dumbbells towards the ground while maintaining a neutral spine. Return to the starting position by driving your hips forward.

What is/are Deadlifts?

Deadlifts are a compound exercise that primarily targets the posterior chain muscles, including the lower back, glutes, hamstrings, and traps. Unlike RDLs, Deadlifts incorporate both a concentric (lifting) and eccentric phase, making it a powerful movement for overall strength and muscle development.

Examples of Deadlifts

Here are two common variations of Deadlifts:

  • Conventional Deadlifts: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and grasp the barbell with an overhand grip. Keep your spine neutral and your chest up as you push your hips back, slightly bending your knees. Extend your hips and knees to lift the barbell off the ground until you are standing upright. Reverse the movement to lower the barbell back down.
  • Sumo Deadlifts: Position yourself with your feet wider than shoulder-width apart and your toes pointing outward. Grasp the barbell with a shoulder-width grip inside your legs. Keep your chest up and your back straight as you lift the barbell by extending your hips and knees. Lower the weight back down by reversing the movement.

Uses of RDLs

RDLs offer several benefits, including:

  • Improving hamstring strength and flexibility
  • Developing glute muscles
  • Strengthening the lower back
  • Enhancing overall hip mobility

Uses of Deadlifts

Deadlifts provide a wide range of benefits, such as:

  • Building full-body strength and power
  • Strengthening the posterior chain
  • Improving grip strength
  • Promoting better posture and core stability

Differences Table

Difference Area RDLs Deadlifts
Technique RDLs focus on the eccentric phase with emphasis on hamstring stretch and control. Deadlifts involve both a concentric and eccentric phase, incorporating the full range of motion.
Muscle Activation RDLs primarily activate the hamstrings, glutes, and lower back. Deadlifts target the entire posterior chain, including hamstrings, glutes, lower back, and traps.
Primary Purpose RDLs are designed to improve hamstring strength and flexibility. Deadlifts focus on overall strength and power development.
Grip Position RDLs often use a pronated or mixed grip. Deadlifts commonly use an overhand grip.
Bar path RDLs follow a vertical bar path close to the body. Deadlifts follow a straight or slightly arched bar path away from the body.
Weightlifting Application RDLs are frequently used as assistance exercises for weightlifting movements. Deadlifts are often used as a standalone strength exercise or in powerlifting competitions.
Lower Back Involvement RDLs place less stress on the lower back due to the reduced weight and focus on the eccentric phase. Deadlifts place significant stress on the lower back due to the heavy loads and full range of motion.
Eccentric Control RDLs require strict eccentric control to maintain proper form and allow for adequate hamstring stretch. Deadlifts require controlled eccentric lowering of the weight to prevent injury and maintain form.
Range of Motion RDLs typically have a shorter range of motion, emphasizing the eccentric phase and hamstring stretch. Deadlifts have a longer range of motion, involving a full lift from the ground to an upright position.
Injury Risk RDLs have a lower risk of lower back injuries due to the controlled nature of the movement. Deadlifts carry a higher risk of lower back injuries, especially with improper form or excessive weight.


In summary, RDLs and Deadlifts are both incredible exercises with unique benefits and applications. RDLs are ideal for targeting hamstring strength and flexibility, while Deadlifts excel at developing overall strength and power. Understanding the differences between these exercises will allow you to choose the one that aligns best with your fitness goals and needs.

People Also Ask:

  • Q: Can I do RDLs instead of Deadlifts?
  • A: RDLs can be a great alternative to Deadlifts if you are looking to prioritize hamstring development or have certain physical limitations. However, Deadlifts offer comprehensive full-body benefits that may be missed with RDLs alone.

  • Q: Can Deadlifts replace RDLs?
  • A: While Deadlifts do engage the hamstrings to some extent, they do not specifically target hamstring flexibility and eccentric strength like RDLs. Therefore, Deadlifts alone may not be sufficient for addressing these specific areas.

  • Q: Should beginners start with RDLs or Deadlifts?
  • A: It is generally recommended for beginners to start with RDLs first to develop proper hinge mechanics and strengthen the posterior chain with a lighter load. Once form and technique are well-established, progression to Deadlifts can be made.

  • Q: Can RDLs and Deadlifts be done on the same day?
  • A: While it is possible to incorporate both RDLs and Deadlifts into the same training session, it may be more beneficial to focus on one variation per session to optimize technique, intensity, and muscle activation.

  • Q: How often should RDLs and Deadlifts be included in a training program?
  • A: The frequency of including RDLs and Deadlifts in a training program depends on individual goals, recovery abilities, and overall training volume. It is typically recommended to perform these exercises 1-3 times per week, with appropriate rest and recovery between sessions.

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