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February 4, 2021

Easy Deadlift vs Romanian Deadlift Form Breakdown

deadlift form breakdown RDL vs Conv with Annie Miller

Romanian deadlift and Conventional deadlift are often used, and/or referred to as the same movement. But the fact is they’re not. And I am here to help you never mistake them again.

ALSO – a stiff leg deadlift is not the same as RDL! Stiff is locked out, RDL is soft bend in the knee. This is another common misuse of the terms and exercises.

In reference to Romanian deadlifts and conventional deadlifts, both are hinging patterns but…

Conventional Deadlift has more knee flexion. Hips and shoulder rise together and it uses the quads in addition to posterior chain (upper back, low back, glutes, and hamstrings). Conventional deadlifts might just be what most people think of when they hear “deadlift” or use “deadlift” alone, without further distinction.

The Romanian Deadlift…Well, hello glutes and hamstrings. This bitch is all posterior chain. You may even have a negative shin angle (meaning they are slightly tilting back, vs being vertical or positive, over your toes). But certainly vertical. An RDL is strictly a hip hinge – small bend in the knees.

See video distinction below from Instagram

Deadlift vs RDL Movement Comparison

It is important to note that these two movements have the same BASIS of cueing. Truly the knee bend is what drives most of the differences.

In both the RDL and the Conventional deadlift:

  • Weight stays over mid foot.
  • Feet shoulder width or less.
  • Tight lats, big back.
  • Ribs over hips.
  • Looking for + feeling tension in the hamstrings.

I personally love using RDLs as accessory work to deadlifts. B stance (like a kickstand) are my JAM. Single leg RDLs are also great, but definitely more advanced.

If you had to only choose one for the rest of your life which would you choose – Conventional Deads, or Romanian Deads? Tell me in the comments below!

Interested in more #educatedgains in the gym? Want to enjoy your lifts? See which program may be best for you!

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I'm an adventurous introvert from Vancouver, Washington who lives on sleep + "me time." I'm a lover of lifting weights, dinosaurs, real talk and traveling with my husband. I am here to help you move better, lift more, bust the myths of the fitness industry, and inspire you to love the process.

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