Dr. Alex Jimenez, El Paso's Chiropractor
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Romanian Deadlift Vs. Standard Deadlift: Comprehensive Guide

By Kyran Doyle In Training

Deadlifts are one of the best strength and mass building exercises that you can perform.

When performing the deadlift you are working more muscles than any other exercise, including the squat.

Deadlifts have many different variations and forms. In this article we are going to focus on the difference between the Romanian Deadlift and standard deadlifts.

There are lots of valid arguments as to which exercise is better in a Romanian Deadlift vs regular deadlift battle.

Keep reading to learn the differences.

Romanian Deadlift Vs. Standard Deadlift

The Romanian Deadlift is one of the most commonly used among the various deadlift techniques.

In fact a lot of people that think they are performing a deadlift are sometimes actually doing a Romanian Deadlift.

Both the conventional and Romanian Deadlifts are great strength and muscle building exercises.

Even though they are both deadlifts variations the setup, execution and muscles activated are different.

Here’s a quick video that highlights the differences in form and setup between the two.

Regular Deadlift

As the name suggests the deadlift is a strength training exercise that involves lifting dead weight.

The regular deadlift is one of the best total body exercises you can do as it works just about every fiber in your body.

The deadlift requires you to lift a weight off the ground and lower it back down again. Although it may sound simple there is a lot going on in the movement and incorrect form can cause injuries.

One of the most common causes for injury while deadlifting is rounding the back. Your lower back must stay neutral during the whole movement. Rounding your lower back during heavy deadlifts puts uneven pressure on your spine. Always lift with a neutral lower back, allowing for the natural inward curve of your lower spine.

romanian-deadlift-vs-deadlift 2
Original Image from Stack.com

Don’t try and rush to lift heavier weights. the quickest way to improve your deadlift is through correct form. By pulling more efficiently you can use more muscles and deadlift heavier. So start out practicing correct form and build your way up.

The best way to approach the exercise is to think as if you were leg pressing the floor as opposed to using your upper body to lift something. This will help you mentally focus on using your legs rather than your back (which can cause rounding) for the exercise.

The “dead” in deadlift stands for dead weight so each rep must start on the floor, from a dead stop.  Deadlifts are different to other exercises like the bench press or squat where the weight starts at the top. The deadlift movement starts from the bottom and and you pull the weight up then return it to the floor for one rep.

Here are Stronglifts 5 steps to proper deadlift form:

  1. Walk to the bar. Stand with your mid-foot under the bar. Your shins shouldn’t touch it yet. Put your heels hip-width apart, narrower than on Squats. Point your toes out 15°.
  2. Grab the bar. Bend over without bending your legs. Grip the bar narrow, about shoulder-width apart like on the Overhead Press. Your arms must be vertical when looking from the front.
  3. Bend your knees. Drop into position by bending your knees until your shins touch the bar. Do NOT let the bar move away from your mid-foot. If it moves, start from scratch with step one.
  4. Lift your chest. Straighten your back by raising you chest. Do not change your position – keep the bar over your mid-foot, your shins against the bar, and your hips where they are.
  5. Pull. Take a big breath, hold it and stand up with the weight. Keep the bar in contact with your legs while you pull. Don’t shrug or lean back at the top.

Lower the bar by moving your hips back while keeping your legs almost straight. Once the bar is past your knees, bend your legs more. The bar will land over your mid-foot, ready for your next rep.

Rest a second between reps while staying in the setup position. Take a deep breath, get tight and pull again. Every rep must start from a dead stop on the floor. Don’t bounce the weight off the floor or you can end up lifting with bad form.

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Dr. Alexander Jimenez ♛
Advanced Chiropractic & Wellness Authority ⚕ Healthcare Educator • Injury, Sciatica Specialist • 915-850-0900 📞
We Welcome You 👊🏻.
Purpose & Passions: I am a Doctor of Chiropractic specializing in progressive cutting-edge therapies and functional rehabilitation procedures focused on clinical physiology, total health, functional strength training and complete conditioning. We focus on restoring normal body functions after neck, back, spinal and soft tissue injuries.

We use Specialized Chiropractic Protocols, Wellness Programs, Functional & Integrative Nutrition, Agility & Mobility Fitness Training and Cross-Fit Rehabilitation Systems for all ages.

As an extension to dynamic rehabilitation, we too offer our patients, disabled veterans, athletes, young and elder a diverse portfolio of strength equipment, high performance exercises and advanced agility treatment options. We have teamed up with the cities premier doctors, therapist and trainers in order to provide high level competitive athletes the options to push themselves to their highest abilities within our facilities.

We’ve been blessed to use our methods with thousand of El Pasoans over the last 3 decades allowing us to restore our patients health and fitness while implementing researched non-surgical methods and functional wellness programs.

Our programs are natural and use the body’s ability to achieve specific measured goals, rather than introducing harmful chemicals, controversial hormone replacement, un-wanted surgeries, or addictive drugs. We want you to live a functional life that is fulfilled with more energy, positive attitude, better sleep, and less pain. Our goal is to ultimately empower our patients to maintain the healthiest way of living.

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