Do romanian deadlifts work lower back? The Romanian Deadlift’s Advantages

Deadlifts are one of the most significant strength workouts for a variety of reasons.

They necessitate and develop core strength, which aids in the development of safe motor patterns, trunk stabilisation, and coordination and agility. As a result, they’re popular among bodybuilders and athletes looking to improve their performance.

Deadlifts are also popular with folks who seek to make their daily routines easier. They can increase hip and knee range of motion, improve joint stability, and boost bone density.

Do romanian deadlifts work lower back
Do romanian deadlifts work lower back

Plus, they’re a flexible, adaptable exercise with a variety of variations that allow you to customise your workout to your specific needs, goals, and talents.

Continue reading to discover more about the various varieties of deadlifts, as well as the muscles they target, the benefits they provide, and the risks they pose.

What is a Romanian deadlift and how do you execute it?

What is a Romanian deadlift and how do you execute it?
  1. Hold the bar at hip height with an overhand grip.
  2. Maintain a straight spine by drawing your shoulders back.
  3. As you drop the bar towards your feet, push your hips back.
  4. To get into a standing position with the barbell in front of your thighs, press your hips forwards.

Traditional deadlift

Traditional deadlift

How to perform a standard deadlift

  1. Place the barbell in front of your feet with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. Expand your chest and slightly lower your hips.
  3. Bend forwards and grab the barbell with your hips hinged.
  4. Drop your hips back and press your feet firmly into the floor.
  5. To get into a standing position, push your hips forwards.
  6. Keep your legs, back, and knees straight while holding the bar slightly below your hips.
  7. Push your hips back, bend your knees, and squat down to place the bar on the floor to return to the beginning position.
  8. Perform 3–5 sets of 1–6 reps.

Instructions for appropriate form

It’s critical to avoid faults in technique and alignment. Here are some pointers on how to maintain appropriate form:

  • To polish your form, start with a light, comfortable load. Begin with a traditional 45-pound barbell. As you progress, gradually increase the weights on the sides.
  • Keep your chest wide to avoid curving your upper back outward and engage your core muscles to avoid rounding or overextending your lower back.
  • Instead of pulling the bar in into your thighs, let your arms drop down naturally.
  • To target your hamstrings, bend your knees slightly. This also aids in the prevention of knee strain.

The Romanian Deadlift’s Advantages

The Romanian Deadlift’s Advantages

To help coaches, trainers, and lifters understand why Romanian deadlifts are a crucial exercise for all lifters to incorporate in their strength training programmes, we’ve listed five benefits of the Romanian deadlift.

Mass in the Hamstrings

The hamstrings (described above in the muscles exercised portion) are targeted in the Romanian deadlift, which can assist develop muscle mass (hypertrophy).

Muscle size, strength, power application, and sports performance can all benefit from enhanced hamstring hypertrophy.

Pulling Power Increased

One of the advantages of doing Romanian deadlifts is that it improves pulling strength.

To build glute, back, and hamstring strength while not limiting loading on the lower back, many strength and power athletes may perform greater Romanian deadlifts in place of traditional deadlifts (due to less loading potentials and increase hamstring and glute isolation).

Weightlifting Movements (Application)

Weightlifting Movements (Application)

Olympic weightlifters (as well as CrossFit athletes) can incorporate Romanian deadlifts into their routines to improve back and hamstring strength, which is important for heavy snatches and cleans.

Weightlifters can improve their technique during near-maximal and maximal lifts by developing positional strength and muscle hypertrophy in the back and hamstrings.

Athletic Performance Enhancement

The Romanian deadlift can help athletes improve their athletic performance. The Romanian deadlift focuses on the posterior chain, which is important for increasing power, running performance, and total leg strength.

Romanian Deadlift Muscles Activated

Romanian Deadlift Muscles Activated

The Romanian deadlift strengthens many of the same muscles as a traditional deadlift, but it focuses more on the hamstrings and glutes. The key muscle groups worked when executing Romanian deadlifts for strength, hypertrophy, and muscular endurance training are listed below (in order of specificity).


Because of the flexed knee angle throughout the movement, the Romanian deadlift specifically stimulates the hamstrings. Throughout the exercise, the knees remain slightly freed yet fixed, which helps to stimulate the hamstring muscle.

To promote optimal mechanics and muscular development, make sure you feel the hamstrings being loaded during the eccentric (lowering) portion of the lift.


The Romanian deadlift, like most hinging activities, uses hip extension to target the glutes (buttocks and hips). Almost every athletic movement, such as squatting, deadlifting, and human locomotion, involves the glutes (running, jumping, sprinting, etc).

The Romanian deadlift can specifically target these powerful muscles. To maximise overall muscle activation, strength, and development, contract the glutes at the apex of the exercise.

Spinae Erector (Lower Back)

Spinae Erector (Lower Back)

During the Romanian deadlift, the erectors (also known as lower back muscles) are targeted muscle groups. New lifters may misinterpret lower back pain as a technical issue. It could, however, be attributed to greater muscle injury in the lower back.

When executing Romanian deadlifts, keep in mind that the lower back should not be the only muscle you feel. If you notice that you’re feeling your lower back muscles more than your hamstrings and glutes, it’s a good idea to check the workout how-to video to ensure you’re using proper form and technique.

Upper and Middle Back

Because the lifter must maintain a stiff torso and flat back throughout the full range of motion, the Romanian deadlift develops general back strength.

When a lifter reduces the weight, the back has to work harder to prevent spinal flexion and shoulder rounding. This is beneficial for lower back injury prevention, total back strength, and postural control for other activities such as squats, conventional and sumo deadlifts, snatch, and cleans.

The Romanian Deadlift should be performed by anyone.

The Romanian Deadlift should be performed by anyone.

The muscles used in the Romanian deadlift have a wide range of applications in strength, power, fitness, and formal sports, as well as improving hip function and muscular development in beginners.

Athletes who would benefit from integrating the Romanian deadlift in their training plans include the following.

Athletes of Strength and Power

The Romanian deadlift is an excellent auxiliary action for powerlifters aiming to improve back and hip strength in preparation for heavy deadlifts, low bar back squats, and better hamstring and glute isolation.

Athletes that practise functional fitness

Athletes that practise functional fitness

For general development of sport-specific strength and technique, CrossFit and competitive fitness athletes rely significantly on barbell strength and power activities (deadlifts, squats, snatches, and cleans).

Romanian deadlifts and variations can assist powerlifters, Strongman athletes, weightlifters, and CrossFit athletes, among others. Increased hamstring and back strength, improved hip patterning, and posterior chain engagement are just a few of the advantages.

Athletes in Sports

Football, baseball, softball, soccer, basketball, and other formal sports place a high value on posterior chain performance. Romanian deadlifts improve hamstring and back strength in athletes, which helps with human locomotion and movement (running, sprinting, jumping, etc.).

In addition to optimal hip flexion and extension patterns, strengthening hamstring and glute engagement can assist prevent injuries to the lower back, hips, and hamstrings.

Do romanian deadlifts work lower back: Review

Yes in my perspective, a low back workout. “Isolation” is a misconception; you can only use a muscle to your advantage, not isolate it. You’ll get sore calves and glutes if you perform enough bicep curls, so work it out.

Do romanian deadlifts work lower back: Review

The RDL is a hip hinge in any case, and the lumbar muscles support the spine and prevent trunk flexion. You should be getting hamstring stimulation, but if your hamstrings are highly developed, you may not feel it at first (or more than your low back anyway).

For example, have you ever competed as a sprinter or jumper? Is your back squat maximum greater than 85% of your deadlift maximum?

If either answer is yes, I would not be concerned about a form problem. It simply means that RDL isn’t an effective hamstring workout for you because your back fatigues before your hamstrings.

Keep in mind that I can’t sign off on your method because I can’t see it. I’m only suggesting that the fact that you felt RDL in your back rather than your hams does not mean you have poor technique.


Deadlifts are a basic full-body exercise that are an excellent addition to any strength-training programme. You’ll tone and define your muscles while also correcting any misalignments in your stance and posture, which will benefit your overall stance and posture.

While deadlifts are difficult, the work is well worth it because they improve entire body strength. When learning deadlifts, take your time to perfect your form and technique, and begin with a lesser load.

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Field John

If you are an avid believer in health and fitness and want to do something for your team, I can help. As the founder of Field Goals Fitness, I lead a collective of health and fitness professionals dedicated to helping Australians lead a more active and healthier lifestyle. With a warm, friendly, and supportive approach that gets results, I enjoy helping individuals & organisations achieve sustainable success with their health and fitness goals. Certifying as a Personal Trainer in 2009, was a turning point in my life. I had spent 14 years in the corporate world in Business Development roles and decided to take all that I had learnt in sales and marketing and start my own business.

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