In this quick video, we’ll cover the differences between the Romanian deadlift (RDL) and the straight leg deadlift (SLDL). After the video, you’ll know how each one can benefit your training, if you need either or both, and how to program each exercise into your current routine.
If you’d like to screenshot the differences and/or save this video and blog for later, I’ll list them here:
This exercise begins at the mid-thigh. So, carefully pick up the weight with a flat back and neutral spine, and slowly lower the weight, keeping it close to your body.
This exercise begins at the floor. Set your feet to shoulder-width apart, keep soft knees and pick up the bar/dumbbells with an overhand grip.
Expect the RDL to hit the hamstrings and glutes primarily.
Expect the SLDL to hit the lower back and glutes primarily.
While you can build strength with both exercises, the RDL is geared more towards hypertrophy.
This exercise is excellent for building strength and for improving your deadlift pull.
Range of motion, or ROM –
The range of motion for the RDL is shorter, mid-thigh to mid-shin.
Range of motion here is longer – floor to mid-thigh.
In summary, use the RDL for building glutes and hamstrings. The shorter range of motion and constant tension are excellent here. The SLDL can of course build muscle, but is typically used more for building strength and for improving the amount of weight you can deadlift.
Personally, I use both. Though I don’t do traditional deadlifts, I find that the extended range of motion of the SLDL gives my hamstrings a great loaded stretch and helps with maintaining variety in my training.
What’s your favorite? What other exercises would you like to see compared?
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