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Deadlift vs romanian deadlift

Posted by Pascal Landshoeft

Dec 4, 2018 9:30:00 AM

Midsection of female friends with hands on hip while standing in gym

Deadlift vs romanian deadlift


The conventional deadlift and Romanian deadlift are similar. Generally, the conventional deadlift is considered the main lift. The Romanian deadlift can be interesting to specifically build up your lower back.

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What are your goals


Why do you compare the conventional deadlift with the Romanian deadlift? Do you want to get strong or pack on muscle? Which other deadlift variations do you know? All of these questions are important for your success. They all go back to why you are actually training. You will find three main groups of goals in fitness:


  • Looks 
  • Performance 
  • Health 


If you are mainly about looks you will likely chase an ideal set by the media. You might want to look like Thor or the rock. It helps that this seemingly attracts the other sex. In addition, there is also evidence out there that is perceived as attractive makes you more successful. To obtain you will abstain. Abstain from most entire food groups. Alcohol, sugar, and starch are probably not your friends anymore. You can also cheat. Most of us can not afford the drugs or necessary surgery. You can also become addicted to that stuff so I would not recommend it. 


Performance is usually measured against a benchmark. Depending on your sport this can be a 100-yard sprint or log press. If you are into performance your aim focus will be on training with intensity. Diet will support this but not be the main focus. You want more weight on the bar. You want to shave off these extra couples of milliseconds. One pull-up more than yesterday is pure bliss to you. Pushing yourself to the limit regularly will make you grow mentally and physically. Or it will break you. High performance is not always healthy contrary to common belief. 


If you are mainly into health you will not care that much about looks and performance. Your main interest will be a balance. Yoga, meditation and healthy eating will be your main focus. In return youvwiölnhave less stress but probably never reach excellence in a sport or on the front cover of a magazine. 


Whatever rocks your boat it is very helpful to reflect and find the right balance for you. Ask yourself which of these areas is most important to you. This will help with picking the right program and to get results. 


The conventional deadlift


The conventional barbell deadlift is one of the most iconic lifts out there. Together with the squat and bench press, it builds the ingredients for the sport of powerlifting. When you talk about a deadlift the conventional deadlift is what most people have in mind.


The movement starts with the barbell in front of you. Square up with the barbell and find a strong footing. From there grab the bar with both hands. Build tension in your body and pull the slack outbid the bar. Initiate the pull and bring the bar to your hips. Set the barbell down and repeat. These are the basics of the barbell. If you are interested in more detail come back to this blog or read the articles at the end. 


The biggest advantages of the conventional deadlift are its comprehensiveness and manliness. There are only a few strength exercises which train your body as complete as the deadlift. This is why it has become a lot more popular as of late. If you can pull quite a bit of weight, that usually gives you bragging rights. There is something very primal about lifting a heavy ass weight off the ground. 


The biggest disadvantages of the conventional deadlift are its injury risk and lack of explosiveness. A poorly performed deadlift can injure your spine. The deadlift is also not the best pick when you try to get more explosive. The clean would be a lot better to achieve this. 


The Romanian deadlift


The Romanian deadlift is a lesser known variation of the conventional deadlift. It is basically the same movement with one big exception. You keep your legs as straight as possible. The Romanian deadlift should be done with less weight than the conventional deadlift. 


The main advantages of doing this are better activation of the back and more flexibility. If you can pull a weight Romanian you most certainly will pull it conventional. The Romanian deadlift also stretches the lower back more which can prevent lower back pain. 


The biggest disadvantages of the Romanian deadlift are its higher injury risk compared to conventional pulling and demotivation. The Romanian deadlift restricts mobility in the back. You put yourself in a more disadvantaged position to pull the weight. Training with less weight than you could move conventional can also be mentally demanding. 


Which one is better, the conventional or the Romanian deadlift


Straight out, I am not a huge fan of the Romanian deadlift. I think sumo and trap bar deadlift are great accessories to conventional barbell deadlifts. They are more fun to perform and put less stress on the back. From a risk/reward point of view trap bar and sumo just makes more sense. 


The only use for Romanian deadlifts I see is for Bodybuilders who want to build up their lower back. High reps with low weight should do the trick for this 


Further reading




Topics: Lift stronger, Deadlift, Fitness, Strength