Deadlifts and Romanian Deadlifts are excellent hinge moment forms of exercise. Both exercises are performed to target the lower body and strengthen the overall body. But both exercises put a different strain upon each part of the body muscles group. Therefore, understanding how to hinge and adequately engage the correct muscles is vast in both exercises.

If you are a trainee, at first, you will find Deadlifts and Romanian Deadlifts similar because both the exercise requires similarly lifting weight, but only after regular practicing, you will be able to know the exact difference between them. 

Deadlift’s and Romanian Deadlift’s movements involve pulling motion and lifting the weighted barbell off the ground. The Romanian Deadlift is a modification of the Deadlifts, which you can include in your workout routine for better results.

What is a Deadlift?

The Deadlift is known best for the best core-strengthening compound exercise, primarily targeting the body’s lower back. Deadlift includes lifting weight, squats, and bench pressing exercises. 

One should start with a lighter weight that can get lifted easily and allow one to focus on the techniques and body form until getting it perfect. The Deadlift is excellent for improving lean muscle mass, power, and strength of the entire body.

How to perform Deadlift?

  • The deadlift movements begin with placing your feet hip-width apart from each other, facing forward. 
  • Hinge at your hips slowly, bend your knees and place your hands along the bar — shoulder-width apart, keeping the arms straight. Take a deep breath and grab the bar. 
  • As the bar raises, it should run along your leg and keep your shoulder retracted as you engage the gluteals. You should feel the stretch as you perform the lifting.
  • Move your hips forward into the bar as you stand up. Hold on for a few seconds, squeeze your butt.
  • Slowly lower the barbell back down to the floor. Ensure to remain in control of the lift and make sure you keep the weight slowly and drop it on the floor. 
  • Repeat the exercise as instructed or three sets of 10-12 reps—a minute of rest in the middle of each set.

What is the Romanian Deadlift?

Romanian Deadlift’s main aim is to make a stronger core and butt. Romanian Deadlift is also known as RDL or stiff-leg Deadlift, a similar range of exercise to traditional Deadlift. 

The only difference between Deadlift and Romanian Deadlift is that Romanian Deadlift targets the hamstrings area more than Deadlifts which targeting the body’s lower back. As well, RDL is also working on the glutes and forearm flexors. 

The origin name of Romanian Deadlift came forward during the 1990 Olympics when a Romanian weightlifter Nicu Vlad performed his improvisation Deadlift technique in the Olympic training hall before the game. Since he is from Romania, thus the exercise is dubbed as Romanian Deadlift.

How to perform Romanian Deadlift?

  • To start the Romanian Deadlift, stand with your feet apart and slightly bend your knees. 
  • Hinge at your hips slowly, keeping your spine long, stretch your body as you place your hands along the bar with a wide shoulder distance. 
  • Grip the bar, take a deep breath, and lift the bar from the pins by extending the knees. 
  • You need to plugging the shoulders back and down to secure the spine and strengthen your core. Next, move towards your hips forwards and use your hamstrings to power back up to standing.
  • Make sure the knee position should be slightly bent throughout the moment, the weight should engage the core, and the torso should be positioned parallel to the ground while maintaining a flat back.
  • Depending on your flexibility, repeat the exercise (as per the instruction) by lowering the bar somewhere between your knees and toes.

Please note: Performing heavier lifts with an incorrect technique leaves you highly susceptible to sustaining injuries. Therefore, it is highly advisable to perform under supervision. In addition, it is recommended to wear a weightlifting belt to add some support to the lower back and minimize the risk of injury.

Deadlift vs. Romanian Deadlift 

Sr. No.

Movements Variations


Romanian Deadlift


The Start Position

It starts from the ground

It starts from the standing position


Concentric & Eccentric

It starts with concentric (the upward motion)

It starts with eccentric (the downward motion)


Push & Pull

Push off the ground with the knees

Pull from the hips



Kept slightly in front of the bar

Kept much further in front of the bar


Hip Hinge

Hinging from the hips

Stressing on pushing the hips back as the bar comes down



Uses more quad activation

Uses more glute and hamstring activation.

Benefits of Deadlift:

  1. Build a strong core 

Core stability is the primary target of the Deadlift movement. Therefore, actively performing Deadlifts helps to make the core stronger. 

  1. Burn more calories than any other exercise

The Deadlift works more muscles in the body than any other exercise, which helps in burning more calories.

  1. Improve body posture 

Deadlifts need a proper technique to perform. You need to keep your spine straight, hips mobile, and shoulder pressed back. Thus, a Deadlift helps in improving your posture by keeping your spine, hips, and shoulders in alignment.

Benefits of Romanian Deadlift: 

  1. Improves hamstring, lower back, and hip performance — muscular hypertrophy

The Romanian Deadlift enhances the hamstring, lower back, and glute performance because all the muscles are involved in the movements. It helps in the overall endurance and performance of the body, and he’s in less muscle fatigue.

  1. Stronger Hamstring

Unlike other body compound exercises, the primary focus of the Romanian Deadlift is developing hamstring strength. Besides being less prone to injury, a stronger hamstring helps you walk and run with ease, even in old age. 

  1. Alternative workout to Deadlift if you have a knee problem

Romanian Deadlift is one of the best alternatives for knee problems, and they want to include exercises in their routine. Traditional Deadlift has knee pressure while movement, but Romanian Deadlift transfers the pressure from the knee to the hamstring and hips. 

Which one is better — Deadlift vs. Romanian Deadlift

Both Deadlift and Romanian Deadlift help build more substantial muscles and helps prevent injury in the future by increasing the strength of the overall body muscles around ligaments and critical tendons. 

However, the Romanian Deadlift is better as the workout targets more muscles than the traditional Deadlift. For a beginner, it is advisable to train with the traditional Deadlift first and then move to the Romanian Deadlift after mastering it. 


Regardless of any Deadlift you choose — traditional or the Romanian Deadlift-both involved activating the multiple muscles in your body and increasing strength, stability, and balance. 

In the traditional Deadlift, all the major muscles of the lower body are targeted. In contrast, in Romanian Deadlift, in addition to the lower back muscle, it also works on the trapezius, abdominals, glutes, adductors, quadriceps, and hamstrings. In addition, the Romanian Deadlift engages in hamstrings more.

One should perform each of the workouts under a strict training program and supervision to avoid muscles injury and help you to serve a better purpose in your training goal. 

Nicolas Desjardins

Hello everyone, I am the main writer for SIND Canada. I’ve been writing articles for more than 10 years and I like sharing my knowledge. I’m currently writing for many websites and newspaper. All my ideas come from my very active lifestyle. I always keep myself very informed to give you the best information. In all my years as computer scientist made me become an incredible researcher. I believe that any information should be free, we want to know more every day because we learn everyday. You can contact me on our forum or by email at: [email protected].