The Romanian Deadlift (RDL) is a good fill in for your star player, the squat.
I was a role player with the Boston Red Sox during 2003-2006. I usually started versus a tough lefty, I pinch ran, played defense and generally kept the line moving as necessary. The Red Sox and their fans knew that our club was best with Manny Ramirez in the lineup, but when he needed a break, I was there to step in for him.
The squat is the weight lifting equivalent of Manny. I’ve decided first to implement the small change of replacing squats with a pinch hitter, the RDL, for a few games.
If you read my post from a few days ago, you know my body has been telling me that I need a few days off from the rigors of heavy squatting. I’m considering several alternatives to my workout routine for the short term. Because I haven’t quite figured out what the bigger picture is yet, I’m making this slight alteration.
The RDL is a modified deadlift that focuses on the hamstrings, but also trains the glutes, back and forearms. Keep in mind, this exercise is no long-term replacement for the mighty squat. I’m simply implementing it while my body’s tissues repair themselves.
Here are your steps:
- Put a barbell in front of you on the ground or rack and grab it using a pronated (palms facing down) grip that a little wider than shoulder width. .
- Maintain an extremely slight bend in your knees and keep the shins vertical, hips back and back straight. Your starting position is now intact.
- Keeping your back and arms completely straight at all times, use your hips to lift the bar as you stand up.
- Once you are standing completely straight up, lower the bar by pushing the hips back, only slightly bending the knees, unlike when squatting.
- Repeat for the desired amount of repetitions (I stick with my 5 x 5).
This video is a good example of what an RDL should look like.
As with any unfamiliar exercise, I recommend extraordinarily light weight until you learn proper form.
Remember that every team needs its dominant player and your squat is that athlete. But that guy will certainly land on the disabled list from time to time, and during those times, you’ll be glad you have the RDL.