Variations of Romanian Deadlift
There are several different variations of the Romanian deadlift exercise. While they are all similar, each works the hamstrings and glutes slightly differently.
Barbell Romanian Deadlift
This variation is performed with a standard straight bar. And it’s the most common way to do the exercise.
The barbell allows your body to move freely through the range of motion. Yet your arms are connected for stability.
Romanian Deadlift Smith Machine
A smith machine is a barbell on a set of rails. And it’s usually counterweighted so it’s lighter than a standard barbell.
The benefit of a smith machine is that it dictates the direction of travel, making it easier for beginners. However, it can also impede your natural range of motion.
In addition, some smith machines have stops at the bottom which further limit the range of motion. So you may have to stand on a box or platform.
Dumbbell Romanian Deadlift
Using dumbbells allows you to isolate each arm independently. Meaning you have to use more stabilizers in your back as you do the exercise.
In addition, a DB Romanian deadlift allows more freedom in range of motion. Since there’s no bar in front of you.
Single-Leg Romanian Deadlift
A one-leg Romanian deadlift is also performed with a dumbbell. Or you can use a kettlebell.
The technique is the same as a standard RDL, except you bend forward on a single leg at a time. Usually doing multiple reps before switching to the other leg.
This variation is excellent for working small stabilizers in the hips, hamstrings, and glutes. But it requires very good balance.
Cable Romanian Deadlift
Lastly, is the cable Romanian deadlift with a low pulley. You’ll use a bar or rope attachment to hold the cable in front of you.
As you push your hips back the cable will extend in front of you. Then pull it back towards you as you squeeze your glutes.
The benefit of this variation is even tension on the glutes and hamstrings. But the resistance is relatively low.