Barbell vs Smith Machine Romanian Deadlift
The main difference between the barbell and Smith machine Romanian deadlift is how the bar moves.
The bar can move up/down, left/right, and front/back with the traditional barbell. However, the Smith machine limits the movement to up and down only.
Therefore, you don’t need to expend as much effort balancing the bar on the Smith machine.
Smith Machine Romanian Deadlift Benefits & Limitations
One benefit of the Smith machine is that it limits the degrees of freedom. And the Smith machine bar weight is less than an Olympic barbell, so it’s easier for beginners.
In addition, the stability of the Smith machine puts more of the load on the hamstrings and glutes, which can help to increase muscle size and strength.
Of course, the Smith machine is not without drawbacks. For example, it can be trickier to line up your body to ensure proper form.
- Can start with less than 45 lbs of resistance
- More accessible for beginners to learn the RDL movement
- Puts more load on the larger muscles
- Movement path is not as natural as free weights
- Must position body properly since the bar doesn’t move in all directions
How To Do Romanian Deadlift on Smith Machine
Before beginning the exercise, step up to the bar so that it’s grazing your thighs. Then, with your feet shoulder-width apart, grasp the bar with an overhand grip just outside your thighs.
Stand up with your arms, legs, and back straight. From this starting position, bend at the hips and slowly lower the bar down the front of your legs.
As you lower the bar, bend your knees slightly while keeping your back straight. Once the bar passes just below your knees, squeeze your hamstrings and drive your hips forward.
Return to the starting position and repeat this movement for the desired number of reps.
To recap, here are the step-by-step directions:
- Stand in front of the bar with feet shoulder-width
- Grab the bar with an overhand grip just outside the thighs
- Stand with arms, legs, and back straight
- Push your hips back and bend your knees slightly to lower the bar
- Keep your back flat as you lower the bar just past your knees
- Squeeze your hamstrings and drive your hips forward to raise the bar
- Repeat for the desired number of reps