The reverse deadlift, also known as the Romanian deadlift, is a hypertrophy exercise that builds strength in the posterior muscles, including the glutes, adductors, hamstrings, and spine.
When performed with the correct technique, reverse deadlifts strengthen the core and the lower body muscles simultaneously.
Unlike other quad-dominant workouts like deadlifts and leg presses that put weight in front of the knee, reverse deadlifts focus most of the physical work on the muscle groups that aid knee and hip extension from the rear of the knee. Reverse deadlifts are often viewed as accessory lifts with sub-maximal weights.
Also known as: Romanian Deadlifts
Targeted Muscles: Hamstrings, Glutes. Spine, Lats
Required equipment: Barbell
Exercise Mechanics: Compound
Exercise Type: Hypertrophy
Difficulty Level: Intermediate
- Assume a standing position with your feet hip-distance apart and bend your knees slightly, with a barbell set in front of you.
- Hinge forward with your hips, keeping your spine straight as you move your torso towards the floor. Grab the barbell with your hands shoulder-width apart, planting your deltoids back to secure your spine. Tighten your core and look down and slightly forth to avoid hyperextension.
- Squeeze your glutes, core, and hamstrings and drive your feet into the floor to assume a standing posture. Lift the weight up close to your upper thighs. Contract your glutes and lock out your hips at the top of the rep.
- Repeat the motion by lowering the weight at some point between your knees and toes, upper body parallel to the ground while keeping a neutral back, your core engaged, and your knees slightly bent.
- Repeat for the recommended sets of reps. Aim for 3-5 sets of 6-10 reps with moderate weight.
- Signal yourself to “feel the ground” using your feet. You want to ensure that your body weight is evenly distributed to your knees to maintain stability.
- Contract your glutes hard as you go up. When you reach the bottom of the rep, you will have moved your hips quite far behind. Therefore, you will have to engage your glutes to raise your hips back to the starting position.
- Hinge with your hips assertively. Doing this will activate your hamstrings and glutes more.
- Engage your lats to the maximum to keep the barbell on your thighs and prevent you from curving your back.
MUSCLES WORKED BY REVERSE DEADLIFTS
Reverse deadlifts primarily target the hamstrings due to the knee flexion all through the workout. Ensure you feel the hamstring tension as you reach the lift’s lowering phase to ensure that you’re performing with the correct technique and developing your muscles to the maximum.
Being a hinging movement, reverse deadlifts target the glutes via hip extension. It is ideal for squeezing the glutes at the top of each rep to maximize compound muscle engagement, development, and strength.
Reverse deadlifts build overall back strength since you have to keep your torso rigid and back flat throughout the entire motion range. As you lower the weight back down, be sure to resist spinal flexion and rounding your shoulders to prevent injuries.
BENEFITS OF REVERSE DEADLIFTS
Below are a few reverse deadlift workouts to help you understand why you need to include this exercise in your workout routine.
INCREASED HAMSTRING MASS
Reverse deadlifts primarily target the hamstrings. Meaning it can build muscle mass (Hypertrophy). Advanced hamstring hypertrophy can lead to increased muscle size, power and strength.
MORE PULLING STRENGTH
Many strength and powerlifters do heavier reverse deadlifts instead of conventional deadlifts to advance the glute and back mass as well as hamstring strength while not controlling loading on the lower back as a result of lower loading potentials.
IMPROVED ATHLETIC PERFORMANCE
You can immensely improve your athletic performance with reverse deadlifts. This exercise trains the rear chain, which increases power significantly and improves your running speed as well as your overall leg strength.
APPLICATION IN LIFTING WORKOUTS
Olympic weightlifters and CrossFit athletes include reverse deadlifts in their workout routines to boost their back and hamstring strength and muscle hypertrophy. Athletes advance their positional power and maintain their workout techniques better in maximal lifts
ALTERNATIVES TO REVERSE DEADLIFTS
The Nordic curl, also known as Inverse leg curl, is a lower body exercise that activates your hamstring muscles using your body weight. Nordic curls increase muscle strength, boost athletic performance
- Put a cushion or a pad on the floor and kneel on it. Ensure your knees and ankles are in line with your knees
- Secure the back of your feet using a barbell. You can alternatively get a partner to assist you.
- Keep your head neutral, your arms on your sides, and your shoulders directly over your hips.
- Inhale and put pressure on your core, hamstrings, and glutes.
- Lower your body gently towards the floor. Keep moving downwards until you cannot sustain complete body control. To complete the remaining motion range at this point, you can put your hands on the floor or resume the starting position without using your hands.
- Rise back up until your shoulders are directly over your hips.
- Breathe out and repeat the process until you get the desired set of reps.
MISTAKES TO AVOID WHEN PERFORMING REVERSE DEADLIFTS
IMPARTIAL MOTION RANGE
Performing through an impartial range is one big mistake most people make when doing reverse deadlifts. Many people often lower the bar to the knee level before resuming the starting position. This is technically a cheat. The shortened motion range aims to keep your back straight, which is essential. However, you have an untapped potential to execute the workout correctly through a full motion range. Correct this by beginning the drill with a heavy stretch on the hamstrings by doing the exercise from top to down, allowing you to lower the bar to the floor.
USING A VERY LIGHT LOAD
The reverse deadlift is not often used as a feature lift; therefore, people don’t pull it with heavy loads like those you’d use in conventional lifts. Consider changing your mindset if you want ideal results.
Replacing the reverse deadlift with a regular deadlift will blast your hamstrings! Add the weight a little bit to advance the workout size and strength gains. You won’t lift as heavy as you would with standard reverse deadlifts, but the difference will not be that great.
Reverse deadlifts are an essentially important general body workout that is key for hypertrophy. This workout defines and tones your muscles and has several health benefits.
Reverse deadlifts can be hard on a beginner, but the resulting body physique and strength will make the drill worth the work. Therefore, if you want to achieve optimum results from this exercise, include it in your routine. Ensure you establish the correct technique and always lift the appropriate weight.
You’ll do great!