Two of the most common lagging areas for many weight trainers are the lower back and hamstrings. Because you can’t really physically see these body parts they’re often neglected. For anyone who is over 40 I don’t have to underline the importance of having a strong back, especially if you’re training with heavy weights. And as far as hamstrings go, pull your shorts up and do a side pose in the mirror. What’s missing? Although hamstrings are much smaller than the quads and glutes, having sizable hams really adds some width to your upper legs.
So what’s the best exercise to bring up these body parts? The Romanian deadlift, or stiff legged deadlift. The Romanian deadlift is a variation of the regular deadlift but you keep your legs fixed and rotate at the hips only. This takes the focus your quads and onto your hamstrings, glutes, lower back and upper back. It’s a huge all round strength and size exercise for those muscle groups. So how do you do a Romanian Deadlift. Let’s see…
How to do a Romanian Deadlift correctly:
This is a great exercise for displaying some of the worst exercise technique you’ll see. I have seen guys nearly break they’re back doing this, it’s crazy. So if this is your first shot at it, get the technique down backed before you load up the weight.
Especially important: technique rules over weight here, I can not stress that enough! A good stretch, slow motion, and squeeze will yield much better results that 20lbs more on the bar.
Grab the bar at slightly wider than shoulder width grip and stand straight up with the bar against your front. Slightly bend the knees. Arch your back and pull your shoulder blades back. This is your starting position. like shown below. Some people like to use a belt, this can be a good thing as it gives you something to squeeze into with your lower back, but it’s definitely not essential.
I chose this image becuase the woman in the picture goes right down with the bar. This is really important as you want to stretch the hamstrings right out, then use them to pull the weight back up. Notice her back is perfectly straight, never left your back arch. This is the worst thing you can possibly do and might lead you to some serious back injuries. Also notice how the weight is close to her legs, not out in front. This will also cause you added back pressure and will prob lead you to an injury once you pile some weight on the bar.