MUSCLES IT WORKS
Gluteals (Butt), Hamstrings (Back of Upper Legs), Low Back
HOW TO DO IT
Hold a barbell, a body bar, or a dumbbell in each hand in front of your hips with your arms straightened (elbows not locked) and hands about shoulder-width apart. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your knees slightly bent. Inhale as you hinge forward at the hips, lengthening your torso forward to almost 90 degrees. When the weight is roughly next to your knees, engage your gluteals (butt) and hamstrings (back of thighs) to stand back up, lifting your torso back to the starting position.
SETS & REPS
Do 3 to 5 sets of 10 repetitions (reps).
Do 1 to 3 sets at 60 seconds per set.
WEIGHT OR RESISTANCE
8- to 15-lb. dumbbells; or a 15- to 24-lb. body bar or barbell. Most men will start at the upper end of the weight range; most women will start at the lower end.
Dumbbells, barbell, or body bar
DON'T DO THIS MOVE IF
you have low back problems or very tight hamstrings (back of upper legs).
HOW TO KNOW IF YOU'RE DOING IT RIGHT
You should feel your gluteal muscles (butt), hamstrings (back of your thighs), and low back working during this exercise. To maintain correct form, keep a slight bend in your knees, look at the floor to keep the top of your head long, and engage your abdominals to keep your back flat throughout the exercise. Do not round your back during this exercise. (Some people will have natural rounding in their back.)
HOW TO MAKE IT EASIER
If you feel low back pain during the exercise, do the Romanian deadlift using a staggered stance (one foot slightly in front of the other). You can also try other exercises, such as squats or lunges to target the gluteals and legs without the added challenge to the low back involved in performing a Romanian deadlift.
HOW TO CHALLENGE YOURSELF OR PROGRESS
If you can do 2 additional repetitions per set or complete 60 seconds without getting tired, consider adding repetitions, time, and/or sets. For example, instead of doing 10 repetitions for 3 sets, try 15 repetitions for 3 sets. To increase intensity without changing sets or time, try adding weight. You can also perform a single-leg Romanian deadlift by balancing on one leg for an entire set, then switching to balance on the other leg for the next set.
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