HOW TO DO IT
ROMANIAN DEADLIFT: Hold a medium-weight (8-15 lbs) dumbbell in each hand with your hands about shoulder-width apart and positioned in front of your hips with your arms straightened (elbows not locked). Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and knees slightly bent. Inhale as you hinge forward at the hips, lengthening your torso forward to almost 90 degrees. When the dumbbells are roughly next to your knees (palms facing your knees), engage your gluteals (butt) and hamstrings (backs of the thighs) to stand back up, lifting your torso back to the starting position.
STEP-UP + BICEP CURL: Holding the same or slightly lighter set of dumbbells in your hands, step your right foot up onto a step or plyometric box and lift your left knee towards your chest Bend your elbows and curl the dumbbells up towards your shoulders (bicep curl) as you step up. As you step your left foot back down to the ground (followed by your right foot) lower the dumbbells back down to your sides. Complete one set on your right leg before switching to the left leg, or alternate right and left legs by each repetition.
CRUNCH: Put the dumbbells down. Lie down on a mat or step with your feet on the ground approximately hip-distance apart. Interlace your fingers behind your head, keeping your elbows pointed out to each side as much as possible. Using your abs, lift your head, upper back, and shoulder blades off the floor. Exhale as you lift your shoulder blades off the floor, curling slightly through your upper back and looking just over your knees. Inhale as you lower your upper back to the ground, keeping the head lifted off the ground throughout the set.
HOW TO KNOW IF YOU'RE DOING IT RIGHT
During the Romanian deadlift, you should feel your gluteals (butt), hamstrings (back side of thighs), and low back working. To maintain correct form, keep a slight bend in your knees, gaze at the floor to keep the crown of your head long, and engage your abdominals to keep your back flat throughout the exercise. During the step-up, you should feel your gluteals, hamstrings, and quadriceps (front side of thighs) working. To maintain correct form, keep your chest lifted and abdominals engaged, and step your entire foot onto the step. During the toe reaches, you should feel your abdominals working. To maintain correct form, focus on extending and reaching your arms upward, as opposed to just curling up towards your opposite foot. You should feel like you cannot do another repetition at the end of each exercise during each set. If you are able to easily continue any of the exercises, try one of the progressions below.
HOW TO MAKE IT EASIER
Do the Romanian deadlift with a lighter body bar or in a staggered stance (one foot in front of the other). Lower the height of the step and/or the weight of the dumbbells for step-up + bicep curls. Do regular crunches with your feet on the ground instead of toe reaches.
HOW TO CHALLENGE YOURSELF OR PROGRESS
If you can do 2 additional repetitions on any of the exercises, you may want to challenge yourself more. To make the Romanian deadlift harder increase the weight of the body bar or balance on one foot during the exercise. To make the step-up + bicep curl harder, increase the height of the step or weight of the dumbbells. To make the toe crunches harder, work on keeping the legs as straight as possible and try to reach your fingers closer to your toes by lifting your shoulders higher off the ground.
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ORDER OF MOVES
- ROMANIAN DEADLIFT
- STEP-UP + BICEP CURL
SETS & REPS & TIME
Do 15 to 30 Romanian Deadlifts; 10 to 30 Step-Up + Bicep Curl combos on each leg; and 10 to 30 Crunch. Do more repetitions of each exercise if you are using lighter weight, and fewer repetitions if you are using heavier weight. Repeat the circuit (workout) 3 to 5 times.
WEIGHT OR RESISTANCE (IF APPLICABLE)
Medium-weight dumbbells (5- to 15-lbs)
two medium-weight dumbbells (5- to 15-lbs); step or plyometric box; ma.
DON'T DO THIS MOVE IF
Modify the Romanian Deadlift if you have low back problems. Adjust the height of the step or plyometric box if you have knee problems.