• Jessica Kilinski

5 Common Romanian Deadlift Mistakes

Updated: Feb 18

The Romanian Deadlift (or RDL for short) is one of the best exercises to target the hamstrings and glutes, but only when done correctly. To get the most out of this movement and avoid injuring your back, avoid these five mistakes:


1. Shrugging/rounding the shoulders

You can fix this by spreading your collarbones wide while pulling your shoulders down slightly.




2. Looking up

This mistake leads to an excessive lower back arch, which can put you at risk of injury. Keep your chin tucked and shift your gaze out in front of you as you lower down.





3. Allowing the weight to drift away

As the weight drifts away, the back will round. Focus is taken away from the legs and placed on the lower back. There are a few ways to prevent this from happening:

  • keep the weight close to your legs

  • imagine someone is trying to tickle your armpits, and you must protect them at all costs

  • instead of folding forward, think about hingeing your hips back





4. Allowing the knees to bend forward

This mistake won't lead to injury, but it turns the movement into more of a squat. Shifting the knees forward places more focus on your quads (muscles in the front of your legs) instead of your hamstrings and glutes.





5.Tipping the pelvis in the initial part of the movement (59_2)

While a subtle mistake, tipping your pelvis can lead to some lower back strain over time or exacerbate an existing issue. You'll need to work on stacking your ribs over your pelvis and maintaining that throughout the movement. This one might take a little help from an experienced coach or personal trainer.





You might be wondering how a Romanian Deadlift is supposed to look. Here's one with all the corrections in action:



As you can see, the RDL can be challenging to get right. Keep practicing -- in time, you'll get it! If you can afford a personal trainer or strength coach, hiring someone can be incredibly helpful. If you can't afford that, record a video of yourself and look for any of the mistakes above.


Are you looking for someone to help you learn the basics of movement and strength training? Or do you want someone to help you get the most out of your training? I have a few spots opening up for online personal training! Online personal training can help you reach your goals faster than you might on your own by providing you with your own program and a coach (me!) to check in on your progress & provide feedback. You can learn more by clicking here.

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