What's the difference between Conventional and Romanian Deadlift?
Exercise • • 1 minute to read • By Pankaj Narsian, INFS Faculty
Author- Pankaj N, CSCS and INFS Faculty
The hip hinge is a crucial movement pattern, so it is critical to find a comfortable variation to perform (if able) and work on it. But when discussing the Conventional deadlift (CDL) and Romanian deadlift (RDL), the latter is an example of pure hip hinge compared to the former. So when a coach is teaching an individual to perform a deadlift variation at the local training facility. How does a third person know which deadlift variation is getting performed?
The answer lies in the visual observation of the start position for the exercise. For example, a conventional deadlift starts from the ground, aka lift from the deadlift position. In comparison, a Romanian deadlift __ begins from the top while the person is standing with the spine and hips extended. Many other differences are discussed in the articles to understand the differences between both exercises.
Compound v/s Isolation
The CDL is a compound movement since it involves two primary joints. In contrast, the RDL is an example of an isolation exercise with training around one primary joint.
The major joints involved in a CDL are the knee and hip, with knee and hip extension functions, whereas RDL consists mainly of the hip joint with hip extension function. The difference lies in the setup position of the exercise. Since the CDL starts from the ground, the hip and knees have to flex to reach the bar, whereas RDL begins from the top, and the resistance lowers only to the point of the maximum hip hinge.
The CDL primarily involves muscle groups like erector spinae, gluteal group, and quadricep group. In contrast, RDL primarily involves muscle groups like erector spinae and gluteus and hamstring groups. Therefore, a wise option would be to perform RDLs on leg days for glute and hamstring emphasis and conventional deadlift on the back or pull days.
Planning as per goals
The Conventional deadlift i s part of professional powerlifting ; therefore, an individual with competitive goals should practice it as the primary lift. And RDL can be added as an accessory exercise if needed. But, an individual with a beginner status and lack of hip and ankle mobility may start with RDL as the primary exercise to learn hip hinge movement. A coach should supplement a corrective exercise protocol to improve muscle imbalances for the client. The hip hinge is a part of the seven fundamental movement patterns that each client should execute pain-free with progressive overload. Add this movement to the training plan and share the experience with us.
- Greg Frounfelter, A.T.C., 2000. Teaching the Romanian deadlift. Strength and Conditioning Journal.
- Farley, K., 1995. Analysis of the conventional deadlift. Strength and Conditioning, 17, pp.55-61
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