Romanian Deadlift (RDL) or the Stiff Leg Deadlift (SLDL)?


2015-12-11 06.48.41_resizedTGIF! I hope you all had a great workout week and are even closer to your fitness goals. Today I would like to highlight the Romanian Deadlift (RDL) and the stiff leg deadlift (SLDL) which tend to be confused with one another. Both exercises are fantastic in targeting your glutes and hamstrings, but there are subtle differences in how each are performed.

So what’s the difference?
The RDL and SLDL start in very similar positions: both start from the top with the bar (or dumbbells) held in each hand with straight arms and the torso upright. However, the similarities end there with the execution of each movement performed differently.


The RDL:

  • Begin with your knees slightly bent at about 10-20 degrees
  • Keep your back flat and chest high
  • Sit back, lowering your bar or dumbbells, and move your hips backwards with your weight primarily on the back of your heels until you feel a stretch in your hamstrings (your weights should be just about knee level)
  • Come up pushing your hips forward and tightening your glutes


  • Begin with your legs straight (the legs generally stay locked)
  • Keep your back flat and chest high
  • Keeping your legs straight and stiff, lower your bar or dumbbells as far as you are able depending on flexibility (you may be able to reach to the floor).
  • Come up pushing your hips forward and tightening your glutes

I hope this removes some of the confusion between these two great movements and helps you to decide which is best to incorporate into your fitness routine. Below is a great video demonstration for your reference as well.

AND REMEMBER, proper form is key to prevent injury.

– Wishing you continued success in your fitness journey!

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Copyright 2016 Nichole Michele