Deadlifts and exercises like deadlifts have been an integral part of any serious training program for a long time. They help build up the muscles in the posterior chain such as calves, hamstrings, glutes, and back musculature, but their benefits don’t stop there. The deadlift movement isn’t just a great exercise, it’s a movement that every single living human being could benefit from knowing how to perform.

There are different types of deadlifts, the one we will focus on in this post is the Romanian Deadlift. Knowing how to perform this movement and performing it habitually will not only help you to be able to lift heavier objects, but it will enable you to do it safely and reduce risk of injury to your back. For those readers who already enjoy deadlifting I may not need to drive the point home any further, but for those who are sitting there shrugging their shoulders and saying “I don’t lift heavy objects” I’ll illustrate just a bit further. We get it if lifting heavy objects is not your thing, it’s not for everybody. The romanian deadlift is not just for lifting heavy weights, the components of the movement should be applied to picking anything up off of the floor or off of a low shelf. People who are unaware of how to perform the movements of a romanian deadlift often resort to bending from their waist or low back instead of their hips.

physical therapy deadlifts

While bending from the waist can provide a good stretch to the low back, hips, and hamstring muscles, it is not optimal for repeated movements. An easy example of this is parents who have young children and are constantly picking up after them. Those items may not be heavy in the moment but picking up 50 of them in a day really starts to put strain on the back muscles.


To perform the romanian deadlift we will focus on being able to perform two isolated movements and then put that into one complete movement. The areas that people have the most trouble controlling are the upper back/shoulder area and the pelvis. We will perform an isolated movement at each of these areas and then combine them with a hip hinge.

-Set your shoulders The first thing you want to do is make sure your shoulders are set in a good position. Many of us have the habit of carrying our shoulders forward due to our day to day tasks all being in front of us. Setting your shoulders is basically referring to pulling them back into alignment. The most common mistakes people make is pulling them back too much or raising their shoulders up. The following video should help.

Pelvic tilt The next thing you want to do is make sure you have good control of your pelvis. Many of us sit throughout the day with either too much pelvic rotation forward or backward. The key is being able to move your pelvis freely and find a solid neutral position.

-Put it all together with a Hip Hinge!

Now that you know how to set your shoulders and move your pelvis freely it’s time to put it all together and perfect the deadlift. In this video you will see that you can practice with a solid long object that you hold along your spine, or practice it freely. Once you’ve perfected the movement it can be applied to picking anything up.

There you have it! How to successfully perform a romanian deadlift. These techniques will not only help the aspiring weightlifter but can be applied to everyday activities for those who just always seem to have a little back pain. If you take a crack at it yourself but just can’t seem to improve, contact us at DPT. We work with people like you every day to get them back to high functioning lives without pain and a better understanding of how to move their body.