The Deadlift Vs. The Romanian Deadlift: Which Is The Better Workout?

Deadlifting is among the most popular and important strength training exercises because of its many benefits. For example, it's popular among bodybuilders and athletes because it boosts their performance. According to Healthline, all deadlifts build core strength, enhance joint stability, and improve bone density.

Both deadlifts and Romanian deadlifts are compound exercises. According to Women's Health, compound exercises are those that work multiple muscle groups simultaneously, and allow you to burn more calories, while improving your coordination and mobility. "By working multiple areas at once, you save time," Josh Davies, physical therapist at Aimee Victoria Long Training, told the publication. Davies added that these efficient exercises particularly help those with busy schedules because of the time they save.

Deadlifts help strengthen your lower back more, but if you have lower back pain, the Romanian deadlift is safer (via Healthline). One of the key differences between the deadlift and the Romanian deadlift is the starting position. In the Romanian deadlift, you start from a standing position, and in the traditional deadlift, you start from the bottom position, meaning you pick up the weight from the floor, per You can also lift more weight with a deadlift than with a Romanian deadlift. Though both deadlifts involve the lower body muscles, the deadlift engages the quads more, while the Romanian deadlift activates the hamstring and glutes more.

It's essential to practice safety and lift weights correctly so you don't injure yourself. Still, one deadlift might be better for you.

The deadlift works your quads and mid-back more

The deadlift is also called a "conventional deadlift" or a "traditional deadlift." It starts with a concentric range of motion — meaning upward movement — which is when you pick the weight up from the floor (via It is taught as a compound exercise, where you push off the floor with your knees, and the range of motion is based on the hinging of the knees and the hips.

Deadlifts are great for building lower-body strength, and because you are picking up the weight from the ground, it tends to work your quads more. It is an excellent exercise to rehabilitate the knees after knee replacement surgery. Furthermore, Women's Health strongly recommends keeping your back straight throughout the movement. The importance of a correct form cannot be understated, as an incorrect technique can hurt you.

According to Healthline, to correctly do the deadlift, you want to stand with your feet shoulder-width apart with the barbell in front of you. Next, you hinge at the hips forward, hold the barbell, and press your feet firmly on the ground as you drop your hips back. Then press your hips forward to come to a standing position. Hold the barbell below your hips, and make sure to keep your legs, knees, and back straight. To lower the weight, bend your knees as you squat down by pushing your hips back. Try to do 3 to 5 sets of 1 to 6 reps.

The Romanian deadlift engages the glutes and hamstrings

According to Power Lifting Technique, the Romanian deadlift starts with an eccentric range of motion, meaning you move the weight downwards from a standing position. It is a modification of the traditional deadlift, where you pull the weight up from the hips, and the whole range of motion is based on hinging around the hips. It is actually often taught first at gyms before getting into the traditional deadlift.

For the Romanian deadlift, Healthline recommends holding an overhand grip to hold the bar at the hip level. Keep your back straight, hold your shoulders back, and slowly push your hips back as you lower the bar toward your feet. Press your hips forward to come to a standing position, with the barbell in front of your thighs. "[It] can improve mobility and flexibility [of the hips] as well as unlock faulty movement patterns, which will decrease the risk of injury," Sherry Ward, an NSCA-certified personal trainer, told Health. She added that it can help improve your posture, too.

Ultimately, the better workout may be the traditional deadlift due to its dual hinging positions. You need to keep in mind your goals, areas you want to focus on, and your limitations, though, as these can affect which is specifically better for you. If you have knee injuries, you should choose the traditional deadlift because it can help you recover faster (via, while the Romanian deadlift is an excellent exercise for the lower back.