I think it is a good idea to add one of those mass builders in there. For one, with the romanian deadlift the hamstrings get worked from the hips, not the knees. This means you are working them completely in a different manner than with leg curl movements, even though both target the hamstrings. It helps with shaping the hamstrings and your glute-ham tie-in as well. I don’t think RDLs add too much mass to the bodypart it gives the illusion, which is important in bodybuilding. Sometimes the tape measure does not matter. It is all about the appearance.
I don’t consider myself a crazy lifter but even with my basic leg routine – squats, romanians, curls and extensions, I leave the gym feeling sick on leg day. What gives?
Legs are the biggest muscle group we have. In order to fill them up with blood, that blood has to come from somewhere else and that means up top. It takes a lot of blood to fill up the leg area, it takes so much that it can literally make your nauseous. I usually feel nauseous after every leg workout. Do not be afraid of it, you will get past it. It usually takes about a month of two for you to become accustomed to it, but it will never fully go away. It is also a matter of food. With hard leg training, you are burning through your energy stores (glycogen) faster, so your blood sugar can get low rather fast. I get lightheaded no matter what I am eating, so I always try to make sureI have enough fuel in the tank to make it a bit easier. You might try eating a bit more complex carbohydrates the day before training legs to see if that helps.
It is not always wise to try and get a longer range of motion.
Keep you back flat for spinal safety.
There is really only one exercise that would allow you to round your lower back in a bent-over position, and that is during the stiff-legged deadlift (SDL), but that is primarily a lower-back, not a hamstring or a glute exercise. The trouble is that the SDL and the romanian Deadlifts (RDL) are closely related at first glance. Knowing how the two exercises differ and when to attempt them is critical. Our focus is to correct the romanian-style deadlift, for which there is never any rounding of the lower back, period. The RDL is a glutes and hams specialty move done with a flat back. If you round your back, you not only remove emphasis from the hamstrings and glutes, but you could also risk injury.
The best way to correct an improper RDL is to go through a series of steps as you get into position. First, begin the RDL from a standing position. You can adjust your knees (unlocked to slightly bent), low back (flat and tight) and chest (up/big) all at once. Then as you bend over, you need to keep thinking “chest up, back flat, knees bent”. Along with a flat back and bent knees, the path of the bar is different during the RDL and the SDL. During the RDL, you need to keep the bar very close to your legs throughout the move. Conversely during the SDL, you actually allow the bar to drift away from your body. So as you can see, even though both are bent-over barbell moves, ther are dramatically different in technique and target muscles.
Stand upright holding a barbell in front of your upper thighs with a pronated (overhand) grip. Keep your feet shoulder-width apart and a slight bend in your knees, with your chest up, abs tight and the natural arch locked in your lower back.
Keeping your back flat, lean forward from your hips, pushing them rearward until your torso is roughly parallel to the floor. As you lean forward, keep your arms straight and slide the bar down your thighs towards the floor until the bar reaches your shins. At the bottom, keep your back flat, head neutral with the bar very close to your legs. Flex your hamstrings and glutes to raise back up while pushing your hips forward until you bring the bar back to the start position.
Leg Remedy: Romanian Deadlift
There are very few exercises that have as much going on as the romanain deadlift, which is why going through a mental checklist is your best bet to secure good habits. Besides form, many athletes try and take the bar so far down to the ground in an effort to increase the range of motion (ROM) that they are either forced to round their backs, or if they do keep their backs straight, they actually touch the floor with the plates. (In fact, some people do a hybrid of an SDL and an RDL, in which they try and bounce the bar off the floor at the bottom, which can wreak havoc on your joints and is not recommended.) If you are doing an SDL, allow the weight to settle on the ground, hence the “dead” part (but that move is not specifically for legs, so we will not discuss it here). Second, during a correct RDL, the bar never touches the ground. So, go through your checklist, stay strict and smooth for the best RDL possible.
Without question, your legs are the strongest and most powerful parts of your body, and if you give them the attention they deserve, you will also reap the benefits in all other areas of training. With dedication comes the risk of overlooking the details that support long-term success and safety.
If you ignore the seemingly minor blunders than can occur on leg day, eventually, you will end up flipping the switch and shutting down all that power.
Over the next week or so, I will go over some of the common mistakes that gym-goers can and do make on leg day. Most of these specific errors only require a few minor adjustments to approach or form, and if your tackle them swiftly, they will pay dividends in size, strength and safety. So brush up on your leg-training knowledge with the best leg blunder remedies.