I'm always tweaking and modifying assistance exercises.
By varying a movement, you change the training stimulus, prevent boredom, and keep training interesting in the long run.
One exercise I've been playing around with lately is the Romanian Deadlift. Looping a resistance band around your hips lights up your backside and leaves no doubt about which muscle groups are being targeted:
What I really like about this exercise is that it intensifies hamstring stretch during the eccentric part of the movement.
Some trainees have difficulty feeling their hamstrings on Romanian Deadlifts, so the band provides a built-in cue to address this.
Moreover, you can really accelerate against the band as you finish the movement with a strong hip extension. Because of this, you'll feel your glutes working harder compared to regular RDLs.
Band-Resisted Dumbbell Romanian Deadlift
Tie a resistance band around any sturdy anchor at hip height. I'm using a barbell resting in a power rack in the video above. When choosing this setup, remember to place the J-hooks so that the bar rests against the rack uprights. If you place the bar on the wrong side of the rack, it will come flying off the J-hooks in the middle of your set.
- With a slight bend in your knees and keeping your chest up and back neutral, push your butt back.
- You should feel a nice hamstring stretch as the dumbbells travel below your knees.
- Go as low as possible while maintaining a neutral back.
- Reverse the motion and finish with a strong hip extension by squeezing your glutes.
Beginners and more advanced lifters can both benefit from performing Romanian Deadlifts with a band.
Novice trainees often struggle with a proper hip hinge. A resistance band acts as a self-correcting tool to achieve the desired outcome. With the band, all you have to do is let it pull your hips back on the way down while maintaining the same knee angle throughout the movement. Your hip hinge will instantly look much better.
The band also leads to a more pronounced hamstring stretch during the eccentric. This is especially valuable for more advanced lifters who may be moving decent weight on the RDL but lose the all-important mind-muscle connection as the loads get higher.
In addition, the band overloads the hip extension part as you come up. So, you're forced to extend your hips with a strong contraction to finish the movement—something that many trainees neglect to do.
You can use a pair of dumbbells or a barbell for this exercise. External load is not super important here—focus on a good hamstring stretch during the eccentric and a forceful glute contraction at lockout. I prefer going with a medium- or high-resistance band since a light band won't provide enough tension to make a noticeable difference compared to regular RDLs.
Many athletes will claim they "don't feel" traditional RDLs where they're supposed to. This variation will change that in a flash!
Recommended Sets/Reps: 3-4x8-12
Photo Credit: FluxFactory/iStock
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