Liven Up Your Deadlifts with a Wide Stance

The deadlift is a staple of every weight training program. It works your back, quads, hamstrings, glutes, arms and forearms, and abs. If you want to keep deadlifting but crave a change in your routine, why not try a different variation of the standard deadlift?

I like to incorporate wide-stance dumbbell Romanian deadlifts into my routine. Here’s how: Hold a dumbbell in each hand with an overhand grip and take a very wide stance with your toes pointed out slightly. Your legs should be straight but not locked.

With your chest up and a slight arch in your back, bend at the hips and lower the dumbbells to just below knee level. Remember to bend at the hips without bending or straitening your lower back—don’t hunch or sacrifice your form.

When you reach the limit of your range of motion, contract your glutesand hamstrings and reverse the movement, rising back to the start position. At the top of the movement, press your hips forward and squeeze your glutes. That’s one rep.

“This variation will hit the semitendinosus and semimembranosusportions of the hamstrings better than a regular Romanian deadlift, while hitting the biceps femoris to a lesser extent,” strength and conditioning coach Christian Thibaudeau explains in Violent Variations: Vicious Versions of Your Favorite Muscle Builders.

Why does this matter to you? Most of us are quad dominant, meaning we tend to recruit our quadriceps before our hamstrings. This is especially true of women (Quad Dominance and Neck Pain in Women). Romanian deadlifts help to correct this strength imbalance, which, if left unchecked, can damage ligaments that hold the knees together, resulting in knee injuries. Plus, it will give you tight glutes and a nice hamstring sweep!