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trap bar Romanian deadlift

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Daniel Mesa

Trap Bar Romanian Deadlift: Benefits, How-To

Everyone knows about the trap bar deadlift but I rarely see the trap bar Romanian deadlift get the attention it deserves. With all the same benefits as trap bar deadlifts, it is a must-do exercise for those looking to develop their posterior chain while protecting the lower back.

The Trouble With Romanian Deadlifts

Romanian deadlifts can be pretty rough on your lower back even when using proper form. If you have a history of back injuries, you may not want to take your chances with conventional Romanian deadlifts. Aside from injuries, if you are already doing squats and deadlifts your lower back already has a lot to recover from.

trap bar rdl

The trap bar RDL will help you unlock the many benefits the lift has to offer without worrying about injuries or recovery.

Trap Bar RDL: Step-By-Step Guide

Video Guide

Step By Step Hex Bar Romanian Deadlifts

Step into your trap bar

Your feet should be hip-width apart

Get into a deadlift position

You have to deadlift the bar up for your first rep. Have your spine neutral, chest up, and core engaged.

Deadlift the bar up

Drive through your feet and push your hips forward until you are locked out

Lower the bar just below your knees

Slowly control the weight and let the bar go just beyond your knees. At the bottom of the rep, you should feel a stretch in your hamstrings and glutes.

Lift the bar up

Get back into a deadlift lockout position by driving through your hips and engaging your posterior chain


For the rest of your reps in the set, slowly lower the bar just below your knees and repeat

Trap Bar RDL Tips

  • Your range of motion will be determined by your mobility and body type. Play around with the movement at a lighter weight and find what works best for you.

  • If you are a larger individual, it may be beneficial to use an open trap bar so you do not have to worry about bumping into the bar

  • If you are using a bar with a larger area in the middle, you will have to make sure you are stabilizing it so it does not sway

  • Keep a knee bend throughout the movement, you want to be sure you are engaging your hamstrings and glutes

  • Your arms should act as hooks. There should be no bend in your elbows, let your posterior chain do all the work


Check out our guide on the best trap bars

After years of testing, we assembled a master list with the best trap bars for every home gym owner

Trap Bar Deadlift vs. Trap Bar Romanian Deadlift

At a first glance, the two movements may look very similar but there are some key differences:

Targeted Muscles

When you do a trap bar deadlift, the muscle recruitment pattern is actually very similar to a squat. Your quads are the primary movers along with your hamstrings and glutes.

Now when performing a trap bar RDL, your quads still have to work to get the bar off the ground for the first rep but for the rest of the set, the load is on your posterior chain.

In essence, you can think of trap bar deadlifts as working your entire leg and back while trap bar RDLs will primarily target your posterior chain.


When performing a trap bar Romanian deadlift, your tempo should be slowed down drastically so that you control the weight on your way down and really feel the stretch on your hamstrings.

For a regular hex bar deadlift, you can control the weight if you want but I see the majority of people just concentrate on exploding upward.


The main difference in terms of form is that once the bar is off the ground it should never touch the ground again until the set is completed. The trap bar RDL ends just above the knees while the regular deadlift ends when the bar has touched the ground.

Bottom Line

The trap bar Romanian deadlift is great and you should consider adding it to your routine. Much like the regular trap bar deadlift, the trap bar RDL protects your lower back, lets you lift more weight, and is relatively easy to perform correctly.


Check out our guide on the best trap bars

After years of testing, we assembled a master list with the best trap bars for every home gym owner


What do trap bar RDLS work?

Trap bar RDL will primarily work your posterior chain. This includes muscles like the hamstrings, glutes, and spinal erectors.

Are trap bar deadlifts better?

Trap bar deadlifts offer a number of advantages with the primary one being that your lower back is put in a safer position. Both the conventional and trap bar version of a deadlift are great lifts. It just comes down to which you prefer.

Is RDL a deadlift?

An RDL is a deadlift variation that focuses on the hinge portion of the movement. This means that while doing an RDL you will not let the bar touch the ground and instead keep tension on your posterior chain.

Can you Romanian deadlift with a trap bar?

Yes, you can. The lifts works the same as a regular trap bar deadlift but you just stop the movement right above your knees to keep the load on your posterior chain.

What is the difference between RDL and Romanian deadlift?

RDL is just an abbreviation for Romanian Deadlift.

How much does a hex bar weigh?

Hex bar weight can vary by manufacturer but is generally between 45-65 pounds.