Stiff Leg Deadlifts vs Romanian Deadlifts

Stiff Leg Deadlifts vs Romanian Deadlifts - KEFLUK

Stiff leg deadlifts and Romanian deadlifts are excellent exercises for targeting your posterior chain, but they each have distinct benefits and execution styles. Understanding these differences can help you choose the best exercise for your fitness goals and ensure you’re performing them correctly to maximise benefits and minimise injury risk.

Stiff Leg Deadlifts

Execution: For stiff leg deadlifts, start with a barbell or a pair of dumbbells from our Dumbbell Collection. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Keep your legs almost straight with a slight bend in your knees. Hinge at your hips to lower the weights, keeping your back straight, and then return to standing. The key is to maintain a slight bend in your knees while focusing on hinging at the hips.

Muscles Targeted: This exercise primarily targets the hamstrings, with secondary activation in the glutes and lower back. It’s particularly good for improving hamstring flexibility and strength.

Romanian Deadlifts

Execution: Romanian deadlifts also use a barbell or dumbbells. Start from a standing position with the weights in your hands. Hinge at the hips, lowering the weights to just below your knees, then return to the starting position, keeping your back straight. Unlike stiff leg deadlifts, Romanian deadlifts involve more knee bend and emphasise the hip hinge movement.

Muscles Targeted: Romanian deadlifts focus more on the glutes and hamstrings, with an emphasis on the eccentric (lowering) phase of the lift. This exercise is excellent for building glute strength and improving hip hinge mechanics.

Key Differences

  • Starting Position: Stiff leg deadlifts start from the floor, while Romanian deadlifts start from a standing position.
  • Range of Motion: Romanian deadlifts typically have a shorter range of motion compared to stiff leg deadlifts.
  • Muscle Emphasis: Both exercises target the hamstrings, but Romanian deadlifts place more emphasis on the glutes.


  • Stiff Leg Deadlifts: Great for improving flexibility and targeting the hamstrings. They are particularly beneficial for increasing hamstring length and strength, which can help with overall athletic performance and injury prevention.
  • Romanian Deadlifts: Excellent for building glute strength and improving hip hinge mechanics. They also help in developing strong, explosive hips which are crucial for many sports and physical activities.

Incorporating into Your Workout

For a balanced lower body workout, it’s beneficial to incorporate both exercises. For example, perform 3 sets of stiff leg deadlifts followed by 3 sets of Romanian deadlifts. This combination ensures you work both muscle groups effectively and prevent imbalances.

Maintaining proper form is crucial for both exercises to avoid injury. Always start with a lighter weight to master the technique before progressing to heavier weights. If you need dumbbells, check out our dumbbells.

Both exercises are fundamental for anyone looking to build a strong, balanced lower body. By incorporating these movements into your routine, you can ensure comprehensive development of your posterior chain.