Many people avoid deadlifts like sumo deadlifs, SLDL deadlifts, RDL deadlifts, etc, because of various reasons like they don’t know the proper form, have immobility, or weakness. And that’s when the start finding alternatives to deadlifts.

Although there are alternatives to deadlifts like RDL like you can prefer Good mornings over RDL but those who want more strength, stronger legs and backs should not avoid deadlifts. And This guide is all about knowing the perfect form of the most preferred deadlifts RDL and SLDL.

There are some significant variances between the two kinds of deadlifts, but are extremely comparable nonetheless.

These variations alter the range of motion required for the exercise, the muscles that are exercised, and your form. Your ability to complete and execute the squat, clean, and snatch properly may all be improved with the help of these two workouts. Keep reading to know more about these two deadlifts.

Romanian Deadlift vs Stiff Leg Deadlift | What’s The Difference

1. Sldl vs Rdl | Origin

Romanian Deadlift 

Nicu Vlad and his trainer Dragomir Cioroslan are credited for creating the Romanian deadlift. Vlad was a weightlifter from Romania, and U.S. Olympic Weightlifting Coach Jim Schmitz was drawn to his unusual shape. When Schmitz founded the U.S. Weightlifting team in 1990, his San Francisco gym hosted a weightlifting clinic.

Vlad and Cioroslan were in charge of the clinic. After the workshop, Schmitz observed Vlad’s deadlift technique and requested him to demonstrate it for his squad.

Vlad proudly performed the exercise, which was created as a technique to improve back strength for carrying out other weightlifting exercises. Lacking a name for his exercise, Schmitz gave it the moniker “Romanian deadlift” in homage to its originators.

Stiff Leg Deadlift

Sadly, unlike the Romanian deadlift, the straight-leg deadlift has a shorter history. When performing this kind of deadlift, your legs should be in the position described in the name.

More strain is placed on the legs and lower back when you stand with rigid legs. By using this stance instead of another deadlift stance, the muscles in those areas are worked more intensely.

This study found that the upper hamstring muscles are most effectively activated during an activity like the stiff leg deadlift. The stiff leg deadlift significantly increases medial gastrocnemius (the calf muscle) activation compared to the standard deadlift.

2. Sldl vs Rdl | Muscle Targeted

Romanian Deadlift 

The Romanian deadlift is recommended if you want your hamstrings and glutes to be more fully activated. Your hips are pushed further back when you deadlift in the Romanian style, which allows for more hip joint rotation. The glutes are worked more intensely as a result of increased hip flexion. The advantage of lower back activation is provided by the stiff-legged deadlift’s more neutral (straight) spine.

Stiff Leg Deadlift

The stiff leg deadlift offers a lot of low-back activation but comes with some risks. The spine can be stressed by performing too many repetitions or using too much weight, which can eventually lead to disc degeneration.

Try bending over to touch your toes if you truly want to experience the difference in muscle activity. Repeat the movement twice, once with straight legs and once with slightly bent knees.

3. Sldl vs Rdl | Start Position

Stiff Leg Deadlift

Either the ground or a lifting rack might be the starting point. Make sure you have the good form down before choosing to begin from the floor. With hands on either side of your hips, take the barbell in an overhand hold. Make sure the toes of each of your feet are pointed forward and that they are no further apart than hip-width.

Romanian Deadlift

The stiff-legged deadlift and the Romanian deadlift both start from very similar positions. Keep your shoulders back, and your chest up, and bend your knees just a little bit. Use a rack to begin, as your starting point will be your hips. If you don’t have a rack, pull up off the ground and perform a regular deadlift before beginning the Romanian.

4. Sldl vs Rdl | Movement

Stiff Leg Deadlift

Throughout the exercise, keep your leg straight. A very tiny bend in the knee is acceptable, but keep it locked. Next, squat down and begin to descend the barbell toward the ground. To assist in lowering the bar, flex your lower back, glutes, and hamstrings.

Except for a potential minor bend at the knee, your knees will remain essentially straight during this movement. The muscles in your back, glutes, and hamstrings will do the heavy lifting in getting the weight to your hips. For proper form, the back should be straight while the waist is bent, and the hamstrings should be stiffened for optimum activation.

Romanian Deadlift 

Take the bar in an overhand grip with your shoulders about shoulder-width apart. The bar should rest on your thighs and remain close to your body the entire deadlift.

Lift the barbell until it is at your shins, then hinge your hips back. In order to maintain proper form, make sure your spine is neutral, and your lower back has a slight arch. The heavy lifting should be left to your hamstrings, lower back, and glutes.

5. Sldl vs Rdl | Final Position

Stiff Leg Deadlift

When you feel your back beginning to round or when you touch the ground, whichever comes first, stop. Then, raise the weight in one smooth motion until you are back at the starting position.

Romanian Deadlift 

The barbell should always be held in close proximity to your body as you return to the beginning position. In order to assist with the lift, use your glutes when standing back up. Make sure they are tight.

6. Sldl vs Rdl | Mechanics

Despite the similarities between these workouts, each of these kinds of deadlifts differs in some significant ways. When performing the stiff-legged deadlift, the knees are first almost entirely straight. The knees are bent further during the Romanian deadlift, which results in higher hip flexion and activation.

Some people think that locking the knees can make you more likely to get hurt when doing a deadlift. Stronger hamstrings are advantageous for the knees because they aid in protecting the knee joint.

The barbell is also dropped to the ground during the stiff leg deadlift, but the Romanian deadlift stops at the shins. The Romanian deadlift and the stiff-legged deadlift both result in arched backs. The barbell is kept nearer to the body when performing the Romanian deadlift instead of the stiff leg deadlift. And you’re off to a different start than the Romanian.


Overall, the Romanian deadlift appears to be a better exercise. You shouldn’t completely abandon the stiff leg deadlift though.

Even though the Romanian deadlift activates the glute and hamstrings more, the stiff-legged deadlift has its uses. You should only add the Romanian deadlift to your exercise regimen once you have the perfect form down. This is for your own protection so that you don’t get hurt and delay your progress.

You should only include deadlift variations to concentrate on other muscle activation once you have the proper form down. Start with the straight-leg deadlift to get the best results when developing your back, hamstring, and glute muscles.

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