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Russian Deadlift | Deadlift Weight Training

The Russian deadlift exercise is a great variation of the traditional deadlift. This method is used by many professional weightlifters and bodybuilders. Deadlift training has been used effectively to train legs, hips, back, core muscles and strengthen all of the muscles in your posterior chain. The main difference in a Russian deadlift vs. a typical deadlift is the knee position and overall posture.

The Russian deadlift has a slightly bent knee that stays in a fixed position as you raise the bar through the hips. It also targets your hamstrings more than the traditional variation. If you are looking to strengthen and maintain muscle mass, the Russian deadlift is a must-add exercise to your weekly routine.

How to do the Russian Deadlift

To start the Russian deadlift, position your arms in the front. Then hang them forward to grip the weighted barbell.

  • Maintain an upright position in front of a weighted barbell while standing with both feet shoulder width apart.
  • Keep your knees moderately bent and your back vertically aligned with your hips pressed back slightly.
  • Your head should be positioned forward with the neck perfectly aligned with the spine, and the chest held high in the front.
  • Firmly grip the barbell with both hands at shoulder-width apart. Make the palms are in a the position facing your body.
  • As you raise up the barbell keep it in line with the center of the shins. If you are using weight plates the floor position will start you at shin level shin-level. If you are using small plates or dumbbells you will need to lift the weight slightly off the ground before you begin your lift.
  • The majority of the weight of the barbell should be adequately distributed throughout the lift. Avoid hunching your back to raise up the bar, or slamming the weights back to the floor. The lift should be smooth and maintain the same tempo as you raise and lower the bar.

Proper Russian Deadlift Form

When performing the Russian deadlift it is important to maintain proper form to avoid injury.

  • Keep your chest forward using the legs to lift the weighted barbell while bringing it to an upright position. Use the legs and core body strength to perform the lift. Make sure the muscles within the upper and lower back are NEVER used. Using a weight that is too heavy may cause you to use your back to complete the lift. This can be very dangerous and can result in mild to severe back injury so make sure the weight is challenging yet appropriate.

While in the upright position hold for one count then press the hips behind, keeping the knee straight but not locked while lowering to the starting position. While extended out, the back once again should be vertical and perfectly aligned with the neck. The weighted barbell is slowly lowered to the shin-level or possibly on the floor depending on the weight plates. Here the individual should be once again in the starting position of the exercise. The individual then quickly repeats the lifting motion of the weighted barbell to perform the second rep of the exercise completing as many reps as laid out in their training plan.

Single Leg Deadlift

single leg deadlift photo credit Muscle & Fitness

The single-leg Russian deadlift differs from the traditional deadlift as the lift requires you to keep your knee straight during the exercise. This difference makes the single-leg Russian deadlift considered similar to the good mornings lift. The single-leg Russian deadlift is very effective because it stimulates and targets more muscle tissues than the traditional Russian deadlift using both legs.

Fitness professionals stress that beginners and advanced lifters do not push the weight beyond the point at which a slight stretch is felt in the hamstring. Relative to the flexibility of the individual this stretch may be felt at a number of varying positions. The weighted barbell should be kept close to the legs while maintaining a straight back. Performing the single leg Russian deadlift with bad technique can place an undue amount of stress on the lower back. This extra pressure can create a severe amount of discomfort and possible injury. All beginners are encouraged to always have a trained fitness professional. To instruct them on the correct technique for this simple yet effective exercise.

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