Exercise Profile
  • Target Muscle Group
  • Exercise TypeStrength
  • Equipment RequiredTrap Bar
  • MechanicsCompound
  • Force TypeHinge (Bilateral)
  • Experience LevelBeginner
  • Secondary Muscles
    Abs, Forearms, Glutes, Lats, Lower Back, Traps, Upper Back
Target Muscle Group


Hamstrings Muscle Anatomy Diagram

Trap Bar Romanian Deadlift Overview

The trap bar Romanian deadlift is a variation of the Romanian deadlift and an exercise used to target the entire posterior chain.

The main difference between the trap bar Romanian deadlift and other Romanian deadlift variation is the hand placement and use of a trap bar. The trap bar allows the lifter to maintain a more neutral grip as well as the weight distribution from the front of the body to the side of the body.

These slight changes seen in the trap bar Romanian deadlift can help the lifter maintain a more neutral spine during the course of the movement.

Trap Bar Romanian Deadlift Instructions

  1. Stand inside of the trap bar with a hip width stance.
  2. Assume a neutral grip on the handles and deadlift the weight into position at the top with the hips and knees locked out.
  3. Begin the RDL by pushing your hips back and hinging forward until the bar is just below knee height.
  4. Drive through the whole foot and focus on pushing the floor away.
  5. Return to the starting position and repeat for the desired number of repetitions.

Trap Bar Romanian Deadlift Tips

  1. Range of motion in the lift will largely be determined by an individual’s mobility as well as their ability to maintain a neutral spine. Standing on a box or bench is likely counterproductive as most won’t have the range of motion to control that much range of motion effectively.
  2. It may be easier to utilize the trap bar given the load is distributed on both sides of the body rather than in front. Since this is the case, it can be thought of as a progression into normal RDLs.
  3. Neck position is highly individual - Some prefer a neutral neck position (i.e. keeping the chin tucked throughout the lift) while others do well with looking slightly up. Here’s some factors to consider:
    • If you’re someone who is more globally extended (i.e. athletic background), then you will likely be able to keep a neutral position more effectively by packing the chin.
    • On the opposite end of the spectrum, if you tend to be more flexion dominant (especially in your thoracic spine - upper back) then it would behoove you to look up slightly as this will drive more extension.
    • Experiment with each and see which one works best for your individual anatomy and biomechanics.
  4. Do not allow the bar to drift away from the body, it should graze your legs during the eccentric portion of the lift.
  5. Make sure you wrap your thumbs around the bar and don’t utilize a false grip. Squeeze the bar as tight as possible like you’re trying to leave an imprint of your fingerprints on the bar.
  6. Your weight will naturally shift to your heels as you hinge; however, it’s important that you keep the weight distributed over your whole foot and don’t allow the toes to rise. To combat this, you should focus on maintaining 3 points of contact: big toe, little toe, and heel.
  7. Ensure the elbows stay locked out. Don’t actively flex the triceps but make sure that your elbow doesn’t break neutral as this can potentially put you at risk for a bicep tear under maximal weights.
Posted on: Sat, 01/28/2023 - 13:32

Maybe I’m wrong but isn’t having weight in front of you produce more counter weight for your hamstrings,so this variation while still being good isn’t less effective than standard rdl?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Sun, 01/29/2023 - 12:04

What you said is accurate, but some people may have issues with the weight in front of them because of how the shoulders and back are positioned. Using the trap bar may also help improve the range of motion, which directly benefits the hamstrings.