Romanian dead lift RDL

The DEAD of the Romanian Dead Lift (RDL)

The problem is that there is nothing dead in the Romanian Dead Lift. The lift does not start from dead and it’s yet another reason why people think that a hip hinge is called a deadlift, which it’s not.

If you know me personally and are following my videos or blog, then you probably know that I’m a big fan of correct exercise naming —I said ‘fan’, I didn’t say I’d get obsessive about it, well maybe sometimes—, you might have read my article here where I talk about naming Kettlebell Cleans correctly for what they are, rather than using “Clean” for many different types of Cleans.

In January 2015 I decided that I had enough of calling the Romanian Dead Lift (RDL) and as of that day I’m going to call the RDL for what it really is, which is a “Hip Hinge Hang Lift”, I won’t be calling it a Romanian Dead Lift anymore, as the weight does go dead to the ground. I first mentioned this in an older video I posted on Youtube back in 2014 covering Dead Lifts which you can view here. If we all keep calling it RDL it will just continue to cause confusion among newbies.


Romanian Dead Lift is now known as the Hip Hinge Hang Lift AKA 3HL.

For a lift to have the word DEAD in it, the weight needs to be dead on the ground upon each repetition, i.e. not moving and needing to be lifted without momentum, and RDLs never hit the ground.

The only dead that comes into play with the hang lift is when you ask your client to initiate the hang by Dead Lifting the weight up to starting position.

An acronym I propose to replace RDL with is 3HL (Hip Hinge Hang Lift), the RDL was never performed with a squatting movement, only hip hinging, therefore it’s quite appropriate to include the movement into the name and acronym.

If you don’t agree, please feel free to use the comment section below and explain why, if you do agree, I’d like to hear from you as well. But heck, ya’ll had since two thousand and fourteen to speak up and didn’t!

RDL is dead, 3HL or Hip Hinge Hang Lift is the new name of this awesome exercise that should be used instead of deadlifts if you’re lacking flexibility or looking for an exercise to increase time under tension. has some great info on the Romanian Deadlift worth checking out.

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