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ladylydia

Are heavy weight RDLs dangerous?

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I just stared a new gym, and they recommend everyone meet with a person trainer to go over goals.  I've been out of training for a year so I figured it wouldn't hurt to figure out my new baseline. My background is barbell training following a 5/3/1 styled program for RDLs. squats, bench and OHP.  The trainer i met with told me to switch to conventional deadlifts over RDLs.  Generally i prefer RDLs because of the emphasis on hamstrings. But the trainer said that it's too easy to slip a disk with RDLs and to train conventional instead if i want to lift anything above 225.  RDLs are my favorite exercise and i don't want to stop training them, plus i'm almost certain I've seem RDL lifts above 225 before.  i'm only at 180 for my current  RDL record, so i could keep training it safely for now, but i don't want to stop after i get above 200.

 

My goals are to become monstrously strong, and lift as heavy as possible.  Can anyone tell me if heavy lifts are safe with RDLs because i don't want to stop progressing with them, but i also don't want to put myself at risk of injury.  

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Performed and loaded properly the RDL isn't inherently any more dangerous than a regular deadlift. That said, while I wouldn't agree with the trainer's fear mongering I would agree that given the goal to become monstrously strong and lift as heavy as possible you're doing yourself a major disservice ignoring the conventional deadlift. No matter how good you get at RDL's you're always going to be leaving weight on the rack compared to a regular deadlift. This is just a physical truth that no amount of training will overcome. Your RDL may be higher than your conventional DL right now but that's purely a function of neglecting the conventional deadlift. This is why the RDL is widely recognized as an assistance exercise, a very good one to be sure but still an assistance exercise.

 

So yeah, learn how to deadlift well and your training will be much better aligned with your stated goals. And remember that deadlifting doesn't preclude RDLs. It just puts them in more of a supporting role, where they pretty much unarguably belong. 

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On 5/28/2016 at 0:36 AM, jdanger said:

Both strategies would be viable yes.

 

On 5/28/2016 at 11:48 AM, ladylydia said:

Thank you, this was helpful.

It's what he does. In his core programming. He can't help but be helpful :)

 

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225 is an arbitrary number, so that's the first flag. RDLs are fine if performed with good form, and you stop a set when the form starts slipping.

 

As J said though, the deadlift is the heaviest  systemic loading you're going to put on your body out of any lift. By the end of a deadlift session, I'm too beat to do RDLs myself. When I was doing them, I liked tagging them onto after squats if I wasn't planning deadlifts or any other low back intensive exercises for the day.

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