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Incorporate Romanian deadlifts into your sumo deadlifting program for continued progress

I had a frustrating deadlift day yesterday. I’m sure everyone who has deadlifted has had a workout where the weight just seems extra heavy and doesn’t want to seem to move off the floor. What I thought would be an easy top set of 3 reps was a struggle for 1 rep.

Immediately after my set I began to blame being tired and my busy schedule and a million other things. I was frustrated. I had a restful weekend and had felt very motivated to deadlift that day. So, what went wrong?

I began to analyze why I had such a lousy deadlift day. I was rested and ate well so those were not the reasons. I thought about my technique and although I am always working on improving my technique I didn’t think that this was the culprit. I then went back and looked at my log books to see what I had been doing at times when my deadlift was at its highest and although my assistance exercises changed quite a bit I noticed that in most cases I had been doing heavy Romanian deadlifts building as my deadlift went up.

One week I would do sets 4-5 of 10 and stay with 10’s for consecutive weeks until the 10th rep on my lest set got very hard. This was usually 2-3 weeks. Then I would move to 8’s and use the same progression. I would do this with 6’s and 4’s too. Since I am not competitively powerlifting I don’t schedule this out but go by feel. When my Romanian Deadlift started to peak out my deadlift would too. Then I would take a break from deadlifting for a few weeks and repeat this sequence.

In recent months I had gotten away from doing Romanian deadlifts. I added in other auxiliaries and I didn’t think much of it. Everyone knows you can only progress so long with the same exercises and workout plan before you stall out and I guess I was looking to change things up. In this case I think it would have been better served changing the rep and set scheme, do pauses, add chains or some other technique to keep progressing.

I will be adding back Romanian deadlifts back into my sumo deadlift routine next week!