Like many Olympic-style weightlifting exercises, Romanian deadlifts work numerous muscles simultaneously. This makes them an efficient addition to your exercise routine. However, because they are typically done with a weighted barbell, Romanian deadlifts can be difficult to safely do at home without a spotter's supervision. You can substitute in dumbbells to perform a variety of exercises to target the same muscles used in Romanian deadlifts.
Because you bend your hips and your knees when doing Romanian deadlifts, you strengthen your gluteal, hamstring, quadricep and calf muscles when doing this exercise. Only a few exercises target all four of these muscles. You can perform these exercises in place of Romanian deadlifts or combine exercises to target all of the muscles.
Dumbbell high swings, dumbbell low swings, dumbbell cleans and dumbbell snatches work all four muscles used in Romanian deadlifts. These exercises also strengthen the muscles in your shoulders and upper back. Because these moves use so many muscles at once, a proper warm-up is essential.
Exercises for Gluteals and Quadriceps
Numerous dumbbell exercises develop both your gluteal and quadriceps muscles, including dumbbell front squats, dumbbell lunges and bent knee dumbbell deadlifts. If you have a box or step available, you can also strengthen both of these muscles with dumbbell stepups.
Exercises for Hamstrings
While bent knee dumbbell deadlifts target your gluteals and quadriceps, straight leg dumbbell deadlifts target your gluteals and hamstrings. You can also use barbells to do good mornings, which strengthen the hamstrings.
Exercises for Calves
Target your calves by doing dumbbell calf raises or single-leg dumbbell calf raises. Walking lunges also strengthen your calves. The calf muscles contract as you push off the floor to walk forward.
Always warm up with at least five minutes of cardiovascular exercise before performing these exercises. Biking and running are good choices for a warm-up, as they specifically prepare the muscles used in the exercises. If you wish to build stamina, perform 12 to 15 repetitions of each exercise. If you wish to build strength, complete six to eight repetitions. Stretch all muscles used when you finish lifting weights. Allow the muscles to rest for at least two days before repeating exercises. When in doubt, consult a personal trainer for advice on form.
Lisa Thompson has been writing since 2008, when she began writing for the Prevention website. She is a holistic health practitioner, nationally certified massage therapist and National Council on Strength and Fitness-certified personal trainer. Thompson also holds certificates in nutrition and herbology from the Natural Healing Institute, as well as a Master of Education from California State University.