Pair These Moves: Romanian Deadlift and Floor Press

Exercise programming is an ivory tower science.  There are laws, rules, and traditions, and if I were to follow everything I learned in school, my programs would be stuck in the early 90’s.  Good program designers don’t sit in their towers, but rather refine their practice while walking the path.

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Very few of us have unlimited space and equipment when exercising or writing programs, so it’s essential that we make the most out of what we have.  I believe that the program design team at MFF has done a great job with this, regularly refining our exercise library and how we pair movements.

One of the bigger barriers we run into is how we can include the specific movements we want, without spending all of our time setting up or breaking down equipment.  When we program for the Dragon Lair where up to 6 Ninjas are sharing the room, being space efficient is crucial.

One of our team favorites is the pairing of two barbell exercises, the Romanian deadlift and the floor press.  Each move allows for great strength training, while keeping set-up pretty minimal.  All you need is a rack and a bar:


Doing these two exercises with a single bar set-up frees up time and energy to focus on moving well and getting stronger.  We’ll use this pairing a staple way to simply how we practice our hinge and pressing patterns.  The simplicity in this combination shouldn’t be confused with it being an easy one.

A brand new lifter may be focused on making the movement as repeatable as possible, while a veteran of the barbell may be aggressively training both exercises.  It’s not uncommon to see 65lbs being used on one side of the room, while someone else is using 225lbs on the other side.  Regardless of your experience level, these two exercises allow for appropriate loading, and for streamlining your workout.  Seriously, look at how smooth this demo is:

I would recommend resting for a little bit longer, and depending on the weight you’re using, this could be anywhere between 30-90 seconds.  As a general rule, you’ll need more rest time if you’re lifting more weight for fewer reps, and less rest time if you’re doing more reps with lighter weights.

Using a single piece of equipment for two exercises like this means you take up a smaller gym footprint, allowing you to focus more on the moves that you’re doing, rather than what everyone else is up to.  This can save time and energy, but also lets those around you exercise more efficiently, too.  I believe that if you’re more efficient, you’re going to be more effective as well.  It’s the closest we can get to a time turner!


If you give this pairing a try, here are two important things to remember: First, make sure that you set the rack up at the lower setting, should the two exercises require a different rack height.  For almost all of us, this is going to be the height of our floor press.  Second, we still have an obligation to share equipment.  This exercise pairing can help streamline your workout, but if someone is using the same moves, please share the barbell.

Try this pairing of the barbell Romanian deadlift and floor press.  You’ll save time and energy thanks to the smooth set up, letting you focus on what matters more: Lifting weights!

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