Straight Leg Deadlift

About Straight Leg Deadlifts

This straight leg deadlift exercise is a modified version of the traditional deadlift. The purpose of the straight leg deadlift is to place more of an emphasis on the hamstrings and lower back as opposed to the legs. As discussed in the hamstring article, movements that encompass both knee flexion and hip extension should be included in your program to deliver functional benefits. Due to the complexity of the movement, beginners are at a heightened risk of injury as they do not possess the same body awareness that more advanced trainees do. Because of this, beginners should work with lighter loads or avoid the exercise altogether until they progress with their training programs. With that being said, there are a few important techniques that should be utilized while performing the straight leg deadlift exercise to help reduce the risk of injury…

Exercise Notes

  • Keep back flat to reduce stress. If the back becomes rounded, it places tremendous stress on the inter-vertebral disks of the spine.
  • Positioning the bar as close to the body as possible is another method to reduce the risk of injury. As the arms drift from the body, more stress is placed upon the lower back.
  • The risk of sustaining a spinal injury also increases as the back is hyper-extended. In other words, don’t arch your back at the top of the movement.

Straight Leg Deadlift Video

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How To Do The Straight Leg Deadlift Exercise

  1. Grasp the bar with arms positioned slightly wider than shoulder width. One hand should be facing down while the other should be facing up. This alternating hand position will help you get a better grip on the bar to prevent slippage. Lift the barbell and step back from the platform.
  2. Spread the chest and straighten your back by performing a posterior pelvic tilt. (Stick buttocks out). Knees should be slightly bent.
  3. Inhale, flex at the waist and slowly lower the weight until a mild stretch is felt within the hamstrings. Depending on individual flexibility, this is usually felt when the bar reaches a position approx. 2 inches below the knees.
  4. Exhale and return to starting position at a controlled speed. Throughout the ascent, the muscle recruitment shifts from the hamstrings, to the buttocks, to the lower back. DO NOT finish off the movement by hyper-extending the back. Doing so will increase the risk of lumbar injury.
  5. Repeat until the desired number of repetitions are completed.
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