Barbell Stiff-Leg Deadlift

Performing the Barbell Stiff-Leg Deadlift:

You are in an upright position with your back slightly arched, your feet shoulder-width apart, your knees semi-bent.

With a loaded barbell in your hands in front of you, you flex your hip (torso leans forward 90 degrees) and climb back up vertically, keeping your shoulders well back.

In fact, the term “straight legs” is wrong. The exercise is done with legs semi-stretched.

Indeed, by keeping the legs completely straight, your hamstrings would be placed in a precarious situation. They could not express force and would be in a “weak” position (high risk of tearing).

Thus, by keeping the knees slightly bent throughout the movement, the exercise is immediately more profitable.

In addition, it should be noted that the barbell should run along your thighs and legs throughout the exercise. It is therefore necessary to move back the buttocks at the start of the movement.

This will have the benefit of reducing the pressure on your back and lengthening your hamstrings to one side and making them even “stronger.”

The descent will depend on your flexibility. Some will manage to descend to the ground without a problem while others will block mid-shin.

Also note that your back must remain straight, or even slightly arched during the entire movement.

Barbell Stiff-Leg Deadlift: muscles worked:

Main: hamstrings, glutes, lumbar, back, trapezius
Secondary: calves, adductors, forearms

The hamstrings are accompanied by the glutes in order to straighten the bust and therefore extend the hips (extensions).

It is also good to note the strong solicitation of the back muscles as a whole in order to keep the back straight (lower back slightly arched) as well as to bring the arms back to the side of the body (dorsal + large circles).

The calves are involved, because the hamstrings by stretching “lift” them and therefore stretch them too.

The muscles of the forearms are strongly used to hold the bar. There are several solutions to improve its hold: you can use the straps or different grips such as the reverse grip.

Interest of the Barbell Stiff-Leg Deadlift

Without doubt one of the most effective for the glutes and hamstrings, but to be executed with caution.

Variants of the Barbell Stiff-Leg Deadlift

The exercise can also be done with dumbbells (light) or the Smith machine (guided bar).

The partial straight leg deadlift, where the bar does not drop lower than the knees, is called the Romanian Deadlift.

Danger / contraindication 

The Barbell Stiff-Leg Deadlift a risky exercise.

The position of the back, leaning forward, heavy bar held at the end of the hands will not forgive the slightest mistake.

Having the lower back arched and the shoulders well back is therefore an obligation under the risk of more or less serious injuries such as a herniated disc (which may require an operation).

So be very careful and above all: “Do not ROUND YOUR BACK”. Unfortunately, many people do it indoors in particular.