Stiff-Legged Deadlift Exercise: Unlock Your Hamstring Power

Stiff-Legged Deadlift Exercise
Image Credit: Renaissance Periodization (see video below)

The stiff-legged deadlift is a fantastic exercise that can help you effectively target your hamstrings and glutes. This challenging exercise involves lifting a barbell with added weight while keeping your legs straight and lowering the bar back down.

But, there’s more to this exercise than meets the eye. In this article, we’ll delve into the benefits, muscle groups targeted, equipment required, steps to perform the exercise, and common mistakes to avoid.

Benefits of the Stiff-Legged Deadlift Exercise

The benefits of the stiff-legged deadlift go beyond just building hamstring and glute muscles. This exercise can improve posture, enhance your balance, and even help prevent lower back pain.

By strengthening your posterior chain, you can maintain better hip and spine alignment and reduce the strain on your lower back. Strong glutes and hamstrings also play an important role in many other lower-body exercises, such as squats and lunges.

What Body Parts are impacted by the Stiff-Legged Deadlift Exercise?

The stiff-legged deadlift primarily targets the hamstrings, glutes, and lower back muscles. However, it also works the quads, calves, and core muscles to provide a full-body workout.

By working these muscles, you can develop a more balanced and powerful lower body.

Equipment You Need to do the Stiff-Legged Deadlift Exercise

To do the stiff-legged deadlift, you will need a barbell and weight plates. You can use a straight barbell or an Olympic barbell, depending on your preference.

It’s essential to choose the right weight that is appropriate for your strength level and that you have proper form when lifting. You will also need a weight bench or a lifting platform to stand on while doing the exercise.

Steps for Doing the Stiff-Legged Deadlift Exercise

Here are some more detailed steps on how to perform this exercise with proper form:

Step 1: Begin by standing with your feet positioned hip-width apart, and ensure that your toes are pointing forward.

Step 2: Take hold of the barbell with your hands using an overhand grip, and place your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Make sure to keep your shoulders back and down throughout the exercise.

Step 3: As you inhale, hinge forward at the hips and begin lowering the barbell towards the ground while keeping your legs straight. The barbell should stay close to your legs as you lower it down.

Step 4: Once you feel a good stretch in your hamstrings, engage your glutes and hamstrings and begin to lift the barbell back up toward your starting position while exhaling.

Make sure to maintain proper form, keeping your shoulders back and down and avoiding any rounding in your back.

Step 5: Pause for a few seconds at the top of the movement, squeezing your glutes and hamstrings before beginning the next repetition.

Step 6: Continue performing the exercise for the desired number of repetitions, making sure to keep your movements controlled and your form correct.

To complete the set, lower the barbell back down toward the ground before standing up straight.

This video shows how to complete this exercise.

Mistakes to Avoid while doing the Stiff-Legged Deadlift Exercise

There are some common mistakes to avoid while doing the stiff-legged deadlift exercise to get the most out of it. Here are a few to watch out for:

Rounding your back: Keep your back straight throughout the exercise. Rounding your back can put unnecessary strain on your spine and lead to injury.

Bending your knees too much: The stiff-legged deadlift is primarily a hip-dominant exercise. You should be keeping your legs straight to target your hamstrings and glutes properly.

Using too much weight: The stiff-legged deadlift is not an exercise where you should be lifting heavy weights. You want to focus on form and proper technique rather than how much weight you can lift.


The stiff-legged deadlift is a challenging exercise that targets multiple muscle groups and can help you achieve your fitness goals.

By incorporating this move into your workout routine, you’ll develop a stronger, more balanced physique and improve your overall athleticism.

Incorporating exercises like the dumbbell twist into your routine can further strengthen your core and enhance your overall fitness.

So, make sure to add the stiff-legged deadlift and the dumbbell twist to your workout regimen for a stronger, healthier you!