Stiff Leg Deadlift Benefits & Limitations
The stiff leg deadlift is like the isolation version of the deadlift because it makes it a two joint exercise into a single joint exercise. And this has pros and cons.
One benefit is that it essentially removes the quads from the equation since there is little to no knee bend. But it also puts more load on the lower back.
So the best way to use the stiff leg deadlift is as a lighter weight exercise to target the hamstrings and strengthen the lower back.
- Removes quadriceps from the deadlift movement
- Isolates the hamstrings
- Increases hamstring/hip flexibility
- Strengthens lower back
- Must use a reduced load
- Can put more stress on the back
How To Do a Stiff Leg Deadlift
There are multiple ways to do a stiff leg deadlift, which I will cover later. For now, I will show you how to do the most common variation using a barbell.
First, approach the bar and stand with your feet roughly shoulder-width apart. Next, grab the bar just outside your shins and lift it as if performing a conventional deadlift.
Push your butt back and bend at the hips from the standing position while keeping your legs nearly straight. Make sure you do not curve your back forward, maintain a neutral spine.
Next, raise the bar by pulling your hamstrings and driving your hips forward. Finally, squeeze your glutes as you straighten up at the top.
Repeat for the desired number of reps, then set the bar back on the floor.
To recap, here are the step-by-step directions:
- Pick up the bar as if doing a conventional deadlift
- Bend at the hips while keeping your legs nearly straight
- Lift the bar with your hamstrings and drive your hips forward
- Maintain a flat back throughout the exercise
- Repeat for the desired number of reps and place the bar on the floor