If you want to really work those buns and hams, you should consider including stiff-leg deadlifts in your workout routine. Though not as challenging as standard deadlifts, stiff-leg deadlifts require precise technique. Use a weight that allows you to maintain proper body-alignment and controlled movement to effectively work the targeted muscles while minimizing the risk of injury.
The weights you use when performing stiff-leg deadlifts depends on your aims, strength, flexibility and fitness level. Use a heavy weight for eight to 12 repetitions with the last two reps requiring considerable effort if you want to build muscle. Use a moderate to light weight for 12 to 20 repetitions to tone and sculpt your muscles. You should feel a burn in the targeted muscles as you do the last three reps. Using a barbell or dumbbells, your chosen weight should allow you to perform the exercise with a full range of motion without compromising your technique.
Stiff-leg deadlifts involve standing with a hip-width stance, to ensure your balance, and hinging forward from your hips while grasping a bar with a shoulder-width grip. It is essential you keep your back straight. Using a weight that is too heavy may cause you to round your back and cause injury. The exercise places significant stress on your lower back, and you shouldn't do it if you have lower back problems.
Stiff-leg deadlifts target your hamstrings and butt, with the core muscles of your abs and lower back working to stabilize and keep your body in the correct posture for the exercise. Stiff-leg deadlifts with straight legs shift the focus onto your hamstrings. You should feel a strong stretch in your hamstrings as you hinge forward from your hips. Excessive weight may cause you to overstretch and injure your hamstrings.
Options or Alternatives
If you have tight inflexible hamstrings, you may prefer to do stiff-leg deadlifts with slightly bent knees. Keep your knees slightly bent, and fixed in that position as you lower the barbell and straighten up. Bent-knee deadlifts shift the focus onto your butt. Really work those buns by extending your hips -- thrusting them forward--and clenching your butt muscles as you hold the barbell in front of your thighs at the top of the movement.
Ollie Odebunmi's involvement in fitness as a trainer and gym owner dates back to 1983. He published his first book on teenage fitness in December 2012. Odebunmi is a black belt in taekwondo and holds a bachelor's degree in economics from Kingston University in the United Kingdom.