Stiff-Leg Deadlifts and Stronglifts

The stiff-leg deadlift is an efficient total-body exercise.
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If you’re an exercise multitasker, then the StrongLifts program in general, and deadlifts in particular, are for you. The StrongLift workout is efficient because you work multiple muscle groups with each of the program’s five exercises. The standard program alternates squats, rows and bench presses during one session, then squats, overhead presses and deadlifts the next. Although the basic program uses standard deadlifts, you can substitute the more challenging stiff-leg deadlifts if you wish. Stiff-leg deadlifts target the hamstrings in back of each thigh, but also work your core muscles, the gluteus maximus in your butt and a variety of back muscles.

    Step 1

    Stand in front of the barbell with your feet about shoulder-width apart to begin your stiff-leg deadlifts.

    Step 2

    Bend from the waist and grasp the barbell with a shoulder-width grip. Keep your back as straight as you can and hold the barbell with your palms facing your body. Your legs should be straight, but don’t lock your knees.

    Step 3

    Raise your upper body until your back is roughly parallel with the floor and you feel a stretch in your hamstrings and lower back. This is your starting position.

    Step 4

    Exhale as you lift the bar by raising your torso until you’re standing straight. Keep your arms fully extended as you rise.

    Step 5

    Inhale as you lower the barbell to the starting position.

    Step 6

    Perform your stiff-leg deadlifts fluidly, with each step flowing smoothly into the next. Keep your back straight throughout the exercise.

    Step 7

    Perform one set of five repetitions as part of your StrongLifts workout, on the same day that you do overhead presses. As a beginner, use a weight you can handle fairly easily for about 4 weeks, then try to add about 5 pounds in each session when possible.


    • See your doctor before starting a new exercise routine, particularly if you’ve been inactive or you have any health concerns. Avoid stiff-leg deadlifts if you have lower-back problems. Stop doing the exercise if you feel pain.

    Things You'll Need

    • Barbell

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