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Stiff Leg Deadlifts for Greater Strength & Power

Use this barbell move to build a stronger back and thicker hamstrings.

David Sandler, MS, CSCS
Stiff Leg Deadlifts for Greater Strength & Power

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This power move is ideal for building greater lower back and leg strength. Performed properly, the stiff leg deadlift will enhance your muscle development and overall perfomance in the weight room. Here's how to best execute this compound move, along with some important tips to keep in mind for optimal results. 

EXECUTION

1. Stand erect holding a loaded barbell with a shoulder-width, overhand grip, feet 6-8 inches apart. Stand on a box or step if your flexibility requires.

2. Keeping your chest high, abs tight and knees slightly unlocked, bend forward at the hips, letting the bar naturally track away from your body.

3. Allow your low back to round slightly as you descend.

4. Pause when you feel a good stretch, then carefully reverse the motion by contracting your glutes and hamstrings, allowing the bar to come closer to your body only as you approach the top position.

5. Squeeze your abs, back and glutes at the top.

TIPS

Unlike the Romanian deadlift, during which the bar stays very close to you, let the bar drift away from your body on the descent. In addition, allow your low back to round slightly to place more emphasis on the low back and hamstrings, and less on the glutes.

Proper control is essential, and your torso should remain tight throughout the lift. Keep your eyes forward and chin down to maintain your posture.

For greater torso support, inhale and hold your breath just before the descent, then forcefully exhale on the way back up as the bar passes your knees.

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