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Straight Leg Deadlift

May 16, 2023 | Joel Runyon

Similar to the standard Deadlift, the Straight Leg Deadlift is an important compound exercise that primarily works the glutes and hamstrings. It’s a leg and lower back movement but engages the core, shoulders, and traps as well.

Make sure to start this exercise with light dumbbells or plates on your barbell. Deadlifting is a movement that demands 100% correct technique if you want to avoid injury.

How to do a Straight Leg Deadlift

To start the exercise, set up a barbell with plates of equal weight on either side. Feel free to put risers underneath so that the bar itself is at a comfortable height for you to grip and lift upwards during the movement.

Place your feet flat on the ground just about shoulder-width apart and under the barbell. Get your shins as close as possible to the bar.

Bend your knees, grip the barbell and lift it up to your waist to end in an erect standing position.

You are now ready to perform a Straight Leg Deadlift. Keeping your spine and neck straight, and your shoulders back, start to slowly lower the barbell down keeping it as close to possible to the front of your legs.

Your knees will be relaxed, but not bent. Pop your hips back and continue to lower the barbell until you feel a nice stretch in your hamstrings (the back of your upper legs). Stop the movement several inches before the weights hit the floor.

Pause and then reverse the motion by moving your hips forward and bringing the bar back to starting position at your waistline all the while keeping it as close as possible to the front of your legs. This counts as one rep.

A Tip for Straight Leg Deadlifts

Do not lean too far forward, as this can lead to placing too much weight on your lower spine and can cause injury.

Straight Leg Deadlift Video Demonstration


Joel Runyon

Joel Runyon