How To Do The Stiff-Leg Deadlift?

If you’re a fitness enthusiast, you’ve probably been waiting for the opportunity to ask your trainer the following question – for the longest time: how to do the stiff-leg deadlift?

A stiff-leg deadlift is an exercise done with legs being stiff. This article will let you know how to do the stiff-leg deadlift, its benefits, variations, and tips.

You do a stiff-leg deadlift by standing with feet shoulder-width apart. Then, hold the barbell with palms facing towards you with an overhand grip.

Your knees are bent only slightly and have flex. You bend your hips, lower your barbell, and maintain a straight back to do the exercise. Also, you must go lower in a squat until your glutes and hamstring muscles stretch. Then you straighten slowly, ensuring the barbell is near your body and there are no jerky movements.

Why Do The Stiff-leg Deadlift?

The stiff-leg deadlift primarily helps you tone and build your hamstring muscles. Plus, it helps you in tightening your glutes and biceps.

This body-building exercise helps you build stronger and bigger legs. It also improves your squatting position. Furthermore, you get to isolate your glutes and hamstrings to achieve the ideal leg size.

The stiff-leg deadlift is helpful if you have faced injuries with a conventional deadlift. You won’t be lifting heavy weights. Instead, you’ll strengthen your posteriors. A stiff-leg deadlift helps you to build a strong core.

As you increase the amount of stiff-leg deadlift you do, you’ll be able to lift more weight while squatting. Your spine and core will get stabilized, giving you power.

Stiff-leg Deadlift Variations

Stiff-leg deadlift has some variations. The standard stiff-leg deadlift is done using barbells. Alternatively, you can do it with dumbbells. Explore the variations of stiff-leg deadlift below:

Stiff Single-leg Deadlift

If you are a runner or team sports player, you can do the stiff-single leg deadlift variation. It will help you in strengthening your leg.

You do this by starting in the standard stiff-leg deadlift position using a barbell, two dumbbells, or one dumbbell. As you bend forward, you lift a leg off the floor behind and make your weights go low.

Ensure the leg you raise is straight. When your grounded leg’s hamstrings stretch, bring up weight and bring down the lifted leg.

Stiff-leg Deadlift With Dumbbells

Instead of using a barbell, you can use dumbbells to do the stiff-leg deadlift. You get a varied range of motion when you use dumbbells. Plus, it will remove any imbalance in your body’s muscles. It will also help you progress towards a barbell if you are a beginner in this exercise.

Rack-Pull Stiff-leg Deadlift

A rack-pull stiff-leg deadlift helps you add more resistance to your glutes and hamstrings. This variation also increases the range of motion, and it adds a few inches to your movement. It’s helpful to strengthen your glutes and hamstrings further.

Exercise Profile

It might help you to know the exercise profile of the stiff-leg deadlift. You’ll know when to do this exercise and get more information to help you build your body better.

Target MuscleHamstrings
Type of ExerciseStrengthening exercise
MechanicsCompound mechanics
Equipment for ExerciseBarbells or dumbbells or rack
Secondary Muscles UsedQuadriceps, calves, glutes, lower back, upper back, abs, lats, and adductors
Force TypeHinge or bilateral force
VariationsStiff-leg deadlift, rack-pull stiff-leg deadlift, stiff-leg deadlift with dumbbells, and stiff single-leg deadlift
Experience LevelIntermediate level body-builders

How To Do Stiff-leg Deadlift Safely

When doing a stiff-leg deadlift, you need to follow the following instructions to ensure your safety.

  • Ensure your legs are shoulder-width apart, and the bar is on top of the shoelaces
  • Push your hips back and lean forward. Make your torso parallel to the ground
  • Bend down to grasp the barbell
  • Keep your spine neutral, shin vertical, and the hips the same height as your shoulders
  • After locking the hips, move backward and return the barbell to the floor

You can do any number of repetitions as you want.

Stiff-leg Deadlift Tips

Now that you know how to do a stiff-leg deadlift, here are some tips to bear in mind. These tips will ensure you avoid any injury.

  • Ensure the barbell is close to your body.
  • You can start at the rack or directly on the floor
  • You must keep soft knees to avoid knee injury
  • Don’t move your spine a lot
  • Make sure there are no jerky movements
  • Don’t retract your shoulder blades; it’s an unnecessary movement
  • Hold the barbell tightly like you are leaving a fingerprint on the bar
  • Your elbows should remain locked out and neutral. So, don’t actively flex your triceps

Stiff-Leg Deadlift Gear

Any exercise in body-building requires certain gear to do it properly. So does a stiff-leg deadlift. You need the following tools to ensure a safe and injury-free exercise.

Hand gloves

Gloves can help you in lifting heavy weights. In fact, if you have weak wrists, a hand glove can help you get better performance. Hand gloves will ensure you don’t have chafing and slips. Moreover, you’ll get protection and ensure a tight grip.

Weightlifting Shoes

When doing a stiff-leg deadlift, you need the right shoes. You need to use specialized weightlifting shoes with an extra-wide design and a proper grip on the ground. It lets you spread your body weight and spread your foot easily.

Lifting Belt

When lifting heavy weights, you need a strong and durable lifting belt to ensure stability, comfort, and enough support on your waist. A lifting belt can help you avoid any back injury, waist injury, or knee injury.

Dead Wedge

A dead wedge helps you easily load and offload weights. It’s a jack for a deadlift that gives you plenty of space to load weight and lift it easily.


You do a stiff-leg deadlift when you have a leg day at the gym. This exercise helps in strengthening your hamstrings and glutes. The stiff-leg deadlifts are also a core-strengthening exercise and should be performed properly.

So, ensure you follow the tips and instructions in this article to do the stiff-leg deadlift correctly. You’ll then achieve big, strong, and ideal legs.

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