Stiff Leg Deadlifts Exercise Guide

Are you getting tired of the usual exercises you do in your routine and are looking for a new way to work your back muscles? The stiff Leg deadlift is one of the best variations of the traditional deadlift for targeting the posterior chain muscles. It is often performed by fitness and strength athletes as it helps build muscular strength and gain and improve athletic performance.

Stiff leg deadlifts, unlike conventional deadlift, involves "stiff" or straight legs throughout the movement which reduces the involvement of the quads. The form makes it a unique addition to your usual routine while effectively targeting the hamstrings, glutes, and lower back muscles. 

In this article, we’ll we will walk you through how to perform stiff leg deadlifts correctly. Plus, some tips and alternatives to help you get started. So, be sure to read on for all the info you need!

What Is A Sumo Deadlift?

How to Do Stiff Leg Deadlifts

Setting Up

To do a stiff leg deadlift, you will need to set up like you are going to do a conventional deadlift. Start with a light weight and gradually increase as you become more comfortable with the movement.

Assume a standing position close to the bar with your feet shoulder-width apart. While bracing your core and taking a deep breath, lean forward with your back and legs straight and grab the bar with a neutral grip.


Start pulling the bar close to your body until you have reached a standing position. Pause in this position for a second. In a slow and controlled manner, lower the back to the ground.

Make sure that you maintain a straight back and "stiff" legs throughout the movement. Repeat this for the desired number of reps.


  • Maintaining a straight back and legs requires good flexibility. If you have limited flexibility, you can start with a decreased range of motion by placing the bar on a block or rack.
  • Avoid rounding your back as it can result in strain and injuries. Make sure to brace your core to help maintain a straight back.
  • Hold the bar in a neutral, shoulder-width grip. A narrow grip increases the chances of a rounded back while a wide grip makes the lifting significantly harder.
  • Using the right kind of footwear allows you to achieve the stability required for deadlifting. Shoes like converse and vans provide a flat surface making them a great choice for deadlifting.


  • Helps build a strong posterior chain which is essential for keeping your back healthy and improving athletic performance
  • Stretches the hamstrings which increases their flexibility. Flexible hamstrings help prevent lower back pain and helps you perform other exercises with ease.
  • Adds variety to your workout routine. It allows you to work your posterior chain muscles in a way that is different from your regular exercise. 

Illustrated Guide

How to Do Stiff Leg Deadlfits

Muscles Worked

Primary Muscles

  • Spinal erectors
  • Glutes
  • Hamstrings 

Secondary Muscles

  • Forearm Flexors
  • Traps and remaining back muscles

Stiff Leg Deadlifts Variations

  • Dumbbell Stiff Leg deadlifts
  • Single Leg stiff leg deadlifts

Stiff Leg Deadlifts Alternatives

Back Exercises Guide

Kevin Harris