Dumbbell Stiff Legged Deadlift

Exercise Profile

Main Muscle Group: Hamstrings

Required Equipment: Dumbbells

Force Type: Pull

Type: Strength

Mechanics: Compound

Experience Level: Beginner

Secondary Muscle(s): Glutes, Lower Back

Dumbbell Stiff Leg Deadlift Instructions

  1. Set up for the dumbbell stiff leg deadlift by choosing a pair of dumbbells and holding them down at your sides.
  2. Stand up straight with a slight bend in your knees and your feet around shoulder width apart. This is your starting position.
  3. Keep your back as straight as possible and bend over at the waist lowering the dumbbells over the tops of you feet. Your knees should be kept stationary during the movement.
  4. Focus on the stretch in your hamstrings, and continue to lower the dumbbells down as far as your hamstrings will let you comfortably.
  5. Now engage the hamstrings and begin to raise the dumbbells straight back up. Your eyes should be facing up and your shoulders back. This will prevent your lower back from rounding.
  6. Squeeze up through the glutes and hamstrings until you’re standing straight up.
  7. Repeat for desired reps.

Exercise Tips:

  1. You must keep your eyes looking up at all times. As soon as you look down at the floor your back will round!
  2. The dumbbells need to stay close to your body throughout the set. The further the dumbbells are from your body the more strain is on your lower back.
  3. Focus on stretching the hamstrings out as you lower the dumbbells and contracting them as you raise back up. The greater the mind-muscle connection the more you’ll get out of this exercise.
  4. It’s best to have your knees slightly bent during the set but fixed (ie: bend them slightly but keep them locked in the same place throughout the set).
  5. During the descent, to protect your lower back, keep your weight back on the heels. Do not let your weight shift forward onto the toes. If you find the your weight on the toes when at the bottom position of the exercise, you are performing it incorrectly.
  6. Do not relax at the bottom of the movement. Keep your legs, back and abdominals tight as you begin the ascent.
  7. Keep the rep timing slow and control the weight, especially when lowering. Remember the focus is on stretch and contraction!
  8. One of the biggest mistakes people make when performing this exercise is bending over at the waist without moving the hips back. Instead of being supported by the large hamstring muscles, the weight is now placed almost entirely on the lower spine. Needless to say, this puts your back at great risk for injury. If you keep the weight close to your body your hips with naturally move back.
  9. Technique is so important with this exercise. If you’re just starting out, stand with your side to a mirror with a very light weight and practice the movement. Once you get the technique nailed you’ll be able to move up in weight and start building some killer hams and glutes!