Barbell straight back stiff leg deadlift

Exercise details

  • Target muscle: Gluteus Maximus
  • Synergists: Hamstrings (Biceps Femoris, Semimembranosus, Semitendinosus), Adductor Magnus
  • Important stabilizers: Erector Spinae
  • Mechanics: Isolation
  • Force: Pull

Starting position

  1. Grasp a barbell using a shoulder-width pronated (overhand) grip or a mixed grip.
  2. Keeping your back straight, head up, and hips low, lift the barbell into a standing position.
  3. Flex your knees a little.


  1. Keeping your back straight and your knees slightly flexed (stiff), inhale as you push your hips backward and slowly lower the barbell down the front of your legs. Descend until you feel a mild stretch in your hamstrings.
  2. Exhale as you pull the barbell back up to the starting position by pushing your hips forward.
  3. Repeat.

Comments and tips

  • Keep your knees stiff, your back and arms straight, and your head up.
  • Keep the barbell close to your body to improve mechanical leverage.
  • If you can lower the barbell low enough for it to touch the floor, perform the exercise on an elevated platform.
  • Contrary to what some people think, the barbell straight back stiff leg deadlift targets your gluteus maximus and not your hamstrings. The reason is that by flexing your knees even just a little, you place your hamstrings in a state of mechanical disadvantage, thus forcing your gluteus maximus to work the hardest during hip extension. If you want to target your hamstrings, keep your legs straight (in which case the barbell straight back stiff leg deadlift will become the barbell straight back straight leg deadlift).

Barbell straight back stiff leg deadlift video



Click here to post a comment
  • Didn’t know there were so many deadlift variations … straight back, stiff leg, one leg, trap bar, Jefferson, Romanian, sumo, rack pull, deficit, etc., etc.

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