Straight Leg Deadlifts – Alex Skinner

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Alex Skinner – @AlexSkinner5

Straight leg deadlifts are arguably the greatest exercise that you can do to pack on solid mass and strength onto your glutes and hamstrings. This exercise can be done with dumbbells or a barbell. SLD’s allow you to place your posterior chain under immense stress which sparks extreme growth on your backside. If it’s not already, SLD’s should become a staple in your training.

Before you start performing the straight leg deadlift incorrectly, putting yourself at risk for injury, let’s breakdown the movement.

Foot Placement

Grab ahold of a pull-up bar, let your body dangle for a 15 second count, fall. 10 times out of 10 you fall with your feet just about shoulder width apart. This is because your body is placing you in the most optimal position to deadlift from. Next, I want you to externally rotate by pointing your toes out just slightly in order to activate your glutes. Now that your foot placement is correct and you set yourself up with your shins against the bar, it is time to become core tight.

Core Tight

If you are trying to brace and stay core tight, should you breathe in as much air as possible to make your belly big in order to create a large base? No. What you should be doing is sitting down on your stomach as if someone is about to punch you in the gut. Another way to imagine bracing is to pretend you have a finger shoved into your stomach and you must become core tight in order to push that finger out. In order to be the strongest and safest throughout the entirety of the lift, you must stay core tight throughout the entire movement.


Knee Bend

If you are having knee pain or feel unwanted pressure in your legs while performing the SLD, it is most likely due to the fact that you are locking your legs too straight. You must have a slight bend in the knees throughout the movement. This will alleviate negative pressure in the knees and place it right back into the glutes and hamstrings where it belongs.


Hinging correctly on the SLD is very important in order to keep you safe and to get the most out of the movement. Before you descend from the top of the lift be sure you are hinging backwards with your hips and lower body by roughly 4-5 inches. Once you have descend those few inches you can now descend the rest of your upper body until the weight is on the ground. Whereas, a regular convention deadlift is 1 constant hinge throughout the movement, the SLD is to be performed in a 2 part hinge in order to create the greatest strain on the muscles and to keep you in the safest position while moving the weight.

By throwing straight leg deadlifts into your training and following these little cues on how to perform this movement, it is guaranteed to add quality mass and strength to your lower body. Toss them in your next leg day and let me know what you think.


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