How To Do The Dumbbell Stiff Leg Deadlift, Benefits, Sets, Reps

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If you are into weight training exercises, dumbbell stiff led deadlifts must be one of your top choices.

As your legs are stiff while performing this exercise, it was named accordingly. With the help of a stiff-legged approach, you are in the position of putting more stress on the lower back and legs.

When it comes to muscle activation, it works on the upper hamstring muscles and medial gastrocnemius.

With the help of this weight training exercise, you can target your hip flexion and extension. It can lead to improved muscular strength, hypertrophy, and neuromuscular control of the muscles.

But there is much more to this exercise. Read ahead and learn more about it, including the benefits and correct technique.


Utility Basic
Mechanics Compound
Force Pull


Muscles Worked by Dumbbell Stiff Leg Deadlift

Muscles Worked by Dumbbell Stiff Leg Deadlift

The primary muscle group targeted by the Dumbbell Stiff leg deadliest is the Erector Spinae. This muscle group comprises the iliocostalis lumborum, longissimus thoracis, and spinalis thoracis.

This muscle group is mainly responsible for extension, lateral flexion, and rotation of the spinal joints. Moreover, they maintain the body posture by keeping the spine aligned during walking.

Along with that, this exercise also targets the four muscles at the back of your leg: semitendinosus, semimembranosus, and two muscles named biceps femoris. These muscles are responsible for extending your leg behind your back and bending your knees.

Furthermore, it also targets the three muscles of the glutes: gluteus maximus, medius, and minimus. These help with the extension, adduction, external and internal rotation of the hip joint.

These were the primary muscle groups targeted by the Dumbbell Stiff Leg Deadlift.

When it comes to the secondary muscle group, your core and abdominal muscles are worked upon. In addition to that, your forearms, trapezius, and middle back muscles are also used.


Benefits of Dumbbell Stiff Leg Deadlift

The dumbbell stiff leg deadlift directly targets your posterior chain. This leads to several benefits, like the following:

Strengthen your Legs

If you go to the gym daily, you know the importance of leg days. One such exercise that can get you bigger and stronger legs is the dumbbell stiff leg deadlift.

It targets and trains the glutes and hamstrings, laying more stress on the legs.

Moreover, it also enhances your performance while doing squats and other types of deadlifts.


More Muscle Mass in Glute and Hamstring

When you perform the dumbbell stiff leg deadlift, you activate the muscle fibers in the glutes and hamstrings. This results in Hypertrophy, which means the increase in the size of the muscle cells due to external stimuli, i.e., exercises.

This will make the lower half of your body appear larger. Apart from the improved appearance, it also enhances your athletic performance.


Better Back Strength

You can also include this exercise in your back day as it strengthens the majority of the back muscles.

Along with your glutes and hamstrings, even your back muscles are utilized for lifting the weight. This results in more back strength as well as size.


Mind-Muscle Connection

The mind-muscle connection is a deliberate and conscious muscle contraction that allows you to focus the tension on a specific muscle group.

As this isolation exercise specifically targets your hamstrings, you can focus on increasing your gains.


Gives the Ability to Lift More

As this exercise helps increase your size and overall strength, you will eventually find yourself lifting more. Hence, this will allow you to take more exercise with heavier weights under your umbrella of workouts.


Increases Bone Density

This is a lesser-known advantage, but performing a dumbbell stiff leg deadlift can increase your bone density. This will come in handy during old age.


Safe than Conventional Deadlifts

If you do not want to risk yourself with lifting more in a traditional deadlift, opt for a stiff leg deadlift. This exercise limits the weight while working on your posterior chain. So, eventually, you will gain more strength to lift more in the future.


Engages your Core

As mentioned earlier, this exercise also targets your core as it is necessary to maintain the right posture of the spine. So, along with the other muscles, you are also left with a stronger core.


How to Perform the Dumbbell Stiff Leg Deadlift?

Unless you perform the dumbbell stiff leg deadlifts with the proper technique, you will not reap any of its benefits.

To learn the correct technique or cross-check your form, go through the following step-by-step procedure:

  1. Hold two dumbbells in each hand and stand with your feet hip-width apart. The grip should be such that your palms are facing you.
  2. Slightly bend your knees and keep them locked in that position.
  3. Start by slowly bending your hips and lowering your torso without bending your knees any further. Move in such a way that your hips go backward.
  4. Your arms must be straight throughout with a slight arch in your back.
  5. Go down till you feel a stretch in your hamstrings.
  6. Return to the starting position and repeat.


Common Mistakes to Avoid While Performing Dumbbell Stiff Leg Deadlift

Even though the dumbbell stiff leg deadlift is a rather simple exercise, there is a lot of room for errors. But you can maintain your form by avoiding the following mistakes:

Knee Bent

If you bend the knees too much, you will take the tension away from the hamstrings, thereby negating the main benefit of this exercise.

On the other hand, it will be difficult to lift the weights if you keep your knees too stiff throughout the exercise.

The best way is to have a slight bend in the knees and keeping the position locked throughout the exercise.


Not letting your Hips Move Backward

When you push the dumbbell downwards, you must push your buttocks back. If you keep them stiff and in position, your hamstrings will stay untargeted. Moreover, it might also affect the form of your pelvis tilt or your knees.


Range of Motion

You could either be having a very limited or excessive range of motion. If it is the former one, your hamstring muscle will not be lengthened or stretched.

On the other hand, if you go deeper, your back ends up getting rounded. This forces your body to lose the tension, and you will end up with more fatigue and muscle soreness.


Not Having a Slow Eccentric Movement

If you are in a hurry, it is best to skip this exercise as it requires slow and controlled motions. Generally, people focus on the concentric contraction but look over the eccentric part.

While you lower the dumbbells, maintain a steady and slow movement to target the hamstrings essentially.


Moving the Dumbbells Away from the Body

When you move the dumbbells away from the body while lowering or lifting them, you put more weight on the back and toes.

It is best to maintain the position and keep it close to your shins.


Sets, Reps, Programming Recommendations for Dumbbell Stiff Leg Deadlift

If you have been doing this exercise for some time, go with heavier dumbbells and aim for eight reps for four sets.

But if you are a beginner, we suggest taking it slow and start with a lighter weight. Begin with twelve reps for four sets and work your way up.

Variations of Dumbbell Stiff Leg Deadlift

As deadlifts is a wide type of weight training exercise, you can get tonnes of variations for dumbbell stiff leg exercises, like the following:

  1. Banded Stiff Leg Deadlift
  2. Kettlebell Stiff Leg Deadlift
  3. Alternating Bodyweight Stiff Leg Deadlift
  4. Romanian (Stiff-Leg) Deadlift
  5. Single-Leg Deadlift
  6. Offset Load Deadlift
  7. Kickstand Deadlift
  8. Sumo Stance Deadlift
  9. Resistance Band Deadlift
  10. Barbell Deadlift


Safety & Precautions for Dumbbell Stiff Leg Deadlift

To steer clear of coming home with bruises or injured muscles, adhere to the following precautionary tips for performing the dumbbell stiff leg deadlifts:

  1. Do not bend your knees too much or too little. Keep it bend just a little bit and keep them locked in that position till you complete your exercise set.
  2. Keep the dumbbells close to your body, particularly close to the shins, to target and stretch the hamstrings.
  3. Ensure that you have a neutral neck position. Some even prefer to look up to maintain their form.
  4. Wrap your thumbs around the bar to maintain a proper grip.
  5. Lock your elbows and do not flex the triceps.
  6. Do not perform this exercise if you have any back or leg injuries.


Alternatives of Dumbbell Stiff Leg Deadlift

To widen the scope of your workout sessions, consider the following alternatives of dumbbell stiff leg deadlifts:

  1. Glute Bridge
  2. Barbell hip thrust
  3. Trap bar deadlift
  4. Back hyperextension
  5. Cable pull through
  6. Leg Curls
  7. Burpee
  8. In and Out Abs
  9. Scorpion
  10. Bicycle Crunches

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