Last week we covered the hip hinge, so this week we will apply those concepts and talk about the stiff leg deadlift. Its is a great example of eccentric training and the functional benefits of this exercise make it one of the most important movements we perform in class. When we teach our bodies how to properly load a bent position, we promote back health and avoid back injuries. When done right, the entire posterior chain is involved in this movement, as well as the muscles of the core and those that stabilize the shoulder blades. There are quite a few important factors we want to take into account with this exercise, so lets get techie on it…

Performing a proper Stiff Leg Deadlift:

For purposes of this article I will break down the movement using free weights as we do in class. There will be slight variations if a loaded olympic bar is used. 

  1. Stand directly behind the weights with feet hip width apart. Before picking them up, firm the muscles of the legs, glutes and core. Pull the shoulders back and down into the sockets.
  2. Perform a hip hinge motion and bend the knees deeply enough to keep the back flat while picking up the weights. Maintain a neutral neck position. Mindfully engage the glutes and the hamstrings before coming to a standing position.
  3. Pull your shoulder blades together and feel your lats engage. They are an important part of the movement.
  4. Firm your quads and glutes. Maintain lat engagement and inhale. Hold your breath and perform a hip hinge, descending down to a flat back position maintaining neutral neck. Depending on low back health and the tightness of your hamstrings, a slight bend in the knee will happen naturally. If you maintain straight legs make sure to maintain mindful engagement of the quad muscles so you don’t overstretch the hamstrings. Once flat back is accomplished, exhale and return to standing, pressing the hips into hyperextension at the top of the motion by engaging the glutes.

When the motion is done properly there will be a few obvious elements: (see photo below)

Back will remain flat; i.e.: no rounding in the upper back

Weights will skim along the legs the entire descent and ascent, creating an inverted angle from shoulders to wrists. If the weights are hanging directly under your shoulders then the lats are not engaged and you are at RISK!



Coach Jentry’s very detailed Stiff Leg Deadlift!


Gumsaba Fitness Class schedule Wednesday 3/2/16

5:30AM Sunrise Danville Womens only class – Coach Karen – HIIT Humpday!

6AM Sunup Moraga Womens only Class – Coach Briana – HIIT Humpday!

8:15AM Sunshine Moraga Womens only Class – Coach Briana – HIIT Humpday!

9AM Sunshine Walnut Creek Womens only class – Coach Jentry – HIIT Humpday!

9:30AM Sunshine Orinda Sleepy Hollow Co Ed PRIVATE Class – Coach Piper & Coach Michelle – Back to basics!

11:00AM Cytosport In Trinity In Meditation – Coach Jentry (private class)

12:00PM Cytosport Next Level In Trinity – Coach Michelle (private class)

2PM Cytosport Hatha Yoga – Coach Michelle D. (private class)