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Deadlifts on straight legs engage the muscles of the thighs and buttocks to a greater extent than the classic version of this exercise. It can be performed not only with a barbell, but also with dumbbells or a kettlebell. Deadlift on straight legs is a great functional and general development exercise, so you should definitely include it in your training plan. Check which muscles are working during this exercise and how to properly perform them.

Straight-legged deadlift , similar to the MC in the classic version, is a global multi-joint exercise, and therefore a general development exercise. A slight modification in the form of a different positioning of the legs allows for better involvement of the rear thigh muscles and the gluteal muscles. For this reason,straight-leg deadliftis a good exercise not only for bodybuilders, but also for women who want to shape their lower body. Importantly, you can make them easier by doing MC with dumbbells or kettlebells.

Check how to properly performstraight-leg deadliftand learn all the benefits of this exercise.

Straight legged deadlift or classic - which one to choose?

The main difference between a deadlift on straight legs and a classic MC is the range of motion. In the classic deadlift, the mechanics of movement takes place in two axes of rotation, which are: the clan joint and the hip joint. Due to the fact that we perform deadlifts on straight legs - as the name suggests - on straight legs, we stabilize the knee joint with the forces of the surrounding structures. We focus on stiffening the legs and harder work of the spine extensors - in fact, the lower part of these muscles works the most here.

Although this version of the deadlift is called "on straight legs", the legs are slightly bent during the exercise - actively and consciously stabilized.

Classic deadlift is usually the basis of back training - it activates the latitudes, quadriceps and quadriceps muscles more strongly. The classic deadlift is also characterized by a lower starting position (to the positive phase - lifting up). We start the movement from a position close to a squat, and the weight we need to lift is on the ground closer to the center of gravity, so we are able to lift largerload.

The range of the bar's movement in the deadlift with straight legs is shorter. With the exhalation, we lower the barbell above the ankles. At the same time, we move our hips back and release our buttocks. Such a stretching of the buttocks is possible thanks to the straightened legs.

Straight leg deadlifts are one of the best buttocks exercises and can therefore be part of your leg training program. If our goal is to develop the back muscle group of the thighs and buttocks, it is definitely worth introducing deadlifts on straight legs to your training plan.

What are the advantages of deadlifts on straight legs?

Deadlift on straight legs is a great functional and postural exercise due to the fact that it is a multi-joint, general development exercise. In fact, all our muscles act in it to a greater or lesser extent: from the stabilizing muscles to the neck muscles, to the forearms and hands clasped on the bar. It is a great anti-gravity exercise - good for posture defects such as round back or flat back. When we perform deadlifts on straight legs, we also stretch the back of the thighs very well - so we can consider MC on straight legs as an introduction to learning the sumo deadlift.

See also:

  • Best bicep exercises
  • 9 exercises for the chest
  • Push-ups on the bars - technique and effects of the exercise

What muscles work when deadlifting on straight legs?

W. Myers has developed anatomical tapes which, in simple diagrams, show the biomechanical cooperation of muscle groups during the movements performed. The deadlift on straight legs develops mainly the rear functional wall, incl. gastrocnemius muscle with Achilles tendon, mm. sciatio-tibia, back extensor, but during its performance, the anterior tape is also used, in which the abdominal part of the torso can be distinguished (e.g. rectus abdominals, lower thoracic, tibial anterior, rectal thighs and quadriceps ).

Taking into account the percentage commitment, in the deadlift on straight legs we activate in sequence:

  • muscles of the ischio-shin group: semi-tendon, semi-membranous, biceps thigh;
  • spine extensors;
  • buttock bigger.

The auxiliary muscles are:

  • of the widest back;
  • extensive side;
  • lateral straight muscles of the abdomen;
  • trapezius;
  • forearms.

Deadlift technique on straight legs with a barbell

  • Start position and settingbarbells

Slightly bent legs shoulder-width apart. Shoulders pulled down, chest stuck out. It is a good idea to put the bar on a lift at knee height. This will eliminate the risk of overloading the spine when reaching for the barbell. We descend to a lower position through the torso drop - the movement takes place only in the hip joint.

  • Phase 1 - eccentric (barbell drop down)

In the starting position, hold the barbell with the overgrip slightly wider than the width of the shoulders. Various types of hand clasping are allowed: the classic hand position is shoulder-width apart. The wider position of the hand makes the trapezius, broadest, round muscles and posterior deltoid muscles work harder.

MOVE:inhale, move your hips back, push your buttocks backwards while your torso falls down on straightened hands holding a barbell.

The eccentric phase of the movement, i.e. the release of the barbell, should be performed with full muscular control. This means consciously stiffening the back, especially the lumbar section, paying special attention to maintaining the natural physiological curvature. During the downward movement, the lumbar region deepens its natural curvature, but it is under our control all the time. Arms extended at the elbows guide the bar slowly over the thighs, just above the ankles.The key is to keep the bar close to your lower legs and thighs​​ . Every centimeter that separates the bar from our legs creates enormous overloads in the intervertebral joints. Pushing the hips back is accompanied by stretching of the buttocks and a slight bend of the knees. During the movement, we also take a deep breath through the rib-thoracic track - it improves the work of the abdominal press and the involvement of the entire "core", i.e. the body.

  • Phase 2 - concentric (dynamic uplift)

Is the exact opposite of phase 1.

MOVEMENT:exhale, move the hips forward through the work of the back extensors, biceps muscles and buttocks. Vigorous exhalation supports rapid straightening and maximum muscle contraction. During the tightening phase, the muscles should be controlled all the time - not to release the tension when we are in a stable end position - to protect the joints. Pay attention to the fact that there is no hyperextension in the spine - pushing the hips forward too much creates a risk of discopathy.

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Variants of hand placement on the bar

The hands on the bar can also be placed alternately- one overgrip, the other undergrip. This guarantees better grip control in the case of weaker forearms. However, it should be remembered that then there are othersstresses in the muscle groups forming the shoulder joint, i.e. we disturb the symmetry of muscle work.

The solution is to use alternating hand positionsin successive series. We can also take advantage of the unusual hand positioning underneath. It is a forgotten but very valuable exercise that strengthens the subscapular, trapezoidal and broadest muscle groups and develops muscle feeling from a different perspective.

How often and how intensively to practice deadlifts on straight legs?

The choice of the number of series and the number of repetitions depends on our goal. If we exercise recreationally and our goal is to improve the functioning of the motor apparatus, then we should focus more on selecting the appropriate load, which is about 60% of the maximum weight. More and more, trainers return to the old Weider school, where the repetition range for large muscle parts was in the range of 8-12 repetitions. This is a very good and proven method.

If we want to increase the volume of our muscles, we increase the load by starting the series with 80% of the maximum weight. The entire training cycle of 6-8 weeks should be carried out with weight progression on a positive caloric balance.

If we want to slim down the muscles, we stay at 12 repetitions - we do not exceed 80% of the maximum weight, and the change of the circumference will ensure a negative caloric balance and an appropriate diet.

See also: Bodybuilder diet - sample menu for muscle mass

Straight-legged deadlift with dumbbells

MC on straight legs can be performed not only with a barbell, but also with dumbbells or kettlebells. Definitely the use of dumbbells requires from us an increased sense of balance - the so-called proprioceptive feeling.

Starting position:legs slightly bent at the knees, torso straight, shoulders open, shoulder blades pulled back and down. We keep the dumbbells evenly positioned with slightly bent arms on both sides of the body at the hip line.

Technique:The phases of the movement are the same as the deadlift on straight legs with a barbell. The position of the hand is variable, because the dumbbells are held with a hammer grip. A slight change in the grip causes the weight we are working with to be at a different point from the center of gravity of our body. Be careful not to do the cat's back as these slight differences may necessitate this position. One of the most common mistakes is also putting the knees in front of the toe line - like in a squat

Straight-legged deadlift with kettlebells

Deadlift onstraight legs with the use of one kettlebell, due to the narrow grip, forces the position of the arms and shoulder blades, resulting in deepened kyphosis in the thoracic section. As a result, we slouch and our shoulder blades diverge to the sides, and it is also difficult for us to keep our balance. Therefore, this exercise may do more harm than help.

It's much better to use two kettlebells instead of dumbbells. Then the exercise is technically performed in the same way as MC with dumbbells on straight legs.

This version of the deadlift has won its favor mainly in women's circles, as kettlebell weights are much smaller than barbells.

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