Stiff leg deadlifts have to be one of the most botched exercises in resistance training. Essentially it turns into an ineffective deadlift. The goal is to emphasize the hip extensor portions of the hamstrings and glutes. The shortened ROM is due to the lack of knee flexion, the hamstrings become the limiting factor. This means the typical range of motion will vary from person to person dependent on the length of their hamstrings.

Even understanding the mechanisms many still struggle to get proper activation out of the stiff legged deadlift. Personally, I feel like people miss out because there is so much going on. Handling the load, keeping lat tightness, bar path, and grip can all impair the effectiveness of your stiff leg deadlift. Well Justin Harris has a solution for that.


As crazy as it may look, the hack squat stiff leg deadlift is incredibly effective. Facing inward on the hack squat will position you in more plantar flexion forcing more weight on your heels to keep you balanced, the first step in activating your hip extensors. Having your torso locked into the load and it moving on a fixed path there is no issue in grip, tightness, or bar path. This allows the subject to focus solely on driving the hips back to stretch the hamstrings and then driving the hips into extension to contract them. Notice how Justin is keeping constant tension on his hamstrings by moving at a constant tempo and stopping an inch short of lockout. The only limiting factor will be your hip extensors, creating an ideal situation for you to hammer some volume into the stiff leg deadlift.

A belt might be a necessity for some on this movement but other accessories like, sleeves, straps and wraps are always great tools to have in your gym bag.