The Straight Leg Deadlift 

Puts Focus on Your Hamstrings and Butt

The straight leg deadlift is one of the most powerful strength training exercises available for adding strength and slimming the back of the body. 

The deadlift is a movement that has several muscles of the back and lower body working together simultaneously. Using so many different muscles at the same time uses a tremendous amount of energy that ignites your metabolism.

This causes an "afterburn" effect that has your body burning calories for many hours after your workout is over. Deadlifts can be one of the most effective exercises for replacing fat with new slimming muscle. 

Straight Leg Deadlift

Exercise Instructions:

  • Begin by standing with your feet shoulder width, holding the dumbbells at arms length in front of your hips.

  • Keeping your shoulders and back in a straight line, engage your abs and start lowering the weights down toward your toes. Try not to round your shoulders forward as you are lowering the dumbbells.

  • Keeping the weights directly in front of you, lower as far as your flexibility will allow, stop and pause briefly at the bottom.

  • Pushing your weight into the back of your heels, slowly return to the starting position.

  • Continue doing 10-15 repetitions.

straight leg deadlift position #1Kyle Demonstrating the Straight Leg Deadlift
straight leg deadlift position #2Kyle Demonstrating the Straight Leg Deadlift


  • Adding free weights like dumbbells can increase the intensity of the exercises.
  • Try and keep your back straight and your abs tight. If you roll your back over you will create more work for the upper back and put added pressure on the lower back.

  • Keep the dumbbells as close to your body as possible. At the bottom of the deadlift, I like to pause and feel the stretching of my glutes and hamstrings.

  • Keep your head up. This will help to keep your back in a straight line.

Single Straight Leg Deadlift

The single leg deadlift turns it up a notch working your glutes, hamstrings, and especially your core muscles. Imagine how hard you core is working as you are bending down with dumbbells and trying to keep your balance on one leg.

  • Start out the same as the exercise above but have your balance on one leg with that knee slightly bent.

  • Engage your core muscles and start moving down slowly, raising your trailing leg until it is in a straight line with your torso as you reach the bottom of the deadlift.

  • Return to your starting position and repeat with the other leg.

single leg deadlift exercise with dumbbellsKyle Demonstrating the Single Leg Deadlift

Deadlift Benefits

  • Full Body Exercise. Multi-muscle group exercises like deadlifts can be amazingly effective. Instead of working your muscles one at a time, why not work them all together and increase the calories you burn and the total-body strength you gain.
  • Core Strength. Anytime you use dumbbells with a balancing type exercise, your core goes into full work mode just trying to maintain good balance. The single leg deadlift is a better ab exercise than many of the popular ones.

  • Muscle Builder. Anyone who lifts weights is going to build muscle. The deadlift adds muscle throughout the entire body with one simple movement. 
  • Flexibility. As we get older it is more and more important that we concentrate on keeping our hip area open with strength. The deadlift does a great job of stretching the hamstrings and keeping your hip flexors loose.

Other pages that might interest you:

I will continue to share ideas about diet and exercise that have helped me along the way. If you have any questions I can help you with, or if you have any ideas you want to share, feel free to contact me or visit our Q&A forum.

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