Page 1 of 1

Straight Leg Deadlift - bent back???

Posted: Mon May 22, 2006 8:30 am
by KPj

I've recently had the notion to perform straight leg dead lifts to target my hamstrings. I did them at a very light weight and they did feel good, however, I couldn't help but get paranoid that I was breaking one of the golden rules..... Bending my back......

Here's a link to the exercise, ... dlift.html

Why does it seem to be ok to bend your back in this exercise, but not in any other(that I know of)?



Posted: Mon May 22, 2006 8:55 am
by Ironman
You already have a lot of pressure on the lower back so it doesn't matter that much. Now on something like a squat or a classic deadlift, you are lifting more weight then your lower back can handle. So going too far foward or rounding your back on those will hurt you. With the Straight leg deadlift, your lower back is a target just like the hams. You do have to have strong abs for this. Good traps tend to help. Make sure your feet are even, if you have one further forward then the other you could put more pressue on 1 side of the back then the other. Also don't let the weight get very far in front. Keep it close to the body. The reason is, you need to bend a lot at the hip and not have the pressure higher up the spine. Rest is important too, don't try to bang the sets out too fast. Warm ups are really vital on this too. Do a gradual build up. If you are just starting to do this, pyramid up from bar to max slowly, even if your normal protocol is different. I would also advise aginst using the platform. If you go down to far, there is nothing to stop you. That would be very bad. Instead, use 35 or 25 lb plates, that way you can get the stretch without a platform. I think 25's to the floor is PLENTY of stretch for anyone, many people will need less.

Also I bend a bit on bent over row, but not much. On that one, you don't want to be slumped like a hunchback, but a little bend is ok. The reason that is ok? You can straight leg more then you can row and your back is still. Anything else I can think of requires straight back though.

Posted: Mon May 22, 2006 9:08 am
by TimD
Ironman pretty much summed it up, but to another point, I didn't see that the back bend in the vid clip was all that exessive. Also, there are two camps on this issue, and I'm sure O will diagree, but some strength coaches I know actually teach it done with the bend as show, reason being, when you straighten up the upper back (retractring the scapula), it strengthens all those little muscles in the upper back, so you're killing several birds with one stone so to speak.

Posted: Mon May 22, 2006 10:08 am
by KPj
thanks for the replies, was really just paranoid as it seemed like a contradiction. I understand what was said but with one question,

Iron man said that you really need have strong abs for this. Would it be just as important to have a strong lower back before doing it?

I'm not arguing with the point on abs, just wondering.... Although, I can see how this(lower back) wouldn't matter too much if you were to start with a really light weight? Can also see that I probably just answered my own question :-)

What's everyones opinion on the straight back, straight leg deadlift? ... dlift.html



Posted: Mon May 22, 2006 10:56 am
by MattZ
If you do the bent-back variety, you'll need to use less weight. Also, keep your erectors tight throughout, even when your stretching them (I know this sounds contradictory, but try it). The trick is to keep your back straight for as long as possible on the way down, before allowing your spine to flex, then straitening it as soon as you start to come back up. I've done these on a low box with the bar touching the tops of my feet at the bottom, but I'm more flexible than most.

Meanwhile, the straight-back variety (which I prefer), are more like a standard deadlift. These are better for developing the hamstrings, since you can use more weight, and your erectors still get worked hard isometrically.

Posted: Mon May 22, 2006 11:19 am
by George G

Posted: Mon May 22, 2006 12:09 pm
by KPj
Thanks again for the info/advice.


Posted: Mon May 22, 2006 1:21 pm
by Ironman
Well you have abs, lower back and hams taking most of the weight. So you are limited by whatever is weeker. The week link will get worked hard and will adapt. It won't be long before it catches up. The only thing is, if your abs are very week, your lower back ends up doing all the work they should be doing. This leaves it vulnerable. Starting with light weight and moving up slow is a good solution though.

Posted: Mon May 22, 2006 1:22 pm
by Mog16
I used to do this ex on a platform with ~185-225 following the methodology of bending the back, I probably went a little too low (hands 1-2 inches below feet) but I got a KILLER ham workout. During that time I never really noticed any specific lower back pain. Recently I've been having strange tightness and odd sensations in my lower back so I switched to going from the ground following straight leg/stiff back modality, and while in general I don't feel anywhere near as strong of a ham workout I do get a fairly good one if I really focus on going slow and keeping everything straight/stiff and the weights right along my legs.

Posted: Wed May 24, 2006 7:55 am
by Merc82nd
When you stretch your back mog16, do you tuck your chin to your chest?

Posted: Tue May 30, 2006 11:35 am
by MattZ
I don't know about him, but I always keep my chin up and my shoulders back. The only time I lose sight of the mirrow is at the very bottom or each rep (bent-back variety).

Posted: Tue May 30, 2006 11:35 am
by MattZ