Exercise Profile
  • Target Muscle Group
  • Exercise TypeStrength
  • Equipment RequiredMachine
  • MechanicsCompound
  • Force TypePull
  • Experience LevelIntermediate
  • Secondary Muscles
    Glutes, Lower Back
Target Muscle Group


Hamstrings Muscle Anatomy Diagram

Smith Machine Stiff Leg Deadlift Instructions

  1. Set up for the exercise by loading a smith machine with the weight you want to use. Set the bar to the lowest setting.
  2. Stand facing the barbell with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  3. Bend down with your knees and grasp the barbell using an overhand grip (palms facing down) with your hands around shoulder-width apart or wider.
  4. Keeping your back straight, stand straight up resting the bar on your thighs.
  5. Get set up for the movement by pulling your shoulders back, sticking your chest out, and arching your back slightly.
  6. Keeping your eyes facing forwards, slowly bend at the hips lowering the barbell straight down close to your body. You should feel the stretch in your hamstrings!
  7. Lower the bar down as far as your hamstrings will let you comfortably. Now engage the hamstrings and begin to raise the bar straight back up.
  8. Your eyes should be facing up and your shoulders back. This will prevent your lower back from rounding.
  9. Squeeze up through the glutes and hamstrings until you're standing straight up.
  10. Repeat for desired reps.

Smith Machine Stiff Leg Deadlift Tips

  • You must keep your eyes looking up at all times. As soon as you look down at the floor your back will round!
  • The bar needs to stay close to your body throughout the set. The further the bar is from your body the more strain is on your lower back.
  • Focus on stretching the hamstrings out as you lower the bar and contracting them as you raise back up. The greater the mind-muscle connection the more you'll get out of this exercise.
  • It's best to have your knees slightly bent during the set but fixed (ie: bend them slightly but keep them locked in the same place throughout the set).
  • You do not have to use an overhand grip on the bar. You can use an underhand grip or one over / one under.
  • During the descent, to protect your lower back, keep your weight back on the heels. Do not let your weight shift forward onto the toes. If you find your weight on the toes when at the bottom position of the exercise, you are performing it incorrectly.
  • Do not relax at the bottom of the movement. Keep your legs, back, and abdominal tight as you begin the ascent.
  • Keep the rep timing slow and control the weight, especially when lowering. Remember the focus is on stretch and contraction!
  • One of the biggest mistakes people make when performing this exercise is bending over at the waist without moving the hips back. Instead of being supported by the large hamstring muscles, the weight is now placed almost entirely on the lower spine. Needless to say, this puts your back at great risk for injury. If you keep the weight close to your body your hips will naturally move back.
  • Technique is so important with this exercise. If you're just starting out, use a very light weight (or bar only) and practice the movement. Once you get the technique nailed you'll be able to move up in weight and start building some killer hams and glutes!
1 Comment
Posted on: Tue, 02/17/2015 - 15:39

Would def recommend someone that is trying this workout for the first time to pay attention to detail and try it with low weight.