The straight leg deadlift will strengthen your hamstrings and can alleviate back pain. It's a great exercise for keeping your legs and buttocks toned and strong. You'll need an exercise ball, which you can find at sporting good stores or buy online. Read on to learn the proper form for doing a straight leg deadlift.
Using the Right Form
1Place the exercise ball in front of you. Position it so that it's within easy reach right in front of your body. If you want, you can cushion it with a towel so it's less likely to roll away.
2Stand straight and tall in front of the ball with your feet shoulder width apart. Straighten your spine and engage your abdominal muscles to stabilize your core. Keep your legs mostly straight, but not locked, with a slight bend at the knee.
3Hinge forward from the hips. Keeping your legs mostly straight and your back flat (don't round your spine), hinge forward from your hips to reach down toward the ball. Try to feel your weight mostly on your heels. Stop when your torso is parallel to the floor. If your form is correct, your butt will move back slightly as you bend forward so you can keep your balance. You may need to bend your knees slightly at the bottom of the movement if your hamstrings are tight.
4Grasp the ball. Place your hands on either side of the ball.
5Lift the ball. Keeping your arms straight and back flat, raise the ball and your torso simultaneously, stopping when your back is straight and you're holding the ball out in front of you.
- Don't bend your knees as you straighten back up. The only change in your position should be the angle between your legs and torso. You should feel the exercise in your hamstrings and glutes.
- Keep your arms straight as you lift the ball. Bending them puts less pressure on the muscles you want to strengthen.
6Bend again. Do another rep by bending from the hips and bringing the ball back to the floor. Remember to keep your legs and arms straight.
Getting the Most Out of Straight Leg Deadlifts
1Do 3 sets of 8 reps. Continue bending and straightening your body with the exercise ball 8 times. Rest for 30 seconds, then do another 8 reps. Rest for another 30 seconds, then do another 8 reps.
2Do the exercise three times per week. This give your muscles the chance to heal and rebuild in between workout sessions. Exercising more than this stands to damage or strain your muscles, so don't overdo it.
- This doesn't mean you shouldn't do other exercises while you're resting your hamstrings and glutes. Work out your arms, back, and lower legs in the meantime.
- Make sure you get a full night's sleep to maximize the benefits of your workout sessions.
3Increase the number of reps over time. When doing 3 sets of 8 reps starts to feel easy, increase the number of reps to 10, then step it up to 12 when you're ready. As your muscles get stronger, you'll find the exercise much easier to do.
4Increase the weight you're lifting. To make the exercise more difficult, try strapping weights to your wrists or holding small dumbbells as you lift the exercise ball. Increase the amount of weight in small increments as your muscles get larger and stronger.
- Don't increase the weight by more than 5 pounds per week, or you might strain yourself.
- Eventually you may be ready to lift much heavier weights. You can exchange the exercise ball for a barbell or heavier dumbbells when you're ready.
Things You'll Need
- Exercise ball