The straight leg deadlift is a very popular and often improperly executed exercise. You will see a majority of males completing these exercise with a need to load so much weight on the bar that form goes out the window. If you are not familiar with the straight leg deadlift, it is a hamstring, gluteus maximus, and spinal extensor strengthening exercise that is also referred to as the hip hinge. I love this exercise since I believe it works the gluts and hamstrings the way they are supposed to function as opposed to the popular selectorized prone or seated hamstring curl machines. In the past I always trained hamstring strengthening through knee flexion exercises, but after further research and reading it now seems more beneficial to train them through hip extension movements like deadlifts, hip bridge variations, etc.
During the exercise it is important to make sure you maintain a neutral spine position and keep the shoulder blades pulled back. To properly execute the straight leg deadlift, allow a slight bend in the knees (only about 15 degrees) and push the hips back slightly while hinging forward. It is essential to keep the spine straight and shoulder blades pulled back throughout the exercise. Lower down the bar or kettlebell close to the shins. Allow the weight to drop to a position where you feel a slight stretch in the hamstrings. Raise back up to the starting position by squeezing the gluts tight and pulling the hips forward. Maintaining proper upper body posture does get difficult once we start adding more weight to this exercise, so make sure form is perfect before loading up. Below you will find a video on proper execution of the straight leg deadlift. This is a great beginner/intermediate exercise that helps pave the way towards the single leg version which challenges the same musculature with lower resistance but adds a balance component.