Does deadlift work hamstrings? What kinds of deadlift variations are there?

Your hamstring is made up of three muscles: the biceps femoris, semitendinosus, and semimembranosus, which are all found in the rear of your thigh.

To bend your knee and extend, or straighten, your hip, all three muscles must act together. The hamstrings, glutes, erector spinae, and quads are all worked out in both variants of the deadlift.

Hamstring exercises are an often-overlooked but crucial component of a well-rounded workout routine.

Does deadlift work hamstrings
Does deadlift work hamstrings

Most lower-body workouts, especially pulling motions like deadlifts, require strong hamstrings. In exercises like power cleans and snatches, having strong hamstrings increases your explosive strength.

How to Deadlift Properly:

How to Deadlift Properly:

The Preparation:

Santucci suggests a hex bar if you’re utilising weight, especially for novices. If you don’t have access to a gym, you can use dumbbells instead.

Santucci recommends kettlebells as an alternative because the handle is higher off the ground, making it easier to slide hands down your legs and touch knees, creating the hip-hinge motion, according to Santucci. If you’re adding weight to the move at home, you can even use supermarket bags because the handles come up to knee height.

The Deadlift:

Stand tall with your weight in one hand, feet hip- to shoulder-width apart, knees bent, shoulders back, and chest proud. Slowly return your hips to the starting position, keeping your back straight, abs taut, and chest lifted.

As the weight descends towards the floor, use your hamstrings and glutes to fight gravity’s downward pull. Lower your legs as far as possible until you feel a tug along the backs of your legs. Return to standing by pushing your hips forwards. Rep until you’ve completed the appropriate number of repeats.

What are some of the advantages of deadlifts?

What are some of the advantages of deadlifts?

This exercise strengthens the hamstrings and glutes while also assisting with basic functional movements (like lifting grocery bags off the floor).

It improves your running form, economy, and power by strengthening the posterior chain, or muscles down the backside of your body. Deadlifts, in particular, can help you balance out your quad strength, charge up a hill, and develop your stride.

When it comes to deadlifts, how often should you do them?

When it comes to deadlifts, how often should you do them?

In general, you should have at least two strength training days on your calendar, so Santucci suggests adding deadlifts to your regimen twice a week once you’ve mastered the form.

When it comes to reps, if you’re just learning how to perform something, keep the volume low. Begin with 3 to 5 reps and gradually increase the volume. Santucci recommends aiming for 1 to 2 rounds of 8 to 10 reps with body weight and progressing from there. When you are able to accomplish 12 to 15 reps with ease, you can begin to increase the weight.

What kinds of deadlift variations are there?

What kinds of deadlift variations are there?

There are several variants you may execute after you acquire perfect deadlift form, according to Santucci. You can incorporate these variations into your workout or use one in place of a conventional deadlift in your circuit.

Deadlift with a single leg

With both feet on the ground and arms at your sides, stand tall. As the left leg raises behind you, shift weight to the right leg, hinge forwards from the hips, allow right knee to bend slightly, and drop body to the floor. Hinge forwards as far as you can comfortably while keeping appropriate form and a straight back. Allow neither hip to roll open; keep both hips pointing straight towards the floor. Return to the starting position in a controlled manner, grabbing the weight (if applicable). Complete reps on one leg, then switch to the other.

Deadlift in Romania

You’ll begin at the top of the deadlift with this variant. Begin by standing with both hands on the kettlebell. As the kettlebell lowers towards the ground, tip forwards by hinging at the hips with a gentle bend in the right knee. Maintain a straight back. Only lower to the point where you feel a tiny tug in your hamstrings, which is usually just below knee level. You don’t have to reduce your weight to the ground with this option. Squeeze your glutes and stand up again. Repeat.

Romanian Deadlift with Barbell (RDL)

Romanian Deadlift with Barbell (RDL)

Why is this one of the most effective hamstring exercises? Romanian deadlifts (RDLs) are a classic version of the classical deadlift that isolate your hamstrings and glutes better than any other barbell activity.

What is the best way to do the barbell? Deadlift in Romanian:

  1. As though you’re going to do standard deadlifts, set up with a barbell. Use a grip that is comfortable for you. To begin your first RDL from the hang position, deadlift the bar.
  2. Send your hips backwards while simultaneously lowering the bar with a slight bend in your knees. Maintain a tight bar path that does not stray too far from your legs.
  3. Continue bending until you feel tension in your hamstrings (but not discomfort). Keep your spine in a neutral position.
  4. Squeeze your hamstrings to return to the beginning position once you’ve reached the end of the range of motion.

Barbell Good Mornings

Barbell Good Mornings

Why is this one of the most effective hamstring exercises? Good mornings are a hinging movement that is similar to Romanian deadlifts but shifts the load to your posterior chain. Rather of the gluteus-hamstring tie-in, placing the barbell on your shoulders produces tension in the bottom section of your hamstrings.

How to do the morning barbell:

  1. As if you were doing squats, place a barbell on your shoulders. You can press the bar overhead by taking it from a rack or power cleaning it from the floor.
  2. Hinge your hips. Keep your knees softly bent and press your hips back.
  3. Bend at the hips and drive your body downward till you reach your end range of motion when you feel slight stiffness in your hamstrings.
  4. Return to the beginning posture by squeezing your hamstrings and glutes. At the end of each rep, make sure your hips are fully extended.

Romanian Single-Leg Cross-Body Kettlebell Deadlift

Romanian Single-Leg Cross-Body Kettlebell Deadlift

Why is this one of the most effective hamstring exercises? This unilateral action necessitates a lot of hamstring recruitment and control. The requirement for balance and stability is increased because to the cross-body element.

How to do Romanian single-leg deadlifts:

  1. In your right hand, hold the kettlebell. Plant your left foot and maintain your left knee slightly bent.
  2. Lower the kettlebell to the floor in front of your left foot, shifting your hips back. Lower till tension is felt, but only for as long as you can maintain a neutral spine.
  3. Return to the beginning position by squeezing your left hamstring muscles.
  4. Complete all reps with your left leg before switching to your right leg and repeating the process.

Squats vs. deadlifts

Squats vs. deadlifts

The deadlift is an exercise in which you lower yourself and pick up a weighted barbell or kettlebell from the floor with your hips hinged rearward. Throughout the movement, your back is flat.

Deadlifts can help you strengthen and define your upper and lower back, glutes, and hamstrings, among other things.

The squat is a movement in which you hold your chest upright while lowering your thighs to the floor until they’re parallel.

Squats can help you develop your glutes and quadriceps. Squats are also a functional workout, which means they involve actions that you could do in everyday life.

Does deadlift work hamstrings: Review

Does deadlift work hamstrings: Review

If your hamstrings are interfering with your ability to train massive deadlifts, you must grow stronger all over and focus on your hamstrings a little more.

Here’s how to develop your hamstrings while also strengthening the entire posterior, including the core, hips, buttocks, quads, and the remainder of the leg muscles that stretch to the upper back:

  • Variations of the deadlift can help you target various regions of your lower body and backside.
  • Sumo Deadlifts will work your complete body, with a focus on your buttocks, hips, glutes, and legs.

F.A.Q does deadlift work hamstrings:

Are deadlifts for hamstrings or back?

Because it includes an extension of the hips and knees, which trains the quads, hamstrings, and glutes, deadlifts are essentially a leg exercise. Because the back muscles, such as the lats and spinal erectors, are significantly engaged during deadlifts, it can be done on either a back or leg day.

What type of deadlift is best for hamstrings?

The dumbbell Deadlift in Romania (RDL) Why is this one of the most effective hamstring exercises? Romanian deadlifts (RDLs) are a classic version of the classical deadlift that isolate your hamstrings and glutes better than any other barbell activity.

Are squats and deadlifts enough for hamstrings?

Squats and deadlifts are enough to build your legs if you’re training for powerlifting or strength-based sports. You’ll need to do some isolation and/or unilateral work if you’re training for bodybuilding, general aesthetics, sports that need explosive lower body strength, or if you have muscular imbalances.


I hope that the given knowledge may assist you in overcoming your personal limitations. I hope you get started on your leg-building programme as soon as possible.

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Field John

If you are an avid believer in health and fitness and want to do something for your team, I can help. As the founder of Field Goals Fitness, I lead a collective of health and fitness professionals dedicated to helping Australians lead a more active and healthier lifestyle. With a warm, friendly, and supportive approach that gets results, I enjoy helping individuals & organisations achieve sustainable success with their health and fitness goals. Certifying as a Personal Trainer in 2009, was a turning point in my life. I had spent 14 years in the corporate world in Business Development roles and decided to take all that I had learnt in sales and marketing and start my own business.

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