T Nation

Deficit Stiff Leg Deadlifts for Hypertrophy?

Hey Paul,

Been following your stuff for a few years now and I have really been enjoying incorporating deficit stiff leg deadlifts into my routine. You clearly dislike the conventional deadlift as a hypertrophy movement. With that being said, I have often seen you suggest the deficit stiff leg deadlift as a hypertrophy movement for the hamstrings/glutes.

If the main goal is hypertrophy, would you still recommend the deficit stiff leg deadlift for hamstring/glute development? Or do you think there are more ideal alternatives that aren’t so systematically taxing?


I think they’re a great movement. One of the few that will work the hamstrings in the stretched position. They’re not too taxing.

Deficit SLDLs are a staple on glute/ham day for me.

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I just load the bar up with 35s. My gym doesn’t have anything good to stand on

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Listening to Paul on recent podcasts, reading his recent T-Nation articles as well as viewing his comments on instagram he often talks about barbell deadlifting being a shitty choice for hypertrophy. A big reasoning seems to be how much it impacts recovery.

Correct me if I’m wrong but the barbell deficit stiff leg deadlift seems like it would impact recovery at a similar rate compared to conventional barbell deadlifts or barbell RDL.

I’m just curious if Paul is still strongly recommends the deficit still leg deadlift for lower body hypertrophy or if maybe now the “Juice isn’t quite worth the squeeze”?

I never found that SLDL or RDL’s impacted recovery the same way. Perhaps because the loading is less or because there’s more of a stretch component to the hamstrings which taxes the spine less, I don’t know.

I used the SLDL to improve my deadlift. Not for size.

Can also do them like this. I much prefer this version.