This is an amazing exercise that works a variety of different muscle groups. The hamstrings, gluteus maximus, claves and lower back are all exercised during this motion. The compound movement and the strength it develops in your lower torso and hamstrings creates a better overall standing posture and a solid physical foundation to accomplish other exercises safely and efficiently. The utmost care must be undertaken with this exercise and the use of a weight belt is highly recommended for beginners. Performing this motion incorrectly can permanently injure your spine.
Select an appropriate amount of weight that you are comfortable with and load it onto the barbell. You might want to consider wraps to improve your grip on the bar and lessen the degree of strain on your forearms.
Make certain that the bar is position parallel to your hips. The bar should be on the floor in front of you just in front of your toes. Grasp the bar with your hands spaced approximately sixteen inches apart (or about the length of two and a half pencils). You should be bent at the waist holding the bar at this time. Keep all vertebral sections aligned along your spinal column and raise your head to look forward as if you were about to begin a sprint. Your knees should be just slightly bent Keep your feet squarely under you, inhale, and straighten yourself to a standing position while exhaling half way through the motion. At no time during this movement should your back bow or bend.
To descend down from the now fully erect position; keep your head hyper-extended and your back straight with all vertebrae in alignment. Bend from the waist keeping the bar close to your body. You back should remain unbowed and in alignment during this step. You should try to lower the bar as much as possible while keeping your back straight. Inhale on the way down and then begin the return to the standing position.
This exercise can be performed either with a barbell, dumbbells or on the smith machine. It is recommended for beginners to use a weight belt and perform this exercise under the supervision of a spotter. Do not jerk the bar or perform this lift with excessive weight as serious inury will most likely occur.
This exercise is similar to the bent leg deadlift with the exception that your lower back does more work under a greater degree of stress.