There is a deadlift variation for every body type.
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The deadlift is a thorough strength-training exercise that targets an array of muscles in both the upper and lower body. It is a compound routine that, when done properly, can increase strength and improve flexibility, making it popular with athletes as well as lifters. The standard deadlift has a simple form, but it's a form that is not ideally suited to all body types. For example, longer-than-average legs hamper the performance of a standard deadlift using correct form. To remedy this, use another form of deadlift.
The standard deadlift is a two-phase exercise. It begins with a weighted barbell on the floor in front of you. Stand with your feet slightly wider than your shoulders, bend slightly at the knees and hips, then lower yourself down to grip the bar overhand or with a supinated grip. Lead with your hips and then your knees while keeping the back flat and in line -- don't arch it -- as you straighten and move to an erect standing position. Keep your arms straight and locked at the elbows. When standing straight, the barbell should be resting at mid-thigh level. Reverse the motion to return the barbell to the floor and complete one deadlift.
Long Legs and Geometry
One of the keys to a successful standard deadlift is keeping the back flat while you lift the weight up or control downward. Long legs may require you to arch too far forward while trying to reach the barbell on the floor, causing you to stick your buttocks out too far behind you and align your lower back at too acute of an angle in relation to the floor. Lifting with this arrangement risks injuring your lower back.
An effective variation of the deadlift for those with longer legs is the Sumo deadlift. It's called the Sumo because the form resembles the stance of a Sumo wrestler. It requires a much wider stance than the standard deadlift while protecting the lower back during each phase of the lift. The wider stance allows you to get closer to the floor despite having longer legs. Perform the same exercise as the standard deadlift, but stand with your feet far wider than your shoulders so that your feet are near the ends of the barbell.
Better Deadlift Angles
While the deadlift activates a number of muscles in both the upper and lower body, combinations of other exercises can be just as effective without interference to form or safety from long legs. The back squat, for example, activates all of the same lower-body muscles as the deadlift without any hindrance from your legs. Back extensions are effective for working out the lower back and spine, while lat pulldowns will activate the latissimus dorsi and trapezius muscles.