Straight legged deadlifts... I feel the stress on my back already by just reading its name!
Well, it's a great exercise for the Erector Spinae, Hamstrings and the Glutes but it's not an exercise that is 'bad for the back'. The important part is that the execution has to be impeccable to avoid any back problems. The reason why some exercises become more nototrious than others is because people don't execute them correctly, end up hurting themselves and then they blame the exercise for their lack of proper technique.
There are prerequisites and techniques for all exercises and SLDL isn't any different. I'll list some of them, for SLDL, concisely:
- You need flexibility in the lower back to execute SLDL correctly and harmlessly.
- Initially, lift really light and progress towards a heavier weight.
- Keep the barbell in the vertical line of your feet (Closer to the body). Any further and you risk undue stress on your spine structures.
- Don't do it if you have a history of lower back injury.
- A strong abdominal area helps decrease the chance of injury.
- Full range of motion is different for different people. Don't copy what the guy next to you is doing!
- Bend knees slightly to make it 'less dangerous'!