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16 Year Old 500lb Deadlift

This is a video of me deadlifting 500 this Sunday. It was a 65 pound PR, and I just wanted to know some form advice, because I know there’s a lot I can improve on. I tweaked my shoulder pretty bad yesterday at football lifting so I have a lot of time to do research on form etc so any advice would be appreciated.

16 years old
5’10
208 BW
Clean: 245x3
Deadlift: 500
Bench: 275
Squat: 350


Here’s the video

Good job in getting 500 lb to lockout, but I would really be concerned about the rounding of your entire back going up, and down but to a lesser extent there. Personally I’d reduce the weights you’re deadlifting and work on keeping your back straight until that’s fixed.

I will say that the fact you managed to lock it out was quite impressive though. In my inexpert opinion I’d say your back is strong enough given the range of extension it had to go through, so maybe you’re not just using the right cues?

On a side note I’d be interested to see your squat. Given your deadlift it seems that 350 is a bit low, no offense.

[quote]238 wrote:
Good job in getting 500 lb to lockout, but I would really be concerned about the rounding of your entire back going up, and down but to a lesser extent there. Personally I’d reduce the weights you’re deadlifting and work on keeping your back straight until that’s fixed.

I will say that the fact you managed to lock it out was quite impressive though. In my inexpert opinion I’d say your back is strong enough given the range of extension it had to go through, so maybe you’re not just using the right cues?

On a side note I’d be interested to see your squat. Given your deadlift it seems that 350 is a bit low, no offense.[/quote]

Yeah I definitely need to work on the rounding of my back. While training, I keep a good flat back and keep form, at least I feel like it. But I was maxing this day after my 12 week program, and the goal was 500 and shit I was going to get it!! What do you mean by cues tho? And I just feel like deadlift is much more natural, I’ve never felt comfortable squatting, and as much as I try to find a comfortable way to do it I just can’t, so it’s definitely something I need to work on.

Cues are specific things to keep in mind to fix technique flaws. So for example, with your back rounding I might tell you to keep your chest up, it’s rather hard to have your chest up and round your back at the same time.

Another option might be to wear a belt. Not for any support/stability so it doesn’t need to be extra tight, but tight enough so that if you do round over it’ll start digging into your ribs as a rather obvious reminder. Or if you want, go ahead and make it tight so that you can’t bend your lower back and learn how it feels to deadlift like that, then remove the belt when you think you’ve got it.

Good job on the lift, but you are 16. Take your time, stay healthy and be patient. You might wanna still be lifting 30 years from now.

500 lbs is a lot to pull at 16, so that’s the good news. The bad news is you won’t be lifting for long if you keep pulling like this.

As others have said, there is way too much back rounding going on here. Go check out pwnisher’s video tutorial on the deadlift (floating around on quite a few threads in the PL forum). Some great advice there, and the cues and techniques he talks about should get your form headed in the right direction.

Squat being 150 lbs behind your DL is probably because (1) the deadlift will almost always go up quicker in the beginning of one’s lifting journey – the squat takes more time to build; and (2) looks like your arms are relatively long – your leverages are likely more suited to a DL than a squat to begin with. Add in the fact that you can add some lbs to your DL if you don’t give a shit about spinal health, whereas poor form isn’t going to add lbs to your squat, and the 350/500 doesn’t seem out of whack at all.

500 lbs is a lot to pull at 16, so that’s the good news. The bad news is you won’t be lifting for long if you keep pulling like this.

As others have said, there is way too much back rounding going on here. Go check out pwnisher’s video tutorial on the deadlift (floating around on quite a few threads in the PL forum). Some great advice there, and the cues and techniques he talks about should get your form headed in the right direction.

Squat being 150 lbs behind your DL is probably because (1) the deadlift will almost always go up quicker in the beginning of one’s lifting journey – the squat takes more time to build; and (2) looks like your arms are relatively long – your leverages are likely more suited to a DL than a squat to begin with. Add in the fact that you can add some lbs to your DL if you don’t give a shit about spinal health, whereas poor form isn’t going to add lbs to your squat, and the 350/500 doesn’t seem out of whack at all.

Just thought I’d chime in with a slightly different opinion. The rounding doesn’t bother me so much, there are people who pull that way without ever injuring their back. Very nice deadlift.

that’s impressive at 16. also

I’ve always wondered about how my back rounds on my deadlifts. Guys that I see making crazy 800 pound pulls often round the back with no issue, and I’ve never had an issue with this type of pulling. The opposite really, since I started just lifting up the weight instead of worrying about a bunch of technique I’ve felt better in my back and pulled more weight. Is it possible some people can handle the stress on their back, like that’s just the way you’re meant to pull? Just an idea, would really like to hear what you guys have to say

[quote]Hunter2016 wrote:
I’ve always wondered about how my back rounds on my deadlifts. Guys that I see making crazy 800 pound pulls often round the back with no issue, and I’ve never had an issue with this type of pulling. The opposite really, since I started just lifting up the weight instead of worrying about a bunch of technique I’ve felt better in my back and pulled more weight. Is it possible some people can handle the stress on their back, like that’s just the way you’re meant to pull? Just an idea, would really like to hear what you guys have to say[/quote]

You posted a max lift that was also a PR, so I’d pretty much expect it to look like shit. It’d be much more useful to judge form off what you can do in the 80%-90% range. Likewise, I wouldn’t base my idea of good form off other people’s max lifts, especially if it’s a competition lift performed at the end of a full meet.

That being said, here’s what I see looking at the video: you initiate with the quads (good) but the bar doesn’t move and your back immediately rounds (bad). This indicates that your lower back isn’t strong enough to handle the weight you’re lifting there. The plates don’t actually start moving until you wrench them off the ground using your rounded back as a lever. Your glutes and quads are thereby taken out of the lift.

I wouldn’t ever advocate allowing the lower back to round, at least to the extent in your video. Some of the other lifters here, many of who could probably out-deadlift me, may disagree, but to me it indicates a weakness. If the upper back rounds, that’s different. You’ll see that on someone like Konstantinovs, who is mostly neutral in his lower back but quite rounded in the thoracic area. Newer lifters probably wouldn’t have the motor control to tell the difference though.

You’re 16, so hammering out technique and doing heaps of core work now will pay out huge dividends down the line.

[quote]Cimmerian wrote:

[quote]Hunter2016 wrote:
I’ve always wondered about how my back rounds on my deadlifts. Guys that I see making crazy 800 pound pulls often round the back with no issue, and I’ve never had an issue with this type of pulling. The opposite really, since I started just lifting up the weight instead of worrying about a bunch of technique I’ve felt better in my back and pulled more weight. Is it possible some people can handle the stress on their back, like that’s just the way you’re meant to pull? Just an idea, would really like to hear what you guys have to say[/quote]

You posted a max lift that was also a PR, so I’d pretty much expect it to look like shit. It’d be much more useful to judge form off what you can do in the 80%-90% range. Likewise, I wouldn’t base my idea of good form off other people’s max lifts, especially if it’s a competition lift performed at the end of a full meet.

That being said, here’s what I see looking at the video: you initiate with the quads (good) but the bar doesn’t move and your back immediately rounds (bad). This indicates that your lower back isn’t strong enough to handle the weight you’re lifting there. The plates don’t actually start moving until you wrench them off the ground using your rounded back as a lever. Your glutes and quads are thereby taken out of the lift.

I wouldn’t ever advocate allowing the lower back to round, at least to the extent in your video. Some of the other lifters here, many of who could probably out-deadlift me, may disagree, but to me it indicates a weakness. If the upper back rounds, that’s different. You’ll see that on someone like Konstantinovs, who is mostly neutral in his lower back but quite rounded in the thoracic area. Newer lifters probably wouldn’t have the motor control to tell the difference though.

You’re 16, so hammering out technique and doing heaps of core work now will pay out huge dividends down the line.
[/quote]
So you’re saying as long as my work sets are done with a neutral spine and good form, bad form on a max deadlift is nothing to worry about?

A true max might look a bit ugly, but the basic mechanics of the lift should stay the same: quads initiate bar movement before following through with hips. It would look different to the pull in your video.

What I was kind of getting at is that it’s what you do in your work sets that builds a 500lbs pull, and we can’t really judge the technique of your work sets from a video of a max lift. Yeah, I’d expect them to look a lot better. Reinforce good technique by training as well as you can, not necessarily as heavy as you can.

For the record, I’m a 500lbs deadlifter, but have worked with a number of clients/friends coaching, fixing technique etc.

[quote]Cimmerian wrote:
A true max might look a bit ugly, but the basic mechanics of the lift should stay the same: quads initiate bar movement before following through with hips. It would look different to the pull in your video.

What I was kind of getting at is that it’s what you do in your work sets that builds a 500lbs pull, and we can’t really judge the technique of your work sets from a video of a max lift. Yeah, I’d expect them to look a lot better. Reinforce good technique by training as well as you can, not necessarily as heavy as you can.

For the record, I’m a 500lbs deadlifter, but have worked with a number of clients/friends coaching, fixing technique etc.[/quote]
I understand what the form should be, and I know that my form is shit, but is good form just for safety? Or is the lift “wrong” if it’s bad form?

It’s for safety, strength, maximising weight lifted through taking advantage of correct muscles and leverages, and poor form can cause you to fail lifts if you ever plan to complete.

I’m not great at explaining these concepts in text, but this video kind of demonstrates what I mean

[quote]Cimmerian wrote:
It’s for safety, strength, maximising weight lifted through taking advantage of correct muscles and leverages, and poor form can cause you to fail lifts if you ever plan to complete.

I’m not great at explaining these concepts in text, but this video kind of demonstrates what I mean


That video sort of helped, but I still don’t exaclty understand how to keep my back neutral if it’s a heavy weight? Like I mean I lifted the weight, so I wasn’t going to not lift because my back rounded. So do I just need to practice more reps with better form and it will carry over?

[quote]Hunter2016 wrote:
That video sort of helped, but I still don’t exaclty understand how to keep my back neutral if it’s a heavy weight? Like I mean I lifted the weight, so I wasn’t going to not lift because my back rounded. So do I just need to practice more reps with better form and it will carry over?[/quote]

  1. Get stronger at doing reps with proper form. Yes, reinforcing good technique in training will carry over to pulling heavy singles.

  2. Assistance work: back extensions, light good mornings, kettlebell swings. Plenty to choose from. I’m sure someone else will chime in too.

  3. As someone said earlier, cues can be helpful. I use: chest up, butt down, back tight.

[quote]Hunter2016 wrote:
That video sort of helped, but I still don’t exaclty understand how to keep my back neutral if it’s a heavy weight?
[/quote]

That’s what cues are for if it’s a technique issue, and assistance exercises if it’s a strength issue.

[quote]Hunter2016 wrote:
Like I mean I lifted the weight, so I wasn’t going to not lift because my back rounded.[/quote]

I would be cautious about that statement and add the qualifier “this time” to it. You might very well try it again with the same weight and form but end up blowing your back out.

[quote]238 wrote:

[quote]Hunter2016 wrote:
Like I mean I lifted the weight, so I wasn’t going to not lift because my back rounded.[/quote]

I would be cautious about that statement and add the qualifier “this time” to it. You might very well try it again with the same weight and form but end up blowing your back out.[/quote]

Exactly. Building strength on shoddy technique is just shortchanging yourself in the long run.