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1RM Deadlift Critique

Went big (for me) this morning. Been after 400 for a while now and got it today. Two reps, back felt curved on one, better on two. My form got away from me. Would appreciate some feedback on how bad it got away?

Many thanks,

I’ll agree. It looks like you could be a little more tight. It looks like a little too much back to me.

First, congrats on hitting 400 (if that’s your first time) - that’s a nice milestone to hit.

Second, I often recommend that people read an article from the website Breaking Muscle called “What We Mortals Can Learn From Eddie Hall’s 500kg Deadlift” because I think it does a nice job addressing what “back rounding” really is and when it’s OK (slight upper back round often allows a better starting position) vs. when it’s potentially harmful (lower back round, which is a nightmare to uncurl at the top).

Third, I’m not surprised your second rep was actually a little better than the first. That’s common with touch-and-go deadlifts because on the second rep you’ll get a little bounce off the floor and a bit of stretch reflex. There’s nothing wrong with that, just worth understanding.

I’m just a nobody and technically not over 35 (34 y/o, ~6 years lifting, 500lb conventional D/L) but here are my thoughts:

  1. Your starting position needs work before you even start the pull. You start with the bar already in front of your shoulders when it should be under them, which is moving the weight away from you and the opposite of what you want to happen (Check your video at 0:07 and notice how far the bar is from your legs before you even actually start moving the weight). You want to keep the bar as close to your body as possible (an infinite number of articles refer to this as dragging the bar up your shins). When I setup, I position my shins so they are about an inch away from the bar when I am standing which means as I grab the bar they will actually lightly come into contact with it.
  2. Do not jerk the weight to start your lift. All that is going to do is jeopardize the safety and health of your back. Instead, get into position then pull the slack out/create full-body tension by dropping your hips as you activate your lats by pulling the bar in tight, a la straight-arm pull-down (another cue is to pull your shoulder blades down into your back pockets or squeezing oranges in your armpits). When you get tight into position that way, you’ll feel a big difference in the lift and how much more efficiently you move.

Congrats on the pull! Nice to catch a number you’ve been chasing! As tls2death mentioned, working on some cues will help tighten you up (“sitting back”, keeping shins vertical (or close), and taking the slack out of the bar all really helped me personally) solid set of pulls!

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Thanks all. I appreciate the input. I pulled again since then, with much more control. Felt great, not jerky, and really much improved mentally from this one.

Yes, first pull at 400. Felt great to check that off the list. 100 pounds to go to be in the 1,000 pound club.

I gotta keep the bar closer to my shins. There is just something about dragging the bar along my bony ass shins that sends chills down my spine. Still, I gotta do it. I wore long soccer socks this last deadlift, and maybe mentally it helped. I see they sell “sleeves” to wrap your shins in… but not sure if I want to go that far with it. I think I just need to grin and bear it.

Thanks again all - I appreciate the feedback.

I’m no expert but your first rep you jerked the bar, hips started too low and you were out too far over the bar. Your second rep looked really good - hips were perfect height, shoulders were over the bar and you smooth pulled the bar with no jerking. Once again I am no expert.

I’d say NHLFTR is pretty far from a non expert, trust his judgment.

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Late to the party as I’ve not been participating in the over 35 forum till now.

But tls2death and NHL have your main issues covered. The biggest is how far the bar is out in front of you. you would have shredded that first rep with better form. Protip: get knee high socks (Moxy’s on amazon for $10, but I really like Chris Duffin’s from Kabuki strength), and make sure you set up in your bottom position with your shins touching and graze your shins on the way up. Socks will give you more confidence to do that since you won’t be cheese grating your shins.

I’m 48, compete at 198 lbs and pulled 550 in the gym two weeks ago and stalled for a second at the knees cause I let the bar get a smidge out in front of me. That forward bar position can kill a max attempt.