T Nation

Big Deadlift Form Issues


You are treating it like a squat instead of a deadlift. AS shown, you need to not bend down so much at the knees and get those hips back and chest up.

Best advice I can give you is lower the weight and use better form, adress any flexability/stability/core strength issues. Most people are going to give you some fancy answer. It’s stupid. Lowering the weight and using GOOD deadlift form (and it varies from person to person). Will be as challenging as using shitty form.

Dankid and Zephead, some very useful advice that I plan on using - particularly the light singles.

Rhino Jockey, TREMENDOUSLY helpful. Did you just superimpose a diagram on top of the picture of my setup, or do you actually have a program that does that? The reason I ask is that it seems my lower leg is much longer than that of the diagram.

Regardless, that will help me fix a LOT of technique points. Obviously my hips are not far back enough, and I have too much knee flexion.

There are a couple of more subtle factors that I’m a little less sure on. Would it be safe to say that I need to get the weight more directly under my scapulae, chest up, and cervical spine not so extended?

if your going to round your back it is better to do it from the throatic part rather than the lumbar part. do you engage you lats and traps(feel them) when dead lifting with lighter weight? Also don’t finish lifting the weight till you get the start right, grab the bar in rdl form then drop you hips down and back when your ready to pull.

I can let the more experienced lifters weigh in on this too, but you should also make sure you’re breathing properly. By that I mean getting a big belly full of air and keeping it in until the lockout. It does make a big difference by keeping your mid section tighter and helps prevent the buckling thats evident in your video. It’s kind of a natural weight-belt. Inhale deeply, get a belly of air, and keep your abs tight. If someone tried to punch you in the stomach mid-lift, it shouldn’t really hurt you.

This thread is really a testament to what happens when people aren’t egotistical and care about adressing the OP’s issues. So much good advice I really hope the OP is able to sift through it and form a good action plan.

I would recommend keeping your upper back so fucking tight that it won’t even think of folding. If it folds then it is too much weight for now. I think Kelso’s Shrug Book would give you some good exercises to strengthen your upper back. Scapular retraction and depression strength i believe would help in particular. Good luck and keep us posted.

[quote]KurtMondaugen wrote:

Rhino Jockey, TREMENDOUSLY helpful. Did you just superimpose a diagram on top of the picture of my setup, or do you actually have a program that does that? The reason I ask is that it seems my lower leg is much longer than that of the diagram.
[/quote]

I superimposed it so the sizing may not be 100% accurate, but you can see visually how your hips are too low, etc. Glad it helped :wink:

I did a few light practice reps last night and getting my hips back and down definitely helped with the angle of my tibia. The tibia angle was one of the things that was causing some problem. The bar was way out in the front of my feet at the beginning of the rep, but my shins were against the bar due to the angle of my lower leg.

By getting my hips back I’m decreasing my knee flexion by a good amount. So my knee extensors will come into play a lot less on deadlifts with proper form. I really need to do a LOT of hamstring and glute work, since I’m very quad dominant.

To all of you who have wisely suggested upper back issues - there definitely are some. I have never felt much in the way of soreness in my upper back after doing deadlifts until doing those very light reps last night. This is probably because I didn’t resist the weight with my upper back at all - I just let it hang so to speak. I have pretty lower trap activation, as I can easily do “wall slides” - probably from doing lots of chins when I was a bit younger. However, I know there’s probably a huge difference in decent activation and sufficient strength to deadlift properly. I also think my scapular retraction is a bit on the weak side.

I plan on doing lots of barbell rows, inverted rows, dumbbell rows, band pull-aparts, and probably some lower trap exercises like YTWLI’s. Any other suggestions for good exercises to improve strength in my upper back?

have you tried using a belt

[quote]mrodock wrote:
This thread is really a testament to what happens when people aren’t egotistical and care about adressing the OP’s issues. So much good advice I really hope the OP is able to sift through it and form a good action plan.

[/quote]

You’re very right. Thanks again everyone for all of the very helpful imput.
I’m in the process of translating all of this useful information into a well thought out program.

[quote]kodiak82 wrote:
have you tried using a belt[/quote]

Yes. The belt doesn’t do much to help my form. Also, I feel like just slapping on a belt and proceeding to do things the way that I’m doing just ignores all of my mechanical imbalances and issues. I’m going to injure myself if I don’t fix the underlying problem, and go on just trying to fix the symptoms.

A belt won’t fix anterior pelvic tilt, weak core glutes and hamstrings, overactive lumbar spine and quadriceps, and having learned improper movement patterns.

Holy shit, talk about over analysis. Here is what you need to do:
(1) Arch your back and squeeze your shoulders together
(2) Bar closer to your shins
(3) Focus on a point in front of you and throw your head back
(4) Push through your heels
(5) Lift weight

Pick one of the first four each week to concentrate on throughout your sets and focus on it. Next week, next one so on and so forth. You are getting so much advice that I will bet you are thinking of about 36 things in your next deadlift session which is going to fuck you up even more.

About belts, I would suggest learning how to lift properly without one first, then you can start using one if you want.

[quote]dankid wrote:
Start PRACTICING deadlifts every time you workout. Do something light like 135 and do 10-20 singles. Make EVERY rep perfect. This isn’t work, its just practice. It can also act as part of your warm-up.

Do this and train for strength with other movements like RDL’s, squats and goodmornings until you can start to build up with good form on deadlifts.[/quote]

Very good advice. This is exactly what I did to fix my own deadlift. I had trained for a couple of years when I first started doing deadlifts so strength came pretty quickly but form didn’t follow. I started practicing, doing lots of low rep sets with low weight and used other movements to train strength, just like you’re suggesting here. Took a while but it did work, just be patient about it.

[quote]KurtMondaugen wrote:
I plan on doing lots of barbell rows, inverted rows, dumbbell rows, band pull-aparts, and probably some lower trap exercises like YTWLI’s. Any other suggestions for good exercises to improve strength in my upper back?[/quote]

[quote]Rhino Jockey wrote:
You are treating it like a squat instead of a deadlift. AS shown, you need to not bend down so much at the knees and get those hips back and chest up. [/quote]

Great job Rhino Jockey.

That is probably the best diagram/advice I have ever seen on this forum. Great visual aid for deadlift form.

[quote]gsherman14 wrote:
Holy shit, talk about over analysis. Here is what you need to do:
(1) Arch your back and squeeze your shoulders together
(2) Bar closer to your shins
(3) Focus on a point in front of you and throw your head back
(4) Push through your heels
(5) Lift weight

Pick one of the first four each week to concentrate on throughout your sets and focus on it. Next week, next one so on and so forth. You are getting so much advice that I will bet you are thinking of about 36 things in your next deadlift session which is going to fuck you up even more. [/quote]

  1. Why would you squeeze your shoulders together? Theres no way you could maintain scapular retraction in a heavy dead, and it just increases distance to the bar.
  2. No need to throw the head back and reduce hip drive and put unnecessary stress on the neck. Keep it nuetral. You should be looking slightly down (but neck still in line with your torso) in your set-up.

A lot of good advice in this thread though. I’d especially work on:

Stretching/foam rolling
set up position
light deadlifting when form is perfect

gi2eg, I’ve seen some posts of yours on the Lumbar Stability Thread. I seem to remember that heavy core training, especially weighted planks, helped your issues a lot. I would be willing to bet they’d benefit me a lot as well.

I’m curious what your back issue was (did you herniate L4-L5?) and what the cause was. I’m pretty sure if I kept at it with similar form for a year or so, that I’d be in a similar situation.

As for those three pieces of advice, I’m already ALL over stretching and foam rolling, and am going to be working on getting my setup and technique with light weight down.

[quote]kodiak82 wrote:
have you tried using a belt[/quote]

PUT ON A BELT!

[quote]jakjak824 wrote:
kodiak82 wrote:
have you tried using a belt

PUT ON A BELT![/quote]

READ MY RESPONSE TO THE POST YOU QUOTED!

[quote]KurtMondaugen wrote:
jakjak824 wrote:
kodiak82 wrote:
have you tried using a belt

PUT ON A BELT!

READ MY RESPONSE TO THE POST YOU QUOTED![/quote]

I tore both of my lats right were they connect to my pelvis i took a year of 6 months PT and lots of trips to the ciro, And now i lust put on a belt real tight and grind through it. Not to sound like an ass but I think your freaking out a little