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Bottoming Out In Deadlifts?


Hi guys,

I have a problem... starting deadlifts (in the hole) is very difficult for me. Once I get up to my serious working weight, I simply get stuck in the hole, and I have to kind of bend over and break proper form to get the bar up.

Does this mean I have a weak posterior chain? If so, what can I do to build up strength there so I can start deadlifting seriously?

I'm a beginner, been lifting for about 9 months, took a 4 month break which ended some 3-4 weeks ago for swimming, and as a serious skinny bastard, my numbers aren't very high, but I am seeing very pleasing progress in my physique and in my lifts, but I just need those deadlifts.



Glad to read you need the deadlifts... I think we all do!

Please give us your #'s so we can properly adress the situation but if you DL 135 or more...

You can try a few things. First, try dl-ing with 35 lb pates or 25 lb plates on the bar in order to start the DL from a lower position. Switching back to 45's will seem easy by comparison. Also -and this may need to wait until you are more "seasoned"- you can try lighter, faster deadlifts in the 3-5 rep range to build speed off the floor.

As I said though, you may just want to leave the latter suggestion for "later".

There's no good reason for you to have stalled in the DL yet.


It might be a technique problem, try pretending that there is a fish hook under your chin next time you do deads. Also, keep your shoulders and traps firm.

If you think it's just because of weaknesses, I find the exercises that gave me a good base for this workout were heavy BB Rows, I think they really trained my back to be straight under pressure. I never really had any problems doing deads, but that heavy BB Row form could help.


I love rows, but sadly, that's not the problem. In fact, the problem is that I can't do deads with my working weight while I keep a straight back. It's not that my back rounds over, it's that I need to lean forward a bit, and I think this activates my quads more.

Anyways, derek, thanks for the tip, I'll try that next time. What about RDLs and glute-ham raises? Are those the most common exercises for stronger glutes and hams?

My 3-rep deadlift max is 165, which I can do without much difficulty. When I do 3x8, and I get 45s on the bar, that's when I really see a problem, especially after the first few reps. This wednesday, I tried 3x8 with 145, and it was by the end of the first set and the start of the second that I said, my deadlifts are shit, I better get some help on this.

If it's at all significant, I squat well more than I deadlift. My 3-rep max is close to 200, and I can do 3 x 8 with around 170.


Do them off a 6" box and move quickly. Also if your form suffers back the weight up and move up only when you can.


You also may want to try reversing the 3x8 by doing 8x3 and see what happens.