T Nation

Coaching for this Type of Pull?


This is a little snapshot of one of my training partner's deadlifts.

What are the best cues and approach with this type of pull? This was taken on a set with 500 and he's gunning for 6, but has had to hitch everything above 565.


The picture isn't the clearest but here are a few things:

He needs his head up looking straight ahead.
He needs to squeeze his upper back tighter.
His low back needs to be flat.
He needs to straighten out his elbows.
He needs to keep his chest up.
He is extending at the knee too fast causing his hip extensors to do more work and do it inefficiently.
He needs to lower the weight for a few weeks and work on his form and motor learning.

Hope this helps.


Ass out! Head up! Pull in! Glutes,glutes,glutes!


In addition to the above, his shoulders start IN FRONT of the bar at the start of the lift. This makes it hard to break off the floor and most likely contributes to him rounding his back and extending at the knees too fast as a sort of compensation.

He has to stay behind the bar. Looks like he's completely on the front of his feet when he sets up. Get him on his heels at the start of the lift.

Of course, you're showing him at the end of a hard set of 6 reps, so who knows, maybe it isn't this bad on his first 1-3 reps.

His head needs to be up, and also his chest. Your body follows your chest, and your chest follows your chin. If your chin stays up, your chest gets better--look at the last two pics. Also, he needs to get some belly air. That will help keep his chest up. Looks like he could be caving over in part due to no air to support himself with.


Good cues, what about training approaches?

The pictures were taken on the first rep of a set of 5 also.


Thought you might find this worth a watch. Always good to get back to basics.


I think he would benefit from working on glute strength.

Pull-throughs, jefferson squats, glute-ham raises, reverse hypers, etc. . .

Lots of options there, but, overall, cutting the weight back to focus on form more and adding some hip strength (glutes especially) specific assistance work would help him, IMHO.

It looks like he locks out with lumbar hyperextension to some degree because his glutes aren't strong enough to finish the movement.

I think that can be addressed by doing high rack pulls and holding the weight at the top position. Maintain a good lower back position at that point and squeeze the glutes. I've heard of people doing this to teach the body to lock out with glutes instead of low back.


Make him do sumos. They force you to use the glutes and hams and make your conventional much stronger.


Lots of great advice and I think Chase K has really hit the nail squarely on the head. Some obvious observations:

From the first frame to the second. The bar has not displaced more than a couple of inches from the ground, but his hips may risen by a good foot.

I'll disagree about the hip extensor movement except for it being inefficient. From the second to the third frame, his hips are about as close to the bar as they will get. You can see little horizontal displacement. It's all low back.


I think it's a pretty simple problem - the weight's too heavy.

Look at his lower back in frame 2, as soon as the bar breaks, he rounds out. The problem becomes worse the further the bar moves, and all things being equal, if you cross your knees with a rounded back and near max weight you wont be able to lock it out without hitching it.

It's not cos his glutes are weak. Everything could do with being stronger obviously but the primary problem I see is his inability to hold his position off the floor makes the lockout impossible.

What causes his position to go? Core/lower back strength.


Yeah, they aren't necessarily weak, but I think getting them stronger would help his form.



dammit!!! i was gonna say that.


"Head up, weight back, hips through."


I'd disagree that his head needs to be up any more. In fact once the bar leaves the ground it appears his neck is hyper-extended. I agree though that he needs to get his chest up. The obvious answer to this is to keep lumbar extension instead of allowing the back to bend like that. He simply is extending his knees too much without moving the weight, hip angle shouldn't change until the bar is past his knees.


I think Hanley hit the nail on it's little, shiny head.

The cold, hard fact is that heavy weight (or exhausted reps on rep sets with lighter weights) breaks down form. As such, "form" is not an indicator of success- it is an indicator of not enough weight on the bar. This is true in the conventional deadlift more than in any other lift probably. I think all you can do in terms of coaching is make sure he starting from a position that complements his leverages and strengths. For example, a long-tegged, short-backed lifter may get a faster start with his knees in front of the bar. Some guys do better with their heels close together, some do better with shoulder width stance. Some turn their toes out, some point them straight ahead.