T Nation

Conventional Deadlift Woes


#1

I'm not sure if this is due to a muscular imbalance, sloppy form, or a bad combination of short arms/torso+long femurs, but it is obvious to me that my deadlift is horrendous and murder on my lower back.

545x1

Instagram Instagram video by Thomas Meyer • Sep 7, 2015 at 7:04pm UTC

455x3, set one

Instagram Instagram video by Thomas Meyer • Sep 7, 2015 at 7:19pm UTC

455x3, set two, with a much wider stance, trying to stay upright and drive with the legs

Instagram Instagram video by Thomas Meyer • Sep 7, 2015 at 7:29pm UTC

What can I do to improve form or should I just stick to sumo?


#2

Can’t view the videos (work computer) unfortunately.

The weights themselves are decent enough assuming you’re male and weigh between 190-250 odd lbs (85-115 kg or so) which makes me think you’re no newbie who doesn’t know crap about pulling.

Bearing that in mind, and without any video, I can’t really help too much beyond saying that if your lower back is rounding, that’s a real problem. If your lower back isn’t rounding but pulling conventional hurts, its a problem. If your UPPER back is rounding and pulling conventional DOESN’T hurt, I’d be more inclined to say that may just be how you pull and maybe not something to worry about too much.

What’s your sumo pull like compared to conventional? If you’re pulling the same or more, just stick to sumo IMO and maybe do rack and block pulls and stuff, and good mornings.


#3

I can’t see how close your shins are to the bar. Could be bar position/setup. Hamstrings are the first thing that give out before the weight starts to move, which means your low back is taking the brunt of the lift.

So either setup is slightly off or hamstrings need work - maybe a combo of both.

The 545 lift in particular you get very rounded. Try and pull more w/ the upper back. Stay tighter up top and grip the bar as hard as possible. Some think you should just let your arms dangle like meat hooks, but that creates a loose back.

Remember also, the bar will not move until your body leverage is at its optimal position for the weight to move. That’s why set up is vital.

Strong lifts and keep working hard! Don’t forget, that 545 looks more like a max so things will start to appear when you get up that high. The 455 doesn’t break down as much.


#4

It looks like you depend a lot on your back and hamstrings for strength in the pull. There is room for improvement but it’s not an alarming issue since your lower back looks fine with the lighter weights (weights you handle for the majority of your training). Because your back and hamstrings are the dominant muscle groups, you can probably get away with adding more volume for your quads, abs and upper back. Do you do much work for those areas?


#5

Your hips are super low on the setup. Look how far they travel up before the weight breaks off the ground. You want your legs and back working together.

Check out
"5 Secrets of the Deadlift by Andy Bolton" on YouTube.


#6

[quote]osu122975 wrote:

Remember also, the bar will not move until your body leverage is at its optimal position for the weight to move. That’s why set up is vital.
[/quote]

This. It seems like your starting with your hips too low.

Read this article https://www.T-Nation.com/training/deconstructing-the-deadlift


#7

[quote]Alrightmiami19c wrote:

[quote]osu122975 wrote:

Remember also, the bar will not move until your body leverage is at its optimal position for the weight to move. That’s why set up is vital.
[/quote]

This. It seems like your starting with your hips too low.

Read this article https://www.T-Nation.com/training/deconstructing-the-deadlift
[/quote]

That statement isn’t always true. A person doesn’t necessarily have to be in their optimal position since they may not have the muscles to support that theoretical position. They just have to be strong enough to initiate the lift however they are positioned. We could have a misunderstanding here. Are you defining optimal position as his strongest position (the way he currently lifts) or one in which he gets better usage out of all muscle groups for his body structure?

I think the OP is intentionally starting low to get more leg drive but he doesn’t have the strength to start at the lower hip position.


#8

[quote]lift206 wrote:

[quote]Alrightmiami19c wrote:

[quote]osu122975 wrote:

Remember also, the bar will not move until your body leverage is at its optimal position for the weight to move. That’s why set up is vital.
[/quote]

This. It seems like your starting with your hips too low.

Read this article https://www.T-Nation.com/training/deconstructing-the-deadlift
[/quote]

That statement isn’t always true. A person doesn’t necessarily have to be in their optimal position since they may not have the muscles to support that theoretical position. They just have to be strong enough to initiate the lift however they are positioned. We could have a misunderstanding here. Are you defining optimal position as his strongest position (the way he currently lifts) or one in which he gets better usage out of all muscle groups for his body structure?

I think the OP is intentionally starting low to get more leg drive but he doesn’t have the strength to start at the lower hip position.[/quote]

Duffin sums up what I mean pretty well.

edit- Fast forward to 2:00


#9

[quote]lift206 wrote:

[quote]Alrightmiami19c wrote:

[quote]osu122975 wrote:

Remember also, the bar will not move until your body leverage is at its optimal position for the weight to move. That’s why set up is vital.
[/quote]

This. It seems like your starting with your hips too low.

Read this article https://www.T-Nation.com/training/deconstructing-the-deadlift
[/quote]

That statement isn’t always true. A person doesn’t necessarily have to be in their optimal position since they may not have the muscles to support that theoretical position. They just have to be strong enough to initiate the lift however they are positioned. We could have a misunderstanding here. Are you defining optimal position as his strongest position (the way he currently lifts) or one in which he gets better usage out of all muscle groups for his body structure?

I think the OP is intentionally starting low to get more leg drive but he doesn’t have the strength to start at the lower hip position.[/quote]

I mean when the weight is as high as he went at 525, the bar will not move up until the shoulders get squared up directly over top of the bar. Something will give out first if the positioning isn’t right before the weight will move.


#10

[quote]osu122975 wrote:

[quote]lift206 wrote:

[quote]Alrightmiami19c wrote:

[quote]osu122975 wrote:

Remember also, the bar will not move until your body leverage is at its optimal position for the weight to move. That’s why set up is vital.
[/quote]

This. It seems like your starting with your hips too low.

Read this article https://www.T-Nation.com/training/deconstructing-the-deadlift
[/quote]

That statement isn’t always true. A person doesn’t necessarily have to be in their optimal position since they may not have the muscles to support that theoretical position. They just have to be strong enough to initiate the lift however they are positioned. We could have a misunderstanding here. Are you defining optimal position as his strongest position (the way he currently lifts) or one in which he gets better usage out of all muscle groups for his body structure?

I think the OP is intentionally starting low to get more leg drive but he doesn’t have the strength to start at the lower hip position.[/quote]

I mean when the weight is as high as he went at 525, the bar will not move up until the shoulders get squared up directly over top of the bar. Something will give out first if the positioning isn’t right before the weight will move.
[/quote]

Yeah, you’re right about that. The shoulders do end up over the bar for a true max.

I was referring more to his hip and back positioning as a result of his strengths and weaknesses. From my experience, weak hips will result in changing of the starting hip position depending on how heavy the weight is and that can cause inconsistent training of the quads, glutes, abs and upper back. A weakness in any of those muscle groups can cause the others to be overloaded.