T Nation

Critique my Deadlift

Hey all,

I think my deadlift form is whack I’d really appreciate if you guys critique me hard so I can improve. Should I be lowering my ass to parallel like a squat or staying more 75 degrees? It’s very difficult to squeeze glutes while in a squat stance for me and is only noticeable until I reach the top where I can squeeze hard.

I pulled 315 a few times, but got the video on 225. I’m sure my form on 315 was worse.

To work on explosiveness, should I just keep deadlifting, or should I work on alternative exercises to bring up lagging muscles? I think my posterior chain is weaker than my anterior. I was having knee problems and the orthopedic surgeon said it’s from overdeveloped quads in relation to posterior chain. Any recommendations?


Edit… haha sorry I didn’t realize the video was sideways, not sure how to fix that.

I’d say keep your knee angle where it is in the video, on the first rep, but pull more explosively and keep your form tighter. I usually tell people hips below the shoulders, shoulders over the bar. 45 degree bend in the leg to start, just to see how that works. Kinda depends on your leverages though. Pick whatever makes you utilize your entire body efficiently, though. But the first rep in that video looked good to me.

As far as developing the posterior chain, deadlifts, box squats, and good mornings are never bad ideas. If you can’t squeeze glutes at the top, I’d try some glute specific movements, but I think good mornings will help you just fine, considering you’ve had knee issues due to overdeveloped quads.

Explosiveness, I’d go with more deadlifts, depending on how much you deadlift. Box jump variations and olympic lifts are things you should add in for speed and total athleticism. Speed deadlifts work too.

What are your lifts and goals? What kind of program are you running?

While your setup distance is good (bar over the midfoot (where your shoelaces would be)), you need to push your shins forward until they touch the bar. This will push your ass into a higher position (don’t intentionally drop your hips because it makes the movement inefficient); pulling from your natural hip position after your setup is what you want. Keep your chest up so that less of a hip pumping action has to happen at the end (it’s a straight up and down pull). Don’t pull, push through your midfoot to lift the weight, your arms are just along for the ride…how to achieve this? Flexing the muscles involved in standing up straight. Practice your form frequently, read

And practice your form as you read more and more things you find you don’t do properly.

All in all it doesn’t look that terrible though.

I can squeeze my glutes at the top, but not at the bottom.

My goals are to hit 500 raw. I think I can hit maybe 350 right now, I can pull 315 about 6 times before my grip goes out. I tried 405 but I couldn’t even budge it.

Looks good. On the first rep, you did something I want to point out. You started the lift with your hips low and allowed them to rise until the bar started moving. That will help you a lot. Not only does it put you at your best mechanical advantage, it will help you figure out your weak points as you go along.

That was too light of a weight to tell what your weakest point is right now. Seeing as your accessory work needs to focus on that weak point, post a video of your max DL (or pretty close to it).

But before you do that:

One little tweak I’ll suggest is to use your lats to pull backward as the rest of your body pulls upward. That will reduce the tension on your lower back, glutes, and hams by moving some of the load down the back toward the hips (shortening the lever arm, in effect). If you can get this right, it will immediately make your max DL feel like light weight.

It’s easy. Just set up with your shoulders about an inch in front of the bar, and pull back toward your hips (like the end of a straight-armed lat pull). Then just complete the lift the same as you do now.

Pulled this from the BOI thread (some damn fine lifting by Ashylarryku). Pay close attention to the cluster set (00:30), and watch his shoulder position relative to the bar.

Thank you for the very thorough responses!

So it is beneficial for me to start with my hips this low and rise until the bar comes up? It seems like in all deadlift videos I am seeing they are pulling at maybe 65-75 degrees.

[quote]CheslinK wrote:
Thank you for the very thorough responses!

So it is beneficial for me to start with my hips this low and rise until the bar comes up? It seems like in all deadlift videos I am seeing they are pulling at maybe 65-75 degrees.[/quote]
Starting too low and coming up is better than starting too high and then having to correct it later.

I was in the same situation with knee pain and over developed quads about two years ago. Developing the posterior chain is very important. Glute Ham Raises and Barbell Hip thrusts can develop these areas extremely fast.

The knee pain could be from posterior chain weakness however, it may also be that your vastus medialis (inner quad muscle) is stronger than your vastus lateralis (outer quad muscle) making sure these muscles are even can be crucial for knee pain because the unevenness puts a lot of stress on the knee.

This video I have posted a link to is of Bret Contreras. A common T Nation author and in my opinion a genius as far as glute development comes. I have seen direct improvements in my deadlift from doing Hip Thrusts (even though you look like a fool in the gym doing them).