T Nation

Dead Lift Mechanics Problem

Hi Guys,

I read the Dead lift article in the new T-Mag and I have a mechanics problem. I have a real hard time keeping me feet flat on the ground when I try to put my shoulders behind the bar.

I am long limbed, which I think may be part of the problem.

I can see the point of keeping the shoulders behind the bar (the pendulum effect). By I having a world of trouble executing. I am still hanging most of my weight over and in front of the bar and yanking it up.

Any suggestions?

Check the height of your hips. They may not be low enough to keep your shoulders behind.

Adam Marshall

Adam, I’m keeping them low as the article suggests. I was thinking today that maybe if I got my feet way forward and under the bar and kind of leaned back before pulling maybe it would work - have not tried it yet.

Any other suggestions?

I’m not telling you to give up trying to perfect your form for barbell deads but I’m 38 and have been training for 14 years and I couldn’t get my form right. I’m long limbed like you and no matter how many different positions I tried, I couldn’t get it right. I decided to use the trap bar to deadlift and immediately it felt right. It allows me proper foot placement, proper hip alignment and proper spine positioning. With the right technique my 1rm increased dramatically. I no longer feel the weight being lifted by my back (as a result of leaning over) but rather by my hamstrings, glutes and quads. Again, don’t give up but if all else fails, give this a try.

I hope this idea doesn’t come across as being too wussy. Likewise being long limbed, I was also lifting the bar with my back first before being able to take over the lift with the legs. “If only I could get the line of bar travel closer to my hips, like dragging the bar up my shins…”, I thought. But doing so causes nasty, bloody, scrapes up the shins from the knurling on the bar (I know, I know…puritans out there will be disgusted…). So, I made a sleeve from a length of thin rubber pipe insulation that slips over the middle section of the bar, covered it with cloth glued to the rubber, and secured it closed with a velcro strip that keeps the tube around the bar. It’s like a neck cushion-thing for doing squats, but much thinner and much wider. Now, the cushioned tube rolls around the bar, and I can drag the bar up and down the legs, focussing just on keeping the legs and back working as one. My lifts are steadily getting stronger, without hurting my back.

why don’t you just wear pants?

I don’t know how close your feet are together, but if they are close then try going for a wider stance. A lot of linky guys don’t have the flexiblity to have a narrow stance. Unfortunately linky guys just aren’t good at doing deadlifts.

I had exactly the same idea, but haven’t found the right materials, yet. Wearing pants works for now, but when summer comes I’ll have to get something put together. I sweat like a horse in the gym and can’t stand wearing pants when it’s too hot. I was thinking of writing in and asking if there was anything like this professionally made, but I think I’ll have to do like you did and make my own.

Try using less weight and telling someone who knows what they’re doing to watch your form. The movement should feel natural to your body. Also, what helped me a lot was stretching. Try sitting down with your feet extended all the way in front of you and touching your toes. Try to get to the point where you can hold on to your toes in that position for about a minute. Also, stretch your hips out. This might help your problem out of getting lower and really controlling your stance. Even then, however, you will occasionally scratch your shins. I just take the ‘occasional’ pain. It’s like wearing workout gloves to avoid callises. I don’t wear gloves, but to everyone their own.

Re wearing pants during deadlifts, same reason as Gary, I sweat a lot during training, summer or winter. I hope to “graduate” from the sleeve, maybe to hockey shins, as my strength evens out. Your point about stretching is valid. My ART/chiro has insisted I do more stretching to help with my deadlifts and squats, not just the calves, but all around the hips and thighs, as a way to prevent imbalances creeping in. ART has been terrific in sorting out some bad muscle firing that has limited my lifting for many years. It’s well worth a “check up” for anyone by an ART specialist to see what they might find. The problems are fixed very quickly.

Thanks for the input guys. I am going to try keeping my feet under the bar and yank the bar up my shins- if I don’t have success I am going to change bars as suggested. Im doing this to get stronger and not to compete so the end results is what matters.

Try wraping your knee wraps around your shins when you deadlift…i can’t wear pants either when lifting cause they are to hot and uncomfortable…you might get some stares, but its better than having cut and bruised shins for the next week.

I had to chime in on this, sorry it took so long…I very much disagree that lanky people are not good deadlifters. I am training a 21 year old who is 6’5" and he pulls over 600lbs…Long limbed people were made to deadlift. I believe that your problem is one of a few things…1) your feet may be WAY too close together, 12-16 inches is about right. 2) I am gonna guess that you are new to Deadlifting, and you need to gain balance, DLing is not as simple a lift as people think. 3) Strengthen your Hamstrings, and hips, so you can pull BACK and up…I would bet your hams are a weak link, making it very hard for you to pull backwards like you should…Listen You can adjust your stance however you want, but dont sacrfice good form now, just so you can lift a few extra pounds…Get the mechanics down right, lighten the weight, and gain some expierence…GOOD LUCK!!! PS: Make sure you are using a flat soled shoe! Tennis shoes suck for Deads