T Nation

Deadlift Critique Please



Hi all,

Just found this forum, and hoping this is an OK place to post this.

Wondering if I can get some feedback on my deadlift form. Just a lifter in my basement. Did three sets of ten this morning at 305lbs. Personal best for me. Felt heavy, but felt good. My lower back felt tight. Later in the day now, and I feel a little bit of soreness in my back, more in my hips. Got a little tweak in my knee, but I got up from a chair and twisted quickly, so that might have been a fluke.

Thanks to anyone willing to help!

  • You start with the hips way too high.
  • You over-exaggerate the lockout way too much.
  • You seem to wear running shoes. The squishy sole impedes force transfer from your feet to the ground. Ditch them.
  • Try deadlifting from a dead stop. Doing touch and go deadlifts only exaggerate the problems created mostly by the points above.

Start with the bar on the middle of your foot, take your grip, bring your hips down and your chest up without letting your shins push the bar forward, brace and pull.


I agree with pretty much everything the first responder said.

I’d add that I like to try and keep my head/neck aligned with my spine. You gaze is far up, which is causing your neck to be mis-aligned with your spine.

I don’t care so much about the running shoes, unless you plan to compete some day.


Thank you so much for the input, guys. This is so helpful. Lifting in my basement, there is nobody around to give me any feedback. I didn’t deadlift today, but just lifted a couple times using light weight and dropping my hips back. I feel the difference. Next time I dead, I’ll post another video to see if I corrected things.

About the shoes - yeah, I’d love to compete, but I realize I’m not even close to that level. 3 sets of 10 at 305, with bad form… I don’t know what my 1RM is, but would want to correct my form before attempting that. I’m 192LBS… what kind of weights do people put up in competition at that weight class?

Thanks again for humoring me. It was my first post, and I appreciate the help. I like the forum, and hope to contribute, rather than just post questions. So thanks again. I appreciate your time in helping me out.



At your weight at a good comp it can range in the high 5s to low 7s it all just depends on who shows up.

There is a really simple fix for your shoes. Since you’re at your own house just take them off and lift barefoot


Any improvement here? I find it hard to keep my arms straight and lower my hips at the same time. I keep wanting to lift the weight with my arms so that I can get my butt lower… Tried barefoot after this. I liked that!



It looks better than before after the first rep. Still, lose those shoes man. They do you more harm than good.


Definitely improved. To keep my head and back in alignment I usually stare at a spot on the floor in front of me about 6 feet out. I agree with all about the shoes - I am a no shoes lifter (squat too). Most athletic shoes have a slight increase in the back, the result being you are fighting balance rather than putting force into the lift. No shoes helps your foot balance your weight, distributes the force, and helps you feel the lift and balance. They do make flat athletic shoes but no shoes is more budget conscious considering all the other gear I’d rather buy…


I’m going to posit my own advice:

You have exceedingly long legs. That is going to make your back angle more parallel to the floor in a natural DL start position. And there should never, ever be slack in your arms when you’re pulling. You’ve got slack because you’re unnaturally trying to sink your hips so low.

Agree with don’t hyperextend the lockout so much and ditch the running shoes in favor of chucks, DL slippers, or barefoot.

If you have the time and attention span, read this:

Rippetoe explains that certain conditions must be met to be in an optimal pulling position. But back angle will vary somewhat based on body type.


Thanks again all. I hear you on the shoes. Going to go shoeless on my next dead day. I can definitely feel a difference in correcting my form.

kpsnap - I’m glad you said what you said. I do have really long legs. In looking at the video, I can see that I don’t always have slack in my arms, and I also think it’s because I have very long (monkey) arms.

Do you think there is any drawback to standing on a piece of wood (or something) to raise my whole body up 1-2 inches, to help with keeping my arms dead straight?



There’s no drawback to doing deficit DLs. They’re a great training exercise. But you need to find a natural starting position (without standing on plates or boards) that fits your body type. That second video looks (to me) like you’re overthinking it and trying to drop your hips into a position that is too low for your anthropometry.


You’ve over-corrected from the first video. Don’t scrunch yourself up (down) to get your hips lower. Try sitting back instead of down when you get setup. Stand in front of bar, grab bar, pull body into it (activate lats), sit back (tensions the posterior chain), up you go.

edit very late reply, sorry for waking the dead :slight_smile:


Check out these two deadlifting videos. I’m not just posting them randomly. I know there are hundreds of deadlift videos out there. But I actually feel these are very good for fundamentals and they helped me. About 10 minutes each.


This first video was great. Thank you so much for sharing it. Going to go back to refer to it before every lift for a while. I used this method, and felt so much cleaner and more controlled on 5,3,3 @ 375. Not a far cry from 400, and it felt great.

Thanks again.