T Nation

Deadlift Form Check

Hi everyone,

I’m hoping to get some advice on my deadlift. My numbers are steadily climbing but I feel like my form is going to cause me a problem at some point.

I feel as though I am rounding very badly (it doesn’t look as bad as I thought on the video, but it’s still not great). It doesn’t hurt my lower back to do this, but as I say I’m concerned about the long-term problems I may face.

So far my thoughts are that this rounding is due to one of 2 things; 1) a weak lower back and/or 2) my proportions.

In reference to 2), I don’t seem to be able to get my hips down at all, and I end up doing a quasi-SLDL as you can see. I have relatively short arms, short femurs, and long(er) shins.

I had done some higher rep deadlifting before I decided to make the video, and I’m using 80% of my max to illustrate my form at higher loads.

My form does not improve much if at all even when I try a ridiculously light weight, I suspect this is an important point and suggests my proportions are the main issue… Not sure though.

Thanks for any help guys,

Dave

dave that looks terrible mate, i think you should get someone to teach you proper form.

A random tidbit of knowledge:

Regardless of how rounded you upper back is, as long as you lower back is arched, your deadlift is “good enough”.

i’d say lower your butt more

Thanks for the replies so far everyone.

Just to clarify, I’m not concerned about rounding my upper back, I know that this is fine. It’s my lower back I’m worried about.

HolyMacaroni - thanks for the advice, but it seems that when I put my butt down I can’t reach the bar, unless I lean forward excessively. Maybe it’s hamstring flexibility or something, I don’t know!

like holymacaroni said: lower your butt - work on hip/hamstring flexibility if you can’t get low enough.

spidermans and pike walks helped my hip mobility out a lot - I’d say hamstrings too but I joined a Tae Kwon Do class and I feel the stretches we do there helped more for my hammies then either of the above two.

Short arms are a bitch when it comes to deadlifting. It’s the main reason why I can’t do conventional style deads.

I tried sumos for a while and my form was fine. If sumos hit your back as well as conventional deads i’d still be doing them.

Try pulling sumo. I have similar proportions and switching to sumo made my form far better.

Your back is rounding over pretty substantially.

You need to lower your hips before you pull and actively stick your chest out on every rep.

The set up is important get set before every rep ticking all the boxes.

Bar in close to your shins.
Chest up.
Hips Down.
Stick your chest out before you pull.
Pull wit the weight through your heels.
Once you pass your knees bring your hips forward to lock out the lift.

Working on Hip mobility and hamstring flexibility is also an excellent suggestion.

And on a secondary note rounding of the thoracic spine on near max lifts is nearly impossible to avoid but you should still be actively trying to keep your entire back straight.

Rounding of any sort is never really “okay” It still puts excessive forces on the vertebrae that could be avoided or lessened by actively trying to maintain flat back posture.

If you can’t get down to a satisfactory level, really loosen up the hammies. Band stretching has done wonders for me, allowing me to reach depths on dead/squat a few inches lower than I’d ever gone.

Just don’t sink your hips too low to the point where it actually looks like you’re setting up for a clean and jerk. There’s a difference between an “olympic pull” and a “powerlifting deadlift”.

You may want to try starting with Romanian deadlifts (racking the weight right below your knees) getting your form right. As your form improves lower the weight further until your doing complete deadlifts.

[quote]michaelhixon wrote:
You may want to try starting with Romanian deadlifts (racking the weight right below your knees) getting your form right. As your form improves lower the weight further until your doing complete deadlifts.[/quote]

this is good advice. teach yourself to pull with your hammies and glutes more instead of pulling with your lower back.

[quote]IrishMarc wrote:
And on a secondary note rounding of the thoracic spine on near max lifts is nearly impossible to avoid but you should still be actively trying to keep your entire back straight.

Rounding of any sort is never really “okay” It still puts excessive forces on the vertebrae that could be avoided or lessened by actively trying to maintain flat back posture.

[/quote]

I’d agree with this.

I would say part of your form issue is C] weak upper back. In addition to mobilizing your glutes, hamstrings, hips and ankles I would advise learning to start ALL lifts from the ground with a good lordic curve and retracted scapula.

This is not only a “back health” issue but also a performance issue. By having a rigid spine/core/trunk you are able to put more force on the bar and have less force “stolen.” think about levers. you two see-saw type levers, one made of rigid steel and the other of rubber. You have to fling a small pile of bricks the farthest. Which see-saw catapault thingy will chuck the bricks the furthest? the steel one obviously. As such it is easy to carry force through a rigid object.

You will notice during maximal comp lifts that when the upper back bends just slightly the bar slows significantly or stops. Keeping a solid trunk keeps the bar moving because when that shit stops, it fucking hard to get back going again.

Same with squat. as soon as your upper back bends the bar gets way heavier.

Also you have very odd leverages. Go for sumo as your comp lift/PR register and do SLDL’s as an accessory lift. Unless you want to be an olympic style lifter or are there is no need to DL classic style with proportions like yours.

-chris

Wow, thanks for the advice everyone, I really appreciate it. A special thanks to Avocado for writing all that out! Also thanks to grrrsauce for the PM.

I’ve recently started doing “Kroc” rows, so I’ll continue with these as per Avocado’s upper back comment. Other than that I guess I’ll just try to improve my flexibility.

I used to pull sumo btw, but it wreaks havoc on my hips now. Overall I much prefer conventional, so I’ll work on fixing these problems before I do anything else.

Avocado - do you say that I have odd leverages based on my video or based on my description I gave above? Just wondering.

Thanks again!

[quote]Dave_ wrote:
Wow, thanks for the advice everyone, I really appreciate it. A special thanks to Avocado for writing all that out! Also thanks to grrrsauce for the PM.

I’ve recently started doing “Kroc” rows, so I’ll continue with these as per Avocado’s upper back comment. Other than that I guess I’ll just try to improve my flexibility.

I used to pull sumo btw, but it wreaks havoc on my hips now. Overall I much prefer conventional, so I’ll work on fixing these problems before I do anything else.

Avocado - do you say that I have odd leverages based on my video or based on my description I gave above? Just wondering.

Thanks again![/quote]

based on your film. looks like your shins are more “in the way” than most peoples.

Also do you have a chiropractor? One issue that i notice is that many people have built up a lifetime of shit posture and this can lead to shitty lifting technique. Once i get athletes to my chiro they can far more easily pick up the lifts and control their spine.

Thing is that you have to learn to “feel” a lot of shit when it comes to posture and lifting. Having that kinesthetic reference point requires that what you’re “feeling” is actually where you need to be. I have people who are sure as politicians that their back is straight when they look like an upside down “J.” Not really their fault. They have been living in a world of slouched backs and soft chairs. An actual straight spine is something they have likely not felt in the last 75% of their life. Once they get crunched up a bit by a GOOD SPORTS chiro their physical reference point for “straight” becomes closer and closer to what "straight actually is.

Makes for way better lifting. Also provides an even platform for rehabilitation of postural issues.

-chris

Dave reposition your camera and post another vid so we can see your full image from head to toe. as it is the plates block the view and your camera is too close.
What I can see:
back is too rounded, flatten your back and try to get an arch

Your back is rounded before you even begin the pull. I wasn’t sure at first but after pausing the vid a few times it was obvious.

Some good advice was given above. The only other thing I would add is to check the bar position in relation to your shins. Is it scraping them on the way up? If not, pull it closer and get your butt just a little bit lower.