T Nation

Deadlift Form Check

  • think I need some work

Here is my most recent deadlift session, sorry for the non video editing. This stemmed from another thread of me trying to find a new belt for deadlifting, but realized my form my be suspect. And, it’s always better to fix form, then to get gear to accommodate for bad form (duh).

I did 4 sets of 6 at 375. First set video angle from the side. My first 2 reps I tried closing my legs in closer, to a width about 18" apart. It was hard, so I went to my regular pulls.

Second set is sumo with crap belt.

3rd set is regular with a front view with crap belt

4th set is sumo with big belt.

Things I notice on sumo is the bar drifts forward before coming back, I’m sure that’s bad. Other than that, let me know what I should do to fix my form, and if you think I should pull conventional or sumo.

I will say that conventional has gone down in the past 3 months from around 475 pr to around 445 or so. During this time I pulled less frequency, and have gained a little weight. I have since gone back to my higher rep/set count of deadlifting to hope to get it back. Also, yesterday’s DL session, the sumo felt quite a bit easier than it usually did.

edit, added video

No video

Edit: it showed up.

Looks pretty good. I the bar should not drift at all. If the bar is not touching your shins on the way up you it needs to be. You are jerking the bar off the ground, that is not good, you will hurt yourself. When you break the floor it should be smooth. when you get above the knee with both forms it looks pretty good, nice lockout. you have a lot more strength than technique right now, I hope this tips help.

Your heels are coming off the ground on almost every rep, and you have zero tightness at setup. That’s more or less the opposite of what you should be doing. You have to pull back. If anything, you should fall backwards on a missed deadlift. And you should NOT start with your arms flexed. They should be locked at the setup. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qp8Sx9dX9LM

This is a great video for teaching the deadlift, probably my favorite. Your setup is so far off on the sumo that I’m not really going to go into it. The video covers everything I would say.

You’re a big guy, and you look much stronger than what your deadlift PR would indicate. This tells me that fixing your form could do wonders for your total.

I love this video above, this guy cant take a full sentence without running out of air. He is always out of breath.

From experience I generate lower back pain and inefficiency from locking out the knees before standing upright which you are clearly doing. Mobility work is a quick fix. Do you defranco’s agile 8?

That video was awesome. It confirmed what I thought I was doing wrong, drifting, leaning forward, basically everything. Like you said, I’m just brute pulling it with essentially no form. Here is what I noticed wrong now after watching the video:

  1. Shoulders are starting in front of the bar. This really causes me to brute it up instead of pull back. If I pull back with my shoulders in front of the bar, it goes directly into my chins instead of following a path of my chins.
  2. Knees go forward quite a bit before I start the pull instead of out. My sumo is better than my conventional on this.
  3. Bar drifts forward on sumo, doesn’t seem to drift on conventional, but might a tad. This causes all the weight to be on my toes instead of heals, or vice versa.
  4. I need to move the pads around on the ground. I was standing on seams, and the bar was rolling on me a tad before the pull, hard to get into position.
  5. Pull the slack out first. I tried this once, seems very odd to me, but will give it a go again.

My bar path is all over the place, goes in, then out, then left, then right, it’s a mess. This video and the points above will drastically increase my dead. Unfortunately, I will not see results right away, but when I do, they will come fast. It will take a month to fix form, during that time I won’t pull as much as I do now, but once it’s fixed, I’ll join the 500 club asap.

For mobility, I don’t do any excercises, but I need to put some in. I’ve slacked in that sense in my exercises were my mobility, straight legged dead lift was for my hammy’s, fly’s for my chest, etc. I’ve always been flexible in the term of bending over / groin, but hips need work. I can generally put my palm on the ground with my legs locked, but I need to do hip mobility exercises, that is just painful right now.

I think I’m going to concentrate on switching to sumo. I switched to a wide stance on squat, low bar, and it is natural to me, sumo will fall in place with the exact same philosophy, only pull the weight instead of push it. Form should be almost identical.

Here is my last deadlift session. I feel there is a lot of improvement, but I also feel there is a lot more work to do.

Couple things I noticed:

  1. When I sit down, the farther I sit, the harder the pull, is that normal?
  2. When the bar is physically touching my chins on my pull, it is harder than when it is off by an inch or two.
  3. When I pull back too much, I fall over (you will see me stumble once, I did on a warmup set also). It also makes the lift much harder when I pull back that much as I lose my balance.
  4. I feel real loose in all these lifts, minus when I was doing 315, those felt more natural, dunno if it was due to practice or because it was lighter.
  5. The best lifts seemed to be when I didn’t start in a parallel squat position, but more of around a 45 degree position, normal?
  6. belt needs to be high, or else I can’t pull

The best rep of them all I think was the 2nd rep of 315, it was the easiest pull I mean, dunno on form.

One thing you don’t really see is foot distance, they are about as wide as they can go, and feet are at about a 45 degree angle pointing out. I played around a little with foot distance, dunno what is best. I read somewhere that the feet spread depends on your belly size and leg size. I have big of both, so not sure what to do.

1 Leverages vary from person to person. I don’t necessarily believe in ‘normal’ as it relates to the deadlift. There are certain principles that work universally, but everyone has different strengths, and those are highlighted in the deadlift. So based on that, everyone has a different ‘sweet spot’ from which they initiate their pull.

2 I don’t actually scrape my shins with the bar. Not everyone does. My opinion is that it’s not necessary.

3 Your shins are likely angled slightly backward at the initiation of the pull. shoot your knees slightly forward to counterbalance. You definitely want to be pulling backwards, but at the start of the pull, your center of balance should be closer to the middle of the foot. That being said, falling backwards is not the worst mistake to be making, it’s much better than the opposite.

4 dunno

5 This is pretty much the same as 1

6 I’m the opposite, but my body type is much different from yours. I’ve seen quite a bit of variation in belt use, so no big deal. I’ve also seen belt-less 800 deadlifts, fwiw.

It doesn’t hurt to play around with your stance and figure out what works best for you. As I said before, body-type greatly affects optimum pulling style, so you should try a lot of things. Also, uncomfortable is not always bad.

Keep it up, your efforts in improving your technique now will absolutely pay off in the long run!

[quote]flipcollar wrote:
1 Leverages vary from person to person. I don’t necessarily believe in ‘normal’ as it relates to the deadlift. There are certain principles that work universally, but everyone has different strengths, and those are highlighted in the deadlift. So based on that, everyone has a different ‘sweet spot’ from which they initiate their pull.

2 I don’t actually scrape my shins with the bar. Not everyone does. My opinion is that it’s not necessary.

3 Your shins are likely angled slightly backward at the initiation of the pull. shoot your knees slightly forward to counterbalance. You definitely want to be pulling backwards, but at the start of the pull, your center of balance should be closer to the middle of the foot. That being said, falling backwards is not the worst mistake to be making, it’s much better than the opposite.

4 dunno

5 This is pretty much the same as 1

6 I’m the opposite, but my body type is much different from yours. I’ve seen quite a bit of variation in belt use, so no big deal. I’ve also seen belt-less 800 deadlifts, fwiw.

It doesn’t hurt to play around with your stance and figure out what works best for you. As I said before, body-type greatly affects optimum pulling style, so you should try a lot of things. Also, uncomfortable is not always bad.

Keep it up, your efforts in improving your technique now will absolutely pay off in the long run![/quote]

All good info, thanks. I definitely noticed a sweet spot, I just need to practice to replicate it consistently. I was only going down that far just cause that’s what Dan Green does, and he’s a beast, so I started my trial and error with what he did. But, like you said, everyone is different. My strengths seem to be my back, traps, hammys, so I will start with a more rigid angle opposed to parallel.

I fall over when I start pulling back instead of up then back. ON 225 I damn near knocked over my rack I fell so hard haha, thank goodness that wasn’t videod.

I will say this. Pulling 425 a few times on sumo this week opposed to a couple weeks ago was a lot easier on some reps, and not doable on others, all due to form.

I think I’m going to try and do more rep work with deads at around 315 and play around with it. I won’t need much time to recover from that weight, and I can find out what seems easiest on the pulls.

I really feel all my strength is on the back side of my body opposed to the front. So, my next form test will be a cross of Dan Green and Brandon Lilly. Lilly is almost straight legged, dan is almost parallel. I’ll go in the middle and see how it goes as my next starting / testing point.

This was today’s form check session. It looks a lot better I think, so please let me know if I’m missing anything.

I worked up to 455 today, that was damn heavy, but I expect it to still be heavy for a while. I like working up to heavy weights where I will fail so I know what I’m doing wrong. For example, I know that anything over 400 pounds my lower back engages a lot, and when the weight is too much, or form is off, my lower back flexes so much that I know it is going to cause an issue, and I back off / drop the weight.

Which brings a question, should my sumo be engaging my lower back so much? I lowered my belt to compensate for the “pump” it gives on a heavy rep, which helped. I’m just afraid my form may be off since it engages so much. If sumo just engages lower back, then ok, time to work on some assistance work as my lower back has always been weak.

I also tossed on my shoes with a heal for the 455 set, after I failed on it once. For whatever reason, I get better leverage with a healed shoe on deadlift.

[quote]dzirkelb wrote:

Here is my last deadlift session. I feel there is a lot of improvement, but I also feel there is a lot more work to do.

Couple things I noticed:

  1. When I sit down, the farther I sit, the harder the pull, is that normal?
  2. When the bar is physically touching my chins on my pull, it is harder than when it is off by an inch or two.
  3. When I pull back too much, I fall over (you will see me stumble once, I did on a warmup set also). It also makes the lift much harder when I pull back that much as I lose my balance.
  4. I feel real loose in all these lifts, minus when I was doing 315, those felt more natural, dunno if it was due to practice or because it was lighter.
  5. The best lifts seemed to be when I didn’t start in a parallel squat position, but more of around a 45 degree position, normal?
  6. belt needs to be high, or else I can’t pull

The best rep of them all I think was the 2nd rep of 315, it was the easiest pull I mean, dunno on form.

One thing you don’t really see is foot distance, they are about as wide as they can go, and feet are at about a 45 degree angle pointing out. I played around a little with foot distance, dunno what is best. I read somewhere that the feet spread depends on your belly size and leg size. I have big of both, so not sure what to do.[/quote]

It makes a lot of sense that the more you “sit back” the harder the lift is. When your torso is inclined and you start with your hips higher, the distance of your hips from the bar is diminished. The closer your hips are to the bar, the smaller the moment arm between the bar and the hips, which gives your hip extensors better leverage.

(That’s the reason you see people deadlift with round backs - it puts the hips at less of a horizontal distance from the bar)

As a personal rant, I’ve never benefited at all from all of the information from the “authorities” who give you difficult-to-interpret technique cues that are hard to integrate (pull backwards, arch the lower back while rounding the upper back, drop your nutsack to the bar). Every time I tried to incorporate one of these cues, I felt like I was making something else wrong - for example, I exaggerate my “arch” and then my torso is totally upright and my leverage blows. I learn much better by conceptualizing first, then trying to put the basic concepts into action. If you learn like that, you might benefit from this:

It’s a bit long, but it’s the best thing I’ve seen out there. It’s concrete and understandable.