T Nation

Deadlift Form Check


So I have a home gym so it's hard to get a second opinion. I was going to see if yall would look at my form on the sumo dead lift and give me any pointers? Everything feels good; I just want some pointers if yall have some.



Looks pretty good to me, try to aggressively push your hips into the bar at lockout. Also speaking of hips, in your setup try to get your hips as close to the bar horizontally as you can.


10-4 on the lockout.

What do you mean by bringing the hips as close to the bar as possible horizontally on the set up?

Do you you mean I should flare my knees more to try and move my hips forward or do you mean to bring my hips down some?

Thanks for the help,


Yes basically you will have to get the knees out more to bring the hips closer horizontally to the bar. But its kind of a trade off that you will have to lower your hips just a little bit more. Just be very patient with your setup, don't sacrifice your starting position if the bar is coming up slow. Once you start to break it off the floor it will be much easier to accelerate through lockout. All in all your form looks good though


Thanks for the help cparker



Good starting point, lots to work on.
Shoulders are way out of position - need to engage the lats to position the shoulder almost like you might in the bench with them pulled back and down. Obviously not with the goal of making a big arch, but with the goal of trying to mover your shoulder down into your lats. No more of this lifting with loose back and weird shrugging to finish the lift.

Knees out - they are forcing hte bar too far in front. Also, this poor external rotation of the hips, paired with poor shoulder position makes it so that you are lifting over top of the bar. You should be setup BEHIND the bar.

Tighten the back and entire rear chain - as you set up to lift hte bar off the floor, you need to lever off the bar to create maximal tension in the posterior chain, paired with tight lats to make traps to hamstring tight. Using the bar as a lever will bring the hips lower, closer to the bar, improve back angle, and enable a proper motor path for the deadlift - the deadlift is two distinct phases that flow smoothly together. The first being a drive through the floor to extend the knees with a static back angle. Then, if you are in good position, the hips shift forward to lock out the bar. This will in involve all cues I have mentioned (knees, lats, hips down, tight posterior chain, etc.) then having patience to lift the bar off the floor in this position and maintain it until the bar is crossing the knees which is when the knees are locking and the hips then slip forward into lockout.


Thanks for the details!

To be clear I need to:

1.) Put the lats in my back pocket. AKA pull them back and down.
2.) Push my knees out further to give the bar a more vertical trajectory.
3.) Sit back further behind the bar with a more upright back angle? (Will this be easier with points 1 and 2 being accomplished?)

What do you mean levering off the bar?



Mostly correct.

1.Not quite back pocket work in that you are more so engaging the lats than trying to retract the shoulder blades.

  1. Yes knees out more.

  2. Perhaps slightly more vertical, but by accomplishing 1/2+levering you will hit a good position.

Levering off the bar is something that I try to teach and people always seem very confused until it hits them. The key is, is that when you are setup in the bottom position, if you let go of the bar, you should jump backwards from the tension in the hips and posterior chain paired with the fact that you would fall over due to your bodies center of gravity being behind your heels. Basically, use the bar as leverage to be able to setup behind the bar. the bottom position of the sumo deadlift should be impossible to mimic without a barbell. In fact, as you develop strength, I actually can't quite setup the very bottom position until I have at least ~160kg on the bar because otherwise the bar starts to float as I setup and lever off the bar.


No problem man, Arramzy's advice is spot on and kinda what i was saying just more articulate. If you want in the future post a follow up video


Thanks for the details! Defiantly a good deal to think about. Friday is my deadlift day. I'll try out these cues, take video, and report back.



I was trying to work on keeping my upper back tight and sitting back more. Maybe it's b/c I'm trying new things but I felt a little weaker than usual with the lift Friday.

Does it look any better?

Oh and how does the trap bar DLs look?

Thanks for the pointers guys,


Hey arramzy and cparker, are yall still around? Did I do any better?


Last rep of the second set looked the best to me, because your head ended up nice and neutral instead of facing down and your shoulders were definitely where they should be. I generally find if you look down as you pull it messes with your back, although that doesn't seem to happen to you too much.

Other than that, I don't know too much about sumo as I pull conventional and I can't pull sumo much above 315 lbs (well, when I last tried, which was a while ago). The other guys look like they've got everything covered, really.


Looks like some improvement to me, you are patient breaking the weight off the floor and arent really sacrificing any form. Keep that up and don't be afraid to go after heavier weights once you are comfortable.


As the weights get heavy, your hips start at a higher position and your shoulders move forward similar to before. There isn't much you can do about that since your body is going back to it's strongest position. You should take a look at Arramzy's thread showing him deadlift in a meet to see how low his hips are and how he opens up his hips to get them closer to the bar. This style of sumo relies more on leg strength and prevents the back from being the limiting factor. That's why it's ideal for the hips to remain close to the bar.

I actually deadlift very similar to you and it's something I'm working on too. I'm able to open up my hips and lever off the bar when the weight is under 75% but as it goes beyond that, my hips get higher and my lift begins to look more like a conventional deadlift with sumo stance. The main problem is that my upper back is weak which prevents me from holding a better position.

With that said, sumo deadlifting with high hips may not necessarily be a bad thing if your back isn't the limiting factor. Search for Vashon Perryman's 715 lb deadlift at 165 lbs to see what I mean. If you have crazy back strength then it isn't necessary to change much, although you could still improve with shifting your weight back more by levering off the bar. Learning to do that and creating tension should help place your hips in the right position for your own body proportions.

Watch any video of world record deadlifts, regardless of sumo or conventional, and you'll see the lifter's shoulders above the bar and slack being pulled out similar to what Arramzy described. If the torso stays tight, the hips and knees should align so that the bar goes straight up. Your quads may need some work if you lower your hips a bit to shift the weight back.


Thanks for the input guys. I'll keep working on the cues yall mentioned. Yall's detailed responses really help!