T Nation

Deadlift Form Check


Hi, I am from Britain, 25 and 5ft9 (1.76m) I have recently began doing deadlifts again. I have been working on trying to improve my form and in particular the back rounding problem I have had again and again in the past. For me, it is quite difficult to resolve. I also tend to hyperextend sometimes at the end of the reps.

I have included a video of my deadlift, I just want to know how to improve the setup. I try to keep the shoulders in line with the bar and not in front of it.

The weight didn’t really feel that heavy, but I am aware that the form is very important.


Before I criticize anything at all I’ll say that I’m intermediate at best when it comes to deadlift, but I see a few of the same problems I had, and still do get when I forget to cue them in.
-First thing would be drop the weight down. You know your low back rounds, so drop the weight.

  • Second would be once you drop the weight, drop the belt. Make sure you can get good, consistent form with AND without a belt. Don’t rely on a belt 100% of the time.

Just drop the weigh. Just enough to where you can get work in, while keeping good form.

BUT like I said. I could be wrong, but that’s just my two cents. Good luck man!


How much weight are you pulling and about what % of your max would it be?

I mean… if you’re pulling anything above 80% then it’s pointless to try to have impeccable form.

That being said, you should be showing impeccable form when you’re pulling easy weight. Rounding your back when you’re 50% of your max or some such is bad technique; rounding your back when you’re pushing over 80% may not be as long as you’re aware of it.


I’d say maybe experiment with dropping your hips a bit lower and pull your chest right up.


Its 85% of my 1RM, so 130kg for 5 reps, if I lift 5kg lower than that it just feels very easy.


Got you, from all the tutorial videos I watched , it said don’t drop the hips as it becomes like a squat. But I will try looking for alternate views on that which back up what you are suggesting.


For me the best thing to do is just to experiment. When you do have your back neutral it’ll probably feel like you’re overextending at first so bare that in mind. One cue ive recently tried which helps a lot is to lean back more and keep the shins pretty much vertical.


Yeah, that is actually a good cue and you see me trying to do it on the video when I could remember on some reps. The good thing about the set that the bar felt real close to the body, like it was scraping up the shins like people say it is supposed to. It felt a lot lighter that way compared to before when the bar was further away from the body. It’s all a work in progress.


Go to the powerlifting forum. You will get better feedback.

I personally don’t understand the over emphasis on the crotch move, but that is me.


Check out this guy talking about getting “behind the bar.”

About 4:00 minutes in.


@FlatsFarmer Mannn thank you for this, it makes sense now. It’s subtle, but it makes a lot of difference because the weight is actually feeling lighter when you do this. Now I know it’s a conscious ankle thing. If you see on the video, I actually tried to lean back a bit on some reps but it needs to be what the guy is doing, on every rep.


Yeah the hyperextension is not helping as its adding a whole movement back at the end of the lift… when really it can be made more efficient. It’s a bit unconscious.



It looks like you’re not really getting all that tight.

Anyways, T3hPwnisher’s video on deadlifting is pretty much what I consider to be the definitive guide at deadlifting-

Take a look. Hopefully it helps.


Your back is rounding because you are yanking the bar off the ground without generating enough hip/leg drive.

This is happening because:

  1. You are not creating tension in the legs/ hips at the start. When you bend down and grab the bar, straighten your legs and load/create tension in your hamstrings and hip flexors like you are doing a stiff legged deadlift. Then bend your knees, raise your chest and “pull yourself down to the bar” while keeping that tension.

  2. You are pulling more than you are pushing. Imagine there is a bar across the top of your shoulder blades and think of low bar squatting the weight up while driving your shoulders into that imaginary bar.

Don’t drop your hips more unless your objective is to create a bit more tension and momentum prior to beginning the lift. The bar is already directly under your shoulder blades at your starting position and that is the position where it will leave the ground. We all have different proportions.


Thanks man, I’ve just had a look and he makes real good points. I like his idea of bringing the hips forward when the bars past the knee so that the ROM is shortened. Also, his idea that if you utilise the weight on the toes instead of the heels then you are making the lift harder because the leg muscles are not fully engaged. Man, it makes sense to keep the bar closer to the shins and lean back a bit then.

Yeah, this lift has a lot of subtleties that I did not appreciate when first starting out.


I think this can probably be addressed if I consciously try to think that I am driving from the heels as the above videos both show.

Yeah, I definitely thought of it more as a pull.

I think I am adding a lot of unnecessary ROM on the lockout because I am bringing the bar a lot further up the body than is necessary. Watching the video of Punisher, his method of bringing the hips forward once the bar passes the knees makes perfect sense. I am not that confident with his shoulder sagging method though.


The deadlift should be thought of as a push; you’re pushing the Earth away.

I think the key take-away points from T3hPwnisher’s video should be-

-Narrow stance and grip to improve leg drive.
-Rolling the bar to generate tension and load the weight onto the correct places. I think virtually every top deadlifters do this in some form or fashion.
-“Fuck” the bar. You’re basically violently thrusting into the bar the moment it passes your knees. The deadlift is, after all, the hip hinge. You’re hinging for all it’s worth.

The rest are things T3hPwnisher does to improve numbers for comp. However, it isn’t all that necessary to bunch up your shoulders or anything; letting them sag is just fine.


Just try to use this setup, everyone I know that tried to start the Deadlift using this setup ended up doing it perfectly.
The rolling of the bar that some people use isn’t optimal, yes it will create momentum, but if you aren’t sure that your form is already perfect, is best to learn how to lift without any extra help from momentum.
Also, I highly recommend you to drop the belt at least until you’re at the 4 plates.


Update: I have tried to implement the points and some feedback/experiences from others that you kindly took the time to share.

So, what I tried to do in my recent deadlift session:

  • Keep the bar as close to the body as possible, this resulted in some painful shins.
  • Try to shift the ankle joints back so that my bodyweight is behind the bar. It’s quite difficult to do this without dipping the hips down. More a mental cue thing.
  • Try not to hyperextend at the end of the reps, try to thrust the hips forward when the bar passes the knees.

I felt in general the weight felt lighter today when it was closer to the body and I was shifting my weight behind the bar instead of having my shoulders too far forward. Last time around, the same weight felt heavier.

I still think that mentally I can reach lockout in my mind quicker when the bar passes the knees, like push the hips forward at the right time.

The end of my 6th rep felt a bit shit in terms of form, well the 6th rep in general. I think I will stick at this weight for now until I feel totally comfortable with say 7 reps.

But, yeah, would appreciate the feedback both good and bad. It’s still a work in progress, and I’ll keep on working on the form on every warmup set and do the paused deadlifts too.

As for the belt, it’s for a recurrent lower back injury I have had… not because I actually want to wear one. It means I have to do extra core exercises to supplement my deadlifts.



Ok, see what happens when you dropped the hips on your first rep? You get pulled forward until your shoulder blades are above the bar before the bar can leave the ground. If you are getting more tension and leg drive by doing so, it’s fine. Otherwise, don’t drop the hips.

Now that you are not yanking the bar, these are what you can work on:

  1. Core tightness. I disagree with not using a belt until some arbitrary strength standard has been achieved. Instead, learn how to create maximal core tightness with the belt by dropping it a notch. Get in air and expand your core all around from the abs to lower back(breath through your spine) until the belt is tight. Learn to hold it. See the valsalva maneuver.

  2. You need to get your lower back in neutral or you won’t be able to use your glutes to lock out at maximal weights. This looks like a mobility issue. Fix that. Then do RDLs as assistance to stretch and build the hamstrings and glutes and reinforce the hip hinging pattern.