T Nation

Deadlift Form Check

formcheck

#1

Not really powerlifting related since I don’t plan to compete or anything.
It’s a bit over 2xbw, 375lbs at 172lbs of weight. Can’t really wrap my head about my deadlift anymore, there’s always something that feels off either in my setup or in exectution and I can’t point it out.

First things first:
-how do I fix my stupid face without surgery?
-yep, it’s recorded with a vertical phone. We suck at technology;
-I flip the end portion of the pants during deads to better check my foot placement under the bar;

Notes:
-up until last summer I pulled with a more horizontal torso, I was 6-8 pounds heavier, then coming back after a short break I started pulling myself in a more vertical position at the beginning. With the old stance, I felt more work in my lower back, keeping the bar close to the body was easier but breaking it off the floor was harder. With the current stance, I feel the legs working more, barely anything in the lower back and a lot more in the upper back/lats, it’s harder to keep the bar close to the body, and the bar breaks the floor almost by itself when I set up. Worths to note that with this stance, it’s harder to do multiple reps, depending on weight when I end up in the 6-10 range I feel quads fatiguing.
-neck not neutral, I was trying to look in the mirror like a dumbfuck;
-bar doesn’t move straight and overall doesn’t stick close to the body as much as I want, which is weird considering my back got stronger in rows, chins and all the other main lifts improved too;
-I used squat shoes because that damn floor is slippery when I go barefoot, I don’t feel like my feet are making good contact, so I kept shoes on and added a mat under the bar to make up for the deficit;
-belt was a bit loose, one hole tighter would have been ideal;
-as shitty as the rep looks, I felt I could add more weight (about 20lbs) and get away with it (I usually don’t overestimate myself so I consider this an honest guess);

I’m decreasing loads from the next training cycle (running 5/3/1) to focus on technique and bar speed. Any suggestion appreciated, possibly as simple as they can get, I’m unsure on basic stuff like: should I leg press the weight off the floor and then snap forward with the hips when the bar reaches the knees, like two separate movements? Or should it be a single movement? Should I position more forward or back? Hips too high or too low?

Short term goal: 2.5bw deadlift by end of the year, which means about 440lbs give or take since some weight gain is on the list.
Long term goal: 3bw deadlift by whatever non finite amount of years required.


#2

Did you just formcheck yourself? You seem like a cool guy so let’s see if we can help you out a bit.

If it were any more horizontal you’d be sucking ur own dick lel.

The incline of the shoes is probably fucking you over a little bit even if the deficit is cancelled out. Buy some slippers or a decent flat lifting shoe.

Pretty much identified the biggest issue: Keeping the bar close. Can’t really tell if you have an efficient bar path (straight up and down) because the bar is windmilling about like crazy. If your back is strong enough then keeping the bar close probably becomes an issue of correcting your starting position/technique and cuing.

Different cues work for differently for different people so expose yourself to lots of info and try it out, picking up what works and discarding what doesn’t work for you. For example for myself externally rotating the elbows / the shoulder joint works well for me but my buddy can’t get it but instead likes

Try these:




Ur also windmilling quite a bit which is terribly inefficient and probably related to your grip. Can’t relate because I pull with hook grip but have a google of some combination of the terms “mix grip windmilling deadlift”

“Leg pressing the weight” or “the deadlift is a push/push the floor away” are mental cues not necessarily what actually ends up happening. If using these cue works well for you, producing a better lift then it’s all good. There’s plenty of other cues you can try if these don’t work out for you.

Lot of the answer for you other queries are along the lines of “whatever works for you” and “it depends on your individual leverages.”

For example optimal/most efficient hip height in the starting position will vary depending on several factors.


#3

then face the other direction.

not a strength issue. It’s a balance issue. Shift your weight back on your heels more. If that means you have to shoot your knees forward more at setup, to compensate, that’s fine. Vertical shins are not necessary.

what deficit? shoes do not create a deficit, lol. That’s ridiculous. Plus that’s 2 mats you’ve got stacked. Squat shoes are like a 3/4" heel. Most people pull their deadlifts in shoes. Instead of wearing squat shoes, which honestly are probably contributing to the bar not staying close enough to you, just wear some flat soled shoes without an elevated heel. skate shoes, vans, chucks, whatever.

it looks fine to me. expand into the belt, rather than tightening it down super tight. That’s how you properly brace. Big belly breath, expand your abdomen at setup, hold your air, and pull.

it doesn’t. it looks fine. I’m not sure why you said this.


#4

First of all, thanks to both for chiming in:

Lol, I swear I used to deadlift almost stiff legged with a very horizontal torso back then

Thanks for the videos, the one by JTS is the one I watched before deadlifting. I’ve tried a couple of cues in the past months and the latest one that seemed to work best is by Brian (Alpha here on the boards), the one about trying to bend the bar backwards to engage lats - I’ve seen it last week, used it with success on the previous workout and then forgot to apply it to the last session because, I guess, I’m a bit dumb.
The last video and what flipcollar said is probably the missing link: I didn’t shift the weight back, pushing the heels into the floor. I used to do that, came automatic honestly, but somehow stopped doing it for some time.
While vertical tibias are not necessary, should I try to keep the shoulders ahead of the bar when shifting back?

I thought about it and, not to find an excuse, but it’s possible that I’m not yet used to mixed grip. I don’t feel like I’m actually shifting or rotating the torso in any way but it’s clear that the bar rotates during the rep

According to the video, I should be somewhere between example A and B - I’m a 5’7" garden gnome with fairly long arms, long ass femurs but a short-ish torso. That has been confusing me a bit since I started, ideally the “long” arms should make it up for the long femurs and bring me towards example A, in an ideal setup

That’s the plan from now, definitely

I forgot to mention: we usually put a mat under the bar because the 20kg (45lbs) plates of our gym are smaller than the standard plates for PL/Oly, the mat makes up for the difference in diameter. I put the second mat when I put on the shoes to make up for the sole and elevated heel, what happened is that during the 330lbs deadlift (a lift that usually gives me no issues) my left foot slipped a bit towards the outside and my legs started shaking.
But it’s about time I buy a pair of flat shoes, would this model here be ok? My fashion skillz are below 0 and they are quite inexpensive, last one of my size:

That’s another point that has giving me trouble: when do I brace during the setup? I’ve tried bracing while standing up, before grabbing the bar, I’ve tried bracing right after grabbing the bar and before pulling myself in position (like in the video), I’ve tried bracing only after my shins made contact with the bar… whatever I do, I feel like I’m leaving some tightness on the table

A mix of things - it’s not a complete trainwreck but between the bar not staying close to the body, the flexed neck and overall slow-ish rep, I’m not crazy about it. I realize that the notion of “perfect rep” has been abused and misused a lot and I’m not aiming to make perfect reps, but I think I’ve made a few dumb (and avoidable mistakes) and during the rep I didin’t really feel I was controlling the weight as I should have


#5

Not in response to anything in particular but this a good vid

When we are making changes and trying new cues it gets to be rather overwhelming if we try to implement many changes at once. Even if you have a long list of stuff to try take it one thing at a time.

What you want to come out with is a consistent, preferably as simple as possible, set up process and repeat it every rep of every set until it becomes automatic. While not necessary I like to use simple/one word cues/self talk e.g. “lats” or “back”. This way you can implement changes one at a time and see how it and it alone (cos everything else is consistent) effects the lift instead of worrying about a dozen things at the same time and forgetting cues and shit.

You can do whatever you want or need to do, start in a headstand, flap your arms or someshit, as long as your true start position i.e. the moment the bar breaks the ground you got the bar over midfoot and your scapula over the bar. Personally I don’t really think about this aspect much it kinda just happens on its own when I set my feet and then tighten up my back and lats.

Ur overthinking things. Stop thinking so much ur bad at it lel.

I think you’ve tried everything lel unless you wanna try bracing while you are walking over to the platform/area for your set. People either get their air at the top or the bottom starting position. There’s not a better way.

Try both ways. Whichever feels better stick with it for a few thousand reps so you can actually get better at it.


#6

everyone is different on this, but the way I do it is RIGHT before I pull. Like I do all of the things I have to do to get into position, slack is pulled out of the bar and everything. Then I brace, and pull. I want to be holding my breath for as little time as possible, so this makes sense to me. It’s my last cue before the pull.


#7

If you can’t afford shoes, why not just pull in your socks?


#8

As mentioned above - the parquet floor sometimes makes my feet slip to the sides while pulling, making even lighter reps a pain in the ass. But I’ve already received a pair of Converse and tried them on today, they do a great job.
I’m running 5/3/1 and starting this week I took 22lbs off of my TM, currently doing 5’s Pro and 5x5FSL on deadlifts. %s are fairly light, focusing on shifting my weight back and keeping the bar close to the body - so far so good, I’ll record my final set on the third (heaviest) week to see if I improved.
Scratched the hell out of my shins too, think I’ll wear my knee sleeves on the shins.