T Nation

Deadlift Form Help

Most of the videos I see on youtube have people who are standing with their legs really close together.

When my feet are 1 foot apart, I can’t get down that far and it feels really horrible and tight… and it’s extremely hard to lower it in a controlled manner, it’s just dropping the weight.

When my feet are 2 feet apart, it feels more natural and I can lift/lower the weight more easily / controlled… and I can bring my hips down much further easily

So which one is right? Is it supposed to be extremely hard to bring the hips down during the deadlift or am I just not built for doing deadlifts w/ feet close together? I guess torso / leg / arm length affect things…

http://www.T-Nation.com/strength-training-topics/deadlift

I’ve always run with, put your feet the distance apart that you would for a vertical leap. What ever feels right.

My shins are about an inch inside the knurling, where as one mate has his on the change over and another is just on the knurling. Each to their own.

is it worth getting a belt if your form sucks? or is that more for powerlifting?

i plan on doing 5x5 deadlifts(2 warmup sets and 3 straight sets) 2x week since i’m not gaining much with 2 sets of higher rep DLs (8-12). Best DL with good form is 295x9.

I found that I can deadlift more when I move my feet in closer. I believe this is because closer feet means that my hands can be closer together (my best deadlift is with my feet just inside of the curling and my hands on the edge of the curling). Ideally, your hands should be exactly under your shoulders as this allows for a shorter pull. If you spread your feet wide, your hands will be still wider. If your hands are wide, you will have to lift the bar higher. Of course, you could sumo deadlift, and avoid this problem. My recommendation would be to work on flexibility or try to lose some weight so that you can deadlift comfortably with close feet.

[quote]Silyak wrote:
I found that I can deadlift more when I move my feet in closer. I believe this is because closer feet means that my hands can be closer together (my best deadlift is with my feet just inside of the curling and my hands on the edge of the curling). Ideally, your hands should be exactly under your shoulders as this allows for a shorter pull. If you spread your feet wide, your hands will be still wider. If your hands are wide, you will have to lift the bar higher. Of course, you could sumo deadlift, and avoid this problem. My recommendation would be to work on flexibility or try to lose some weight so that you can deadlift comfortably with close feet.[/quote]

i’m actually trying to gain weight, currently 5’10 200

anyway:

look at this guy, 1:00 mark

his feet are close together, but his form looks completely horrible, are people really supposed to deadlift like that? his whole back looks arched, even lower back, and hips are high. if I lift like that all the time isn’t my spine going to get fucked up?

but then if you look at guys around 2:50 and 3:30, their feet are a bit further apart, and lower spine doesn’t look rounded

i’m not looking to break any powerlifting records, just don’t want to mess up my spine… which one is safer?

& where can I find a decent deadlifting belt?

Back always look more rounder on taller/leaner lifters than it would on bulkier guys and max effort deadlifts rarely look pretty. The guys hips were fine, it’s a deadlift, not a squat.

Narrow or wide stance doesn’t really have anything to do with the back rounding and we can’t really tell you how your form is unless you post a video.

If your form is bad, wearing a belt won’t help you. I’m up to deadlifting 425x5 and I’ve yet to use a belt.

[quote]Grunzi wrote:
Back always look more rounder on taller/leaner lifters than it would on bulkier guys and max effort deadlifts rarely look pretty. The guys hips were fine, it’s a deadlift, not a squat.

Narrow or wide stance doesn’t really have anything to do with the back rounding and we can’t really tell you how your form is unless you post a video.

If your form is bad, wearing a belt won’t help you. I’m up to deadlifting 425x5 and I’ve yet to use a belt.[/quote]

i think it has something to do with back rounding… when my feet are close together, it’s harder to grip the bar, because my hamstrings aren’t really flexible. so the tendency is to arch my back so I can grip it. with wider stance i noticed it feels much more natural and I can reach the bar easier

plus when im lowering the weight with close stance i tend to round because I can’t really use my legs to lower it… that vid said to just drop it once it’s past the knees, is that normal?

also, if you don’t use a belt then how do you know it won’t help?

I would say hold off on a belt. Using a belt is awesome, but I think it is the most common mistake for a beginner to start using a belt.

Here is why, when most beginners use a belt they use it as a safety net for bad form. Focus on form first and you will build more muscle and learn to activate more motor units at a faster rate. For your first 6 months with deadlifts do not use a weight where form breaks down.

After 6 months if you have seen steady progression and feel your form is great then grab a belt. If you want a belt that will last a long time and is great, grab an inzer belt. If you will be gaining weight just buy a cheap one until you feel that your mid section is at the size you will keep it, then grab an inzer.

I know it sounds dumb, “if I could use a belt and lift 50 more pounds, why not do it now?”, but trust me, your back and deadlift strength will thank me. If I could go back I would wait until around a year to use a belt, you will see great progression this way.

Same for squats.

[quote]fr0gger666 wrote:
i think it has something to do with back rounding… when my feet are close together, it’s harder to grip the bar, because my hamstrings aren’t really flexible. so the tendency is to arch my back so I can grip it. with wider stance i noticed it feels much more natural and I can reach the bar easier

plus when im lowering the weight with close stance i tend to round because I can’t really use my legs to lower it… that vid said to just drop it once it’s past the knees, is that normal?

also, if you don’t use a belt then how do you know it won’t help?

[/quote]

How close is the bar to your shins when you initiate the lift? The bar should be really close to your body or even touching it for the most part of the lift. That could be one of the reasons why you tend to round. Again, we can’t really tell unless you post a video.

If you looked at most of the lifts in the video you’d notice most of them drop the weight once it reaches the knees. For the most part it just saves more energy for the next lift and I can’t remember where I read it but it’s also supposed to prevent injury of the lower back since it’s less stress.

What the guy above me said. Focus on form first. I’ve read plenty of articles and watched a ton of videos always suggesting that you shouldn’t resort to using a belt as a beginner if your form sucks.

One more thing, if you’re comfortable in a wider stance then stick to it. There’s really not a fixed stance that you should be following just like in the video. There’s the narrow stances, the wide sumo stances and there are some in between.

[quote]Grunzi wrote:

[quote]fr0gger666 wrote:
i think it has something to do with back rounding… when my feet are close together, it’s harder to grip the bar, because my hamstrings aren’t really flexible. so the tendency is to arch my back so I can grip it. with wider stance i noticed it feels much more natural and I can reach the bar easier

plus when im lowering the weight with close stance i tend to round because I can’t really use my legs to lower it… that vid said to just drop it once it’s past the knees, is that normal?

also, if you don’t use a belt then how do you know it won’t help?

[/quote]

How close is the bar to your shins when you initiate the lift? The bar should be really close to your body or even touching it for the most part of the lift. That could be one of the reasons why you tend to round. Again, we can’t really tell unless you post a video.

If you looked at most of the lifts in the video you’d notice most of them drop the weight once it reaches the knees. For the most part it just saves more energy for the next lift and I can’t remember where I read it but it’s also supposed to prevent injury of the lower back since it’s less stress.

What the guy above me said. Focus on form first. I’ve read plenty of articles and watched a ton of videos always suggesting that you shouldn’t resort to using a belt as a beginner if your form sucks.

One more thing, if you’re comfortable in a wider stance then stick to it. There’s really not a fixed stance that you should be following just like in the video. There’s the narrow stances, the wide sumo stances and there are some in between.
[/quote]

it’s touching. my set up is pretty textbook, but with close stance (shoulder width) it’s like theres nothing I can do to prevent lower back rounding, my hamstrings aren’t that flexible and I have tendency to round back to reach bar

i guess shoulder width is for people with long arms,short torso, short legs?

anyway I guess it is my fault for watching a rippetoe deadlift form video, I should’ve just watched powerlifters doing it and I would’ve known that it is ok to use a wider stance, sigh, nearly 2 years of shit form

just a random question…

how far does 1x5 deadlifts usually take you, vs doing something like 2x5 or 3x5? Is there a huge difference? After like 2 sets of deadlifts i feel like my form starts to get worse so just stop

I’m alternating between deadlift/squats every other day, so don’t want them to interfere with each other… just curious how far these x5 routines tend to take you before you need to switch?

Like would it be possible for me to get to a 600 lb deadlift just doing 1-3 sets of 5?

[quote]fr0gger666 wrote:

[quote]Grunzi wrote:
Back always look more rounder on taller/leaner lifters than it would on bulkier guys and max effort deadlifts rarely look pretty. The guys hips were fine, it’s a deadlift, not a squat.

Narrow or wide stance doesn’t really have anything to do with the back rounding and we can’t really tell you how your form is unless you post a video.

If your form is bad, wearing a belt won’t help you. I’m up to deadlifting 425x5 and I’ve yet to use a belt.[/quote]

i think it has something to do with back rounding… when my feet are close together, it’s harder to grip the bar, because my hamstrings aren’t really flexible. so the tendency is to arch my back so I can grip it. with wider stance i noticed it feels much more natural and I can reach the bar easier

plus when im lowering the weight with close stance i tend to round because I can’t really use my legs to lower it… that vid said to just drop it once it’s past the knees, is that normal?

also, if you don’t use a belt then how do you know it won’t help?
[/quote]

He knows it won’t help because he’s seen other beginners do it in his gym, as I have in mine, as JayK has in his, as most other vets have in theirs.

Shitty form doesn’t get fixed by wearing a belt. The belt just makes you feel “safer” and so you push shitty form farther, with less regard to fixing form or staying with a weight you can really handle or strengthening your low back and abs. And then we’ve all seen 9/10 of “those guys” get injured from doing exactly what we described here. And then they bitch about how deadlifts are bad for you. Similar things happen in the squat. You use the belt as a crutch/extra set of abs/extra set of spinal erectors, stay with shitty form, and either don’t improve or get injured.

Your problem is not back rounding. Your problem is tight hamstrings, which you already recognized and which you seem not to want to fix. Tight hamstrings will eventually hurt your ability to pull with a wide stance too as they get worse and you don’t fix them.

Besides this, the whole point of deadlifting is that the proper start position is NOT COMFORTABLE. You have to force your body to take the proper alignments and tensions while it fights you. That’s the same thing that happens when somebody finally gets good arch position in a bench and good wide stance squat position too. It’s training.

Train right.

[quote]fr0gger666 wrote:
just a random question…

how far does 1x5 deadlifts usually take you, vs doing something like 2x5 or 3x5? Is there a huge difference? After like 2 sets of deadlifts i feel like my form starts to get worse so just stop

I’m alternating between deadlift/squats every other day, so don’t want them to interfere with each other… just curious how far these x5 routines tend to take you before you need to switch?

Like would it be possible for me to get to a 600 lb deadlift just doing 1-3 sets of 5?

[/quote]

It won’t be possible to get to a 600 lb pull without a LOT and I mean a LOT of work and time. Take care of your weaknesses (tight hamstrings and shit form).

The amount that you get out of x5 programs varies from person to person. It varies based on 1) how effectively you follow their directions in setting up the scheme or how badly you butcher it trying to “do your own scheme” 2) how good you are at understanding the ideas that make it work and hence being able to properly adapt it to your own thing without butchering it 3) how much you are built for the deadlift with leverages 4) how much CNS fatigue you can handle (everybody can train themselves to handle more, LOTS more, but just like some people are naturally strong or lean, some people are naturally more resilient than others at the beginning)

[quote]Aragorn wrote:

[quote]fr0gger666 wrote:
just a random question…

how far does 1x5 deadlifts usually take you, vs doing something like 2x5 or 3x5? Is there a huge difference? After like 2 sets of deadlifts i feel like my form starts to get worse so just stop

I’m alternating between deadlift/squats every other day, so don’t want them to interfere with each other… just curious how far these x5 routines tend to take you before you need to switch?

Like would it be possible for me to get to a 600 lb deadlift just doing 1-3 sets of 5?

[/quote]

It won’t be possible to get to a 600 lb pull without a LOT and I mean a LOT of work and time. Take care of your weaknesses (tight hamstrings and shit form).

The amount that you get out of x5 programs varies from person to person. It varies based on 1) how effectively you follow their directions in setting up the scheme or how badly you butcher it trying to “do your own scheme” 2) how good you are at understanding the ideas that make it work and hence being able to properly adapt it to your own thing without butchering it 3) how much you are built for the deadlift with leverages 4) how much CNS fatigue you can handle (everybody can train themselves to handle more, LOTS more, but just like some people are naturally strong or lean, some people are naturally more resilient than others at the beginning)[/quote]

haha, i will work on my hamstrings (this article says just to practice getting into deadlift position every day for tight hamstrings)

until that’s fixed im probably just gonna go slightly wider stance

my form was better last time(plus no back pain) since I dropped the rep range from 6-9 to 5. plus the high rep deadlifts seem to turn more into a cardio exercise instead of lower back

gonna hold off on the belt I guess, at what weight do you think I should get one though, assuming I fix my form? I always see powerlifters / anyone lifting heavy using a belt

my 1RM is around 370 or something horrible

[quote]fr0gger666 wrote:

[quote]Aragorn wrote:

[quote]fr0gger666 wrote:
just a random question…

how far does 1x5 deadlifts usually take you, vs doing something like 2x5 or 3x5? Is there a huge difference? After like 2 sets of deadlifts i feel like my form starts to get worse so just stop

I’m alternating between deadlift/squats every other day, so don’t want them to interfere with each other… just curious how far these x5 routines tend to take you before you need to switch?

Like would it be possible for me to get to a 600 lb deadlift just doing 1-3 sets of 5?

[/quote]

It won’t be possible to get to a 600 lb pull without a LOT and I mean a LOT of work and time. Take care of your weaknesses (tight hamstrings and shit form).

The amount that you get out of x5 programs varies from person to person. It varies based on 1) how effectively you follow their directions in setting up the scheme or how badly you butcher it trying to “do your own scheme” 2) how good you are at understanding the ideas that make it work and hence being able to properly adapt it to your own thing without butchering it 3) how much you are built for the deadlift with leverages 4) how much CNS fatigue you can handle (everybody can train themselves to handle more, LOTS more, but just like some people are naturally strong or lean, some people are naturally more resilient than others at the beginning)[/quote]

haha, i will work on my hamstrings (this article says just to practice getting into deadlift position every day for tight hamstrings)

until that’s fixed im probably just gonna go slightly wider stance

my form was better last time(plus no back pain) since I dropped the rep range from 6-9 to 5. plus the high rep deadlifts seem to turn more into a cardio exercise instead of lower back

gonna hold off on the belt I guess, at what weight do you think I should get one though, assuming I fix my form? I always see powerlifters / anyone lifting heavy using a belt

my 1RM is around 370 or something horrible
[/quote]

In general, two things are true: 1) low back endurance goes first, not “strength”. So that means when strengthening your low back, you need reps to teach it to maintain posture and arch correctly when fatigued (meaning good mornings for reps not 1 RMs yet, back extensions, etc. Not talking deadlifts here per se). and 2) it’s usually a good practice to limit the belt to sets of 90% 1RM or higher. Alternatively, you can practice using a belt on only the very last working set of your deadlifts, when you’re already very tired. This practice is because of #1, and also because you NEED to learn to use your core musculature to stabilize yourself properly, not rely on a crutch.

In other words, use a belt only after your lower back has gotten a lot of good work to strengthen it, or if you are feeling like complete dogshit that day (we all have super crappy days, it happens. Belt up and go in that case).

In other news, I can pull 500 lb beltless, so really the key is a) stay with weights you don’t completely break form on to build your strength, and b) train to improve the amount of weight you work with beltless. At this point, Max attempts should be 3RMs I think mostly. Maybe some 1RM attempts, but you need a bit of extra TUT.

Basically, the point I am trying to get across is that there is no specific “weight” at which you need a belt, only % of 1RM. I haven’t had my caffeine today, so I’m not speaking the most articulately. Powerlifters use the belt a lot to work on getting the most extra poundage out of it (similar to how they practice in a suit to work the technique), or to relieve extremely tired muscles from weeks of hard work without deload periods (basically recurring “dogshit” days).

You can use a belt at whatever weight you want, the key is only to not become reliant on using it to work heavy. You need your natural core muscles. I tend to put mine on between 85-90% 1RM, depending on reps, sometimes I won’t put it on at all when I max.