T Nation

Deadlift Form (Vid)

Hi guys, while I’ve been reading the threads and articles here for a few months, this is the first time I’ve ventured in from the cold. Hope it’s not too presumptuous for me to ask for advice the first go around, but that’s exactly what I’m going to do.

I’ve been following Rippetoe’s Starting Strength for the past 3-4 months, and my lifts have steadily been going up. I’ve reached the point however (190lb Squat, 225lb Deadlift, both for 5 reps) where I’m concerned that if my form isn’t decent then I’ll do myself some damage. With regards to the squat I’ve read a lot of the articles on the site about form, and have been incorporating the tips, e.g. chest out, lower back arch, tight shoulders etc, but I’m a little less sure about my DL. I videoed it today and was wondering whether anyone had any tips I could incorporate.

My viewing back of this lift suggests to me that I’m lifting my hips too early, and thus lifting with my back, but as I say I’m not expert. Confirmation and solutions would be much appreciated!

N.B. I know the lifts aren’t huge, but it’s early doors. I don’t have great knees so I’ve found heavy workouts must have a decent recovery time.

EDIT: Updated video link.

vids dont seem to be working

Sorry hopefully this will work:

You should get a pair of flat shoes or just deadlift barefoot.also at the beginning of the lift try focusing on pushing the floor away from you instead of thinking about pulling if that makes any sense. Anyways im sure somone more experienced than me will come and explain better

This is what I am seeing:

  1. You’re setting up with your neck somewhat extended i.e. looking forward/up. It would be safer to keep your neck neutral i.e. looking at the floor a few feet in front of you on set up. Similarly your upper back should be flat and relaxed.

  2. Hard to tell from the angle, but the bar seems a little far from your shins when it’s on the floor and as such it seems to travel a ways out from your body on its way up. It should be about an inch from your shins to start and should travel pretty much in contact with your body all the way up. Little pieces of your shins should get stuck in the knurling on the bar. Like I said, it’s hard to see from this angle.

  3. You begin with a bit of a lumbar arch, but then you mostly extend your legs and round your back before the bar actually begins to move off the floor. Then you just kind of stand up from your waist, as you said lifting with your back. Start by taking a deep breath and pressurizing your gut (if you don’t know how to do this, learn). Then apply some force to the bar by driving your heels down before you even begin to try to move it. Let your arms/hands hang loose like hooks connected to the bar (don’t try to row the bar). This should remove any slack and generate tension between the bar and where your heels connect to the floor, but don’t actually move your hips or the bar yet. Now begin the leg drive by pushing your heels away, through the floor. Shoulders and hips should rise at essentially the same rate while the upper spine remains neutral. As the bar passes knee height, leg drive gives way to hip extension to finish the lockout.

That’s what I see. Hope it’s helpful.

Thanks, that does help actually. Head position/where I should be looking has definitely been something I’ve been unsure about. I think I’m going to drop the weights and up volume for a few weeks, taping every session so I can really work on the form.

  1. try not to jerk your body/ the bar to initiate the lift.
  2. Try going a little more slow and controlled, as you’re learning.
  3. Think about pulling the bar back, rather than straight up.
  4. Drop the weight a little, to get your form spot on.
  5. lower your ass, and it will all come together.


Cheers for that. Written it all down in the back of my logbook and am gonna try again in a few days at lower weight. Think I’ll start filming all my lifts too, just too see how I’m doing.

Lift barefoot or in something with a flat sole (Chucks, Vibrams etc).
You’re trying to stiff leg the weight. Keep your hips lower to start the lift. Think about pulling back, rather than up. I personally like to look up when I deadlift, but it’s personal preference. I’m by no means an expert, but those things help me. Good luck.

[quote]Consul wrote:
I personally like to look up when I deadlift, but it’s personal preference. Good luck.[/quote]

True, there are definitely 2 schools of thought on this (you can find articles on this site advocating both). I just find when I go heavy (for me) that looking up sometimes puts an uncomfortable strain on my neck. Not wanting to tweak, I started following the common advice to keep a neutral spine and found that my neck felt less strain.

This has nothing to do with the OP, of course, and lots of guys pull huge weights while looking up. It definitely feels more natural. If I don’t actively stop to think about it (i.e. while picking up heavy stuff at work) I will definitely default to a more chin up style. It’s very likely another one of those things that doesn’t have a one-size-fits-all answer.

-definitely use barefoot/flat sole shoes.
-also chalk for your maximum pulls; if your grip is slipping it will upset your form.
-your arms are merely ropes connecting your body to the bar. Do not flex your elbows at all.
-lighten the weight and build a better technique; and be patient with it.

I used to have issues with accidental stiff-legging.

What worked for me:

“grip-dip-rip” technique:

-step to the bar (shins around 1 inch from it)
-bend over and grip it.
-take and hold a big breath as you “dip” your hips down by consciously flexing your hamstrings. Your hamstrings should pull you down into the starting position. Remember to keep your chest up and your spine neutral.
-immediately rip! Starting the movement from the hamstrings and finishing with the glutes, pushing your feet through the floor as your whole body straightens. Also, your back angle should never be reduced during the pull.
-bar should brush your legs on the way up; or even tear your shins up as it does to mine.

Check out my training log one here if you’d like to see videos of how this technique helped my pulling. Early ones (pre March) are terrible, with varying form as my body struggled to find the most efficient method. Recent ones are infinitely better, lift is far stronger, and form is consistent.

I used to get a really beat up back from deadlifting, now I never - ever - feel lower back soreness from it.

My pulling is not perfect but it may be of some help to you anyway =)

Good luck.