T Nation

Deadlift Form


Hi, I am 18, 150lbs, 5'9. I have been working out on and off for a year, seriously for the last 3 months. I read a lot at T-Nation and respect a lot of the articles and the community on this site.

I have been squatting for 2 months, but I never seem to be able to get the deadlift right. It seems that when I deadlift it feels more like a stretch than a muscular contraction of the calves. I went to the gym with a friend and took pictures, please help with my form.



The most puzzling thing about your post is that the calves are not prime movers in the deadlift. From the first pull to the bar hitting the ground of the final decent, you should feel the majority of the stress in you glutes and hams.

It almost sounds like your being pulled forward on your toes, causing a stretching of the calves. That would be my theory.

Anyhow, there are tons of good articles from different coaches(Staley,Tate,King,Poliquin,Thibaudeau,to name a few) with different approaches to deadlifting. I would read as many as possible and find the one that best suits your build and goals.

I would also read the Mike Robertson and Eric Cressy articles as they are a wealth of info on mobility/flexibily/stability of all parts of the body and help you to idenify any possible problems you may have and fix them early.


It'd be easier to help if you post the photos :slight_smile:



I don't know if you've seen these, but they've certainly helped me:



Im no expert in deadlifts but thats a horrible demostration.

Try this:



I'm a deadlifting beginner. The main difference I see in those two videos is that in the first one, only the upper body is moving. (The legs stay bent the whole time.) In contrast, in the second one, the legs are moving. (They start bent and end straight.) What I've been doing is much closer to the second video. Which one is correct? Thanks.



Id also Ureg you all to read any and all Dead lifting articles on the site. Dave Tata has a few as does Mike Robertson.



dont round out the back while lifting.


I've been finding that I can keep better form and lift more with a shoulder width stance or little narrower vs. a very wide (sumo) stance.


Try a trap bar. And forget that first video.


OK i'm just gonna re-type this paper i have that a friend gave to me on deadlift form.

Feet shoulder width apart, i recommend symmetrical overhand grip. Bar against shins, shoulders vertically over the bar, back flat (ALWAYS, DON'T ROUND!! try not to droop shoulders down), pelvis and head aligned with spine.

pull from ground to just above knees. extend the legs; imagine pushing the legs through the ground, using the glutes as prime mover. the trunk angle should not change, i.e., the hips do not raise them faster than the shoulders, even slightly. keep upper back maintained in flat position. *bar stays in contact with skin at all times. drive with legs, back is the stabilizer.

stand up, forcing hips trough with drive from glutes. finsih in an upright position (no need to hyperextend trunk or roll shoulders).

*this helped me the most in my form


It seems that these differences are probably specific to each person. I have a friend who can reverse curl substantially more than he can (conventionally) curl. I'm not sure but I'm thinking I could pull more from a shoulder width...something to find out this week...


Also don't forget to Block (taking in a deep breath and holding it, forms a block in your abdomen which will help support your back.)


Read these, especially the first two, and let us know how it goes. The first one is "The Dead Zone" by Dave Tate and is good reading. The second one is "Precision Pulling" by Mike Robertson and is essential for a beginning deadlifter.



In that first link, Tate says not to squat while deadlifting but to keep your hips close to the bar. But in this video (http://exrx.net/WeightExercises/GluteusMaximus/BBDeadlift.html) it looks like the guy is squatting, his hips are far from the bar, and it says that you should squat down in preparation for the lift. I'm finding this point a little confusing!