T Nation

Deadlift, Getting Bar Close to Body


Recently got back into lifting after some injuries from football, decided i want to get into powerlifting. Am confident in my bench & squat form. but on deadlift, i set up fine, pull the bar up my shins, but around that point, the bar drifts out or at least loses contact, if i try and keep it close it will knock my knees & still miss my thighs.

I can do the technique fine when i put a pause just below knee level, it hurts a bit continually pulling the bar over my knees then dragging up the thigh. is there something i can do to make this smoother?


Buy some cheap knee sleeves and deadlift sock (or soccer socks or something like that). I scrape the shit out of my legs if I don’t put something on them, the only time I pull without knee sleeves is in a meet but you can still use (approved) knee sleeves in a meet. I have some shin guard things that I bought from Rocktape, Mark Bell sells something like that too. Mine are torn to shit and I wear them backwards now, but they lasted several years. Duct tape is another option.

Learn to engage the lats in the deadlift. Watch the Juggernaut “deadlift pillars” videos, there in one that covers this as well as starting position.


+1 for more lats.


thanks for the replies,

bar comes up my shins just fine, it’s when we get to knee that is the problem. it’s either knock my knees or bar drifts & leaves contact, doesn’t touch thigh till the very top.

so watched the pillar vids & understand the tightening of lats. this should keep the bar in a better path?


Post a video. Your hips are probably starting too low.


blows my mind when people post ‘form check’ threads without a video.

surely it would be easier to take a quick gym video than trying to write this out in forum posts?


Knock your knees then



I didn’t even notice, I’m blind. I only read Braille.


Hm… that seems strange… My knees are as straight as they are going to get for the dead lift by the time the bar reaches them. Can you post a video?


it’s actually not particularly unusual. mine aren’t locked by the time I hit my knees. Really just depends on setup.




i’ll get in & do more on saturday. take some videos, what angle would be best in order to show what i’m trying to do & improve?


HD quality of two or three reps at as high a percentage as you can afford to without fucking with your training mayb 2 singles @ 80% 1RM or whenever form starts to break down.

Directly from the side at a high angle (not at ground level) so the plates don’t obscure everything


and one from the front/side like dis angle

trump jr lel


thanks Khangles, i can do that no problem

the reason i didn’t post a video right away was because i thought maybe it’s something common & perhaps a quick fix.


was really trying to engage lats & get tight, hence the long pauses between reps & long setup. any help would be appreciated


Looks OK, just don’t spend so much time sitting there at the bottom. You hold the same position for 10 seconds before you pull the first rep. Doing it like that will make the lift harder.


thanks for the input. not usually down there so long, but was really trying to engage lats & get tight. it was pissing me off that i couldn’t feel lats engage.

i took a graph of my bar path & you can see where it comes away from me,


thats what she said


I’d suggest 2 things

  1. When you set up, try to keep your shins perpendicular to the ground. It feels counterintuitive, but it sets your hips back father and uses your body almost as a counter-weight. It also removes the movement of your shins becoming perpendicular as the bar comes up, which may help the bar stay close to your body, instead of trying to miss your knees.
  2. One of my favorite back accessories are Banded Deadlifts, except I anchor the bands to the bottom of a rack in front of me, and then around each end of the barbell. When I deadlift the bands try to pull the barbell away from me, so I am forced to engage my lats and back to keep it close to my body. It’s hard, it feels amazing. Maybe this will help? Good luck!