T Nation

Deadlift Grip Conundrum for My Fat Ass

Okay, I’ll start with the facts.

I am a noob to the site, but I’ve been lifting off and on (mostly off since I powerlifted in college, I’m sad to say) for a couple of decades now.

Recently I’ve become really a big fan of strongman, and my local gym here in Arlington, Texas actually hosts its own and so on, so I’ve decided to get back into it and hopefully even compete in a strongman competition.

I’m 41.
I’m 6’6" and weigh around 390lbs right now. Mostly gut.

Here’s the trouble I’m having.

I was taught that correct form for the deadlift is feet about shoulder width apart, hands placed just outside that, (My index fingers are wrapped around the smooth little strip on the bar right at my shoulder’s width) head up/back, back straight, using legs and back together, not all lower back and stand straight up with it, just like a squat, and back down. Not too fast, and not too heavy.

My problem is that when I get my grip on the bar, after I’ve placed my feet, when I lower my ass to start the rep, my knees hit my forearms. I attribute this to either my big gut or my big legs, but either way, when I widen my arms further out to accommodate my legs, the grip feels too wide.

I was wondering if the whole knees inside/knees outside rule was a hard and fast rule, so I hit youtube to get some examples.

Sure enough, I caught some vids. One of Brian Siders, one of Andy Bolton, one of Bendict Magnusson, and one of Ed Coan.

While Bolton, Coan, and Benny all had their knees inside their arms, Siders had his legs outside his arms. And…like me, siders has a pretty good sized gut.

So which is correct? Should I just widen my hands out or bring my feet in? Or is it okay to go with my knees outside my arms?

Thanks for any help.

Hoss

There’s not really a right or wrong in that regard, just what works best for you. For me DLing Sumo style (legs outside arms) works more glute and ham, less back and quads.

Here’s a helpful article:

Sumo is #6 on page 2

Thank you, Jay, that was a very good article. I didn’t realize there were so many variations to the DL.

But I’m still in a quandary as to what to do a bout my grip width/feet placement. I guess I could put my feet closer together but they feel TOO close together when I do, and when I widen my grip to clear my knees, I feel like I’m too wide. Into the “snatch” grip as it’s call.

I can’t believe other people don’t have this problem. (Bangs head against wall)

At 6’6", you’re going to have problems DL’ing that most of us don’t. Unless you have arms that span over 7’, you have a looooong way to drop to get to the bar. Add in some excess belly bulk and DL’ing is a bitch.

Are your trying to compete? If not, use some variations until you can get the weight off. Rack pulls and Romanian Deadlifts would be good options for heavy erector/glute/ham work in the meantime. Squats will cover what those two movements don’t.

[quote]JayPierce wrote:
At 6’6", you’re going to have problems DL’ing that most of us don’t. Unless you have arms that span over 7’, you have a looooong way to drop to get to the bar. Add in some excess belly bulk and DL’ing is a bitch.

Are your trying to compete? If not, use some variations until you can get the weight off. Rack pulls and Romanian Deadlifts would be good options for heavy erector/glute/ham work in the meantime. Squats will cover what those two movements don’t.[/quote]

Yea, you are absolutely correct. It is a long way down for me, and add to that the fact that I have shorter than normal arms and a longer than normal torso. lol.

I am not trying to compete in powerlfting, but I do need to get that DL up so that I can compete in Strongman.

I’m all over the squats, as you’ve mentioned, as I LOVE to work legs,and squats are my favorite exorcise of all.

As a fan of The Worlds Strongest Man (GO ZYDRUNAS!) competition, I know that Phil Pfister, Brian Shaw, and the big Brit, whose name I forget, are all as tall as I am. So I think I maight scour the 'tube for some vids of them deadlifting for some ideas.

Also, I COULD make a vid of myself doing a light deadlift and post it youtube so you and whoever else, can get a look at what’s going on. Think I should?

You can post it straight to this thread if that would be easier.

I believe the Brit you’re referring to is Mark Felix? All three of those guys have long arms. You may be screwed on that one.

Just looked at NAS’s rules. Forget Sumo, it’s not allowed.

I thought I read somewhere that sumo DL is not allowed in strongman? I might be talking out of my ass, but maybe someone can verify/correct me.

Dammit!

(insert avatar of banging head against wall)

[quote]JayPierce wrote:
Just looked at NAS’s rules. Forget Sumo, it’s not allowed.[/quote]

Ha, I knew I wasn’t crazy.

Okay, that’s strange.

I just posted a reply on this thread and now it’s missing. WTH?

[quote]JayPierce wrote:
You can post it straight to this thread if that would be easier.

I believe the Brit you’re referring to is Mark Felix? All three of those guys have long arms. You may be screwed on that one.

Just looked at NAS’s rules. Forget Sumo, it’s not allowed.[/quote]

Well of course, I WANT to do the conventional style DL so that I can work my back as much as my legs.

It just occurred to me, I post vids on youtube from time to time, and I ran across this one that I posted quite recently which kinda shows my belly. I’m sitting in my car, bear in mind, so you kinda know what I mean. You get the best view right as the vid starts when I’m swinging the phone/camera around. Take a look and tell me what you think I should do.

For our purposes here, pay no attention to the title of the vid or what I’m saying. It’s just a nine minute rant that goes nowhere. lol.