Deadlift "Leg Press" Cue

Was wondering what people thought about the leg press cue for the conventional deadlift? I found that whenever I tried to incorporate this cue the weights felt slow and heavy, and didn’t seem to take much strain off of the lower back. Yet I see it preached time and time again.

Meh. Works for plenty of guys. Not for me. Pulling the slack, tension and patience/positioning cues work best for me sumo and conventional

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I don’t really see people do this as often but what seems to work best for me is taking the slack out and then jamming my hips into the bar to kind of wedge it off the floor. The issue is I cant seem to set my back very well while doing this. I was hoping leg pressing the weight would help that issue but it doesn’t seem to.

I feel like maybe you’ve talked about the rounded back thing to death already lol

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Lol I’ve accepted long ago that I’m stronger in a rounded position

Works for me on sumo. Just find what works for you.

The deadlift is a pulling hinge movement but you must initiate it with a press, sooo if that cue helps then it helps.

Most people with a conv deadlift setup too close to the bar so they don’t get enough initial leg drive.

Post a video and maybe we can throw out more help that way.


Sometimes people use deficit deadlifts to emphasize and experience more leg drive.

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Different cues work for different people. If your issue is not bracing properly then how you initiate the lift with your legs is going to make little difference.

You are both pushing and pulling, but in one motion.

Works for me. I think “quads” and “push the floor” to lock out so I dont have soft knees.

You could use straight back deadlift as assistance. Even if you can’t achieve that position from the floor from blocks would work. Also taking it off some pins to start at the top the Romanian deadlifting

I did this for a few cycles. It helps with the cue, and makes you brutally strong in a “bad” position. The only thing I would add is make sure you keep a good position with your comp deadlift stance. I wound up doing so much stiff leg work that it kind of fucked with my conventional.

I would add for the “leg press cue”, it helped me a lot to do touch-and-go deadlifts and really cue falling backwards. If you watch George Leeman’s old videos, he shows how to fall backwards and it’s great for me for learning the push not a pull thing.

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The Two Types of Conventional Deadlift

The Conventional Deadlift technique can be broken down into to distinctive types, each provides a different training effect.

1) Olympic Style Deadlift

This movement “Leg Presses” the weight off the floor. This technique is employed by Olympic Lifters as a training method for the First Pull.

This method enable Olympic Lifters to maintain a neutral back position, allowing them to correctly position the bar for the explosive whip of the bar in the Second Pull.

The back maintains a neutral position throughout the Second Pull; which starts in the knee area.

2) Powerlifting Deadlift

Research by Dr Tom McLaughlin found in a Powerlifting Conventional Deadlifter initiate the drive off the floor with their back, then leg drive.

This method is more effective for pulling more weight in a Conventional Deadlift.

Secondly, some upper back round usually occurs in a Powerlifting Conventional Deadlift.

Upper back rounding allows you keep the bar closer to the Body’s Center of Gravity; which means you to pull more weight.

The farther away the bar is from the Body’s Center of Gravity the greater the torque, the greater the resistance created; essentially the bar weight increases.

Incorrect Cue

Cuing someone to “Leg Press” or push the platform away from them in a a Powerlifting Conventional Deadlift is incorrect. Having them focus on driving the weight off the floor with the legs guarantees less weight will be pulled.

Dr Bret Contreras’ notes that in below in…

A Strong Case for The Round Back Deadlift

Contreras provides some great information on why rounding the upper back is fine and allows Powerlifters to pull more weight with this technique

Sumo Deadlift

The Sumo Deadlift is a quad dominate movement. Essentially you “Leg Press” the weight off the floor. “Leg Press” cuing is acceptable for the Sumo Deadlift.

Conventional Deadlift Training Objective

Your objective determines your choice of Conventional Deadlift Techniques, Olympic Style or Powerlifting Conventional Deadlift.

Kenny Croxdale

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What are your top cues?


Thanks Kenny, as others have suggested, what are your thoughts on training the flat backed conventional deadlift, and pulling with a rounded upper back during competition? I’m sure there would be plenty of carryover between the two, although they do seem to almost be completely different lifts. At least for me

Olympic Style Deadlifts

This flat back movement is a good Auxiliary Exercise for training and increasing strength in the Deadlift.

Other Good Auxiliary Exercises

Deficit Deadlifts, Stiff Leg Deadlifts (slight break in the knees), Good Mornings, Back Extensions, Cable Pull Through, Leg Press (build quad strength to assist breaking he weight off the floor in a Powerlifting Deadlift), Trap Bar Deadlifts (more quad drive developed off the floor), etc.

8 Great Thoracic Extensor Exercises

Here are some good exercise that develop upper back strength and size…

Power Training For The Deadlift

Power is the grease that helps you slide through a sticking point. In driving through a mud hole, you want to hit the mud hole (sticking point) with enough speed so that momentum is maintained so that you make it through.

Deadlift Power Training movement such as Speed Deadlifts (misnamed they are Power Deadlifts) with loads of 48 to 62% of your Max Deadlift develop power.

Olympic Pulls (Power Clean, Power Snatch, Hi Pull Cleans and Snatches), Heavy Kettlebell Swings, Trap Bar Jump Squats (essentially a modified Olympic movement). Dumbbells can be used in place of a Trap Bar develop power.

Technique Training

Technique is best developed in the Deadlfit, any movement, with low repetitions (1 - 2 per set), with load of 85% plus of your 1 Repetition Max for multiple sets.

Technique Training needs to be performed when you are fresh. Rest periods between reps need to be long enough to ensure recovery, so that you technique is maintained.

Once fatigue set in, Stop. Fatigue alters technique; reinforcing bad form.

That is one of the primary reason that performing a Competition Lift to develop technique is a bad idea. It increases strength in the movement at the expense of developing poor technique.

Muscle fatigue set in with each repetition, technique is altered and the muscle firing sequence changes.

Auxiliary Exercise are the best way to increase strength in the Deadlift, any movement.

Carry Over

Yes, there is some carry over. The Olympic Style Deadlift is a good Auxiliary Exercise.

However, for optimal technique in a Competition Deadlift (any lift/movement) needs to simulated in the gym as it is to be performed at the meet.

The only way your technique improves with anything is by practicing it, rather than performing a movement that is something like it.

Kenny Croxdale


Thanks for the detailed reply Kenny. Definitely gives me a lot to think about. I’m guilty of doing only competition deadlifts for my training, and fatigue certainly alters my technique.

Competition Deadlift Strength Training

Many Powerlifter training that way. I started training that way, as well.

What is interesting is the majority of sports use weight training/resistance training as a means increase strength for their sport. The sports movement is rarely performed with weight. It alters technique.

Baseball Pitchers and Pole Vaulters

Baseball pitcher don’t practice throwing a two pound ball. Pole Vaulter’s don’t put on a 20 lb vest and practice vaulting.

Nor do Baseball Pitchers or Pole Vaulter perform throws or vault for non stop sets of 5 or 10 repetitions.

Pitchers, Pole Vaulters, etc perform basically one repetition at a time. Rest and throw a pitch or vault then do it again.

Olympic Lifters

Olympic Lifter perform usually one repetition at a time in a Snatch, Clean, Jerk or Clean and Jerk.

Olympic Lifter don’t perform Snatches, Cleans or Jerks for set of 5 or 10 repetitions.

Olympic Lifter use Auxiliary Exercises like Squat, Deadlifts, Overhead Presses, Push Presses, etc to increase strength.

Olympic Lifts are Power Movements that require technique.

Cross Fit

Cross Fit uses Olympic Movements like Power Cleans for mega reps for Metabolic Conditioning, at times.

Four things occur when they do this…

  1. It works at increasing their Metabolic Condition.

  2. It ensure they develop poor technique in a highly technical movement.

  3. Higher repetition Olympic Movement produce a decrease in power output and development.

  4. Pushing yourself into a fatigued state with a get it up anyway you can, increase the rate of injury.

With that said, there are other method that are effective increasing Metabolic Conditioning without.

Using Olympic Movement for metabolic conditioning amount to using a crescent wrench to drive a nail instead of a hammer.

That take home message is use the right tool for the right job.


Muscle Fatigue alters everyone’s technique.

Kenny Croxdale


Poor crossfitters, stuck in the mud-hole!

Good info Kenny.