T Nation

Deadlift Prob - Long Femur?


I'm wondering if anybody has ever encountered this problem.

When I deadlift, I can't pull the bar up and keep it close to my body with back flat without my shins getting nailed by the bar. I think it's because I have a long femur. I've seen vids of others deadlifting and it seems that their knees don't jut too far past their toes, making this a non-issue. Any ideas?


Flexibility? Are your sitting back into the pull first? Tight hamstrings an issue maybe? Beyond that I would have to see your form to give more insight..


how would a long femur (not sure how you diagnosed that to begin with) cause your knees to jut out past your toes? I'm not following.

More likely to be a form issue.


Check out my picture. As you can see, a long femur results in the knees going more forward in the sagittal plane in order to keep the body centred over the base of support, whereas someone with a shorter femur can keep their knees more on top of their toes.

When I pull up from the bottom, one of three things happen:

1) The bar rapes my shins and I get bruised.

2) I flex at the lumbar spine.

3) My hips rise up first, resulting in a Romanian deadlift at the top half.


Have you tried pulling Sumo? If so do you still have difficulty with form then?


Due to your use of terms im guessing you've taken a kines course, i do agree with the your diagnosis of a long femur being harder because i have a long femur but it is a huge flexibility problem in my hamstrings that dont allow me to do the deadlift like people with shorter femurs or that are flexible, the longer the femur the more flexible you have to be in my oppinion,

can you touch your toes or the floor?


I can pull Sumo, but I want to Deadlift normal. :slight_smile:

Good call - I got my KIN degree at U. Waterloo. I agree with the flexibility issue - I can touch my toes in standing, but am working on improving my ham flexibility - I used to be terrible but can now get to 160-170 deg of knee extension at 90 deg hip flexion in supine.

The other issue I have is when I widen my stance, at the bottom of the deadlift (or squat) I'm locked up in the hip flexors. These aren't responding too quickly to stretching - might have to get some ART there.


Sumo deadlift

Trap bar deadlift

"Farmers walk" deadlift (use two barbells on either side)

Single arm deadlift

Deadlift using handles on chains connected to the weights, off boxes if possible.

Put pvc pipe over the barbell so when it hits your shins, it rolls up them. Padding also is nice. Note, you do NOT grab the pvc pipe, and don't let it hit your hands either or it will rotate and chop 'em up. Duct tape can keep it in the middle. Note you don't tape it down to the bar, defeating the purpose.

Wear shin guards.


wow, the pvc pipe is a great idea, what size pvc would you get considering it has to slide over the thick part where the plates are stacked, if anyone has an idea on the diameter of the largest part of the barbell i would appreciate it i am going to go pick up some pvc tommorow,


Eric, I had the same problem as you. You want to know what fixed it? I maintained conventional deadlift stance, but set my feet apart wider. Since my knees aren't going straight out, but off to the sides at a bit of an angle, they don't go as far in front of me. Now that I take a wider stance I can deadlift as normal. Give it a try.


Not sure about your bar but on the one i use you can remove the thick end with an allen wrench and it is then just a 1' diamiter the whole way along. So for that you would just get the pipe a little larger than 1' opening. Can also be used to make the bar thicker for grip training. Hope that helps.


I absolutely LOVE PVC pipe. (no not that way).

I use 3" pipe cut to length for my dumbells, instant thick grip dumbells. Cut them long so they are jammed against the plates, and use screw lock dumbells. You can even force the handle to be "off centre" this way.

Or cut them a bit shorter, and you got a rotating dumbell. Stick them on a really heavy dumbell and you got something like the "rolling thunder" that ironmind sell. Bloody great for one arm deadlift.

I use 2" pipe on dumbells cut a bit shorter so that the dumbells roll. Then I grab one in each hand, and do sliding pushups - my hands are on wheels.

I use 2" pipe for just a generally thicker bar than the standard dumbell.

If you want extra grip you can cover them with tennis racket regrip or you can get a bike innertube and chop it up, instant rubberised grip.

If you put pvc pipe over a shopping bag handle you can get two armloads of really heavy groceries and do farmers walks in the shops without looking too silly. I walk home 2km with a nice collection of apples and soda bottles.

The PVC is not strong enough to hold the weight - it does not have to be really, because the weight it carried by the bar. The pipe doesn't suffer at all.