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Deadlift Question?


just a quick question regarding my deadlift. when maxing, i find it much easier to lift the weight of the ground in sumo and struggle to lock out. i can complete the lift using conventional but my form is not great i find i round slightly and my hips shoot up. what should i focus on more?


Well if you can post a video of your sumo and conventional it was be easier to tell what your problem is, regarding which to train? Focus on both honestly, learn the basics of deadlifting that are apparent in both styles. Braced core, lats involved, things like that.


What cparker said, but I find it pretty odd you find it easy to max off the floor in sumo while struggling to lock out because as far as I'm aware that's the complete opposite of what most people find pulling sumo.


(Longer post than it needs to be warning!!!!!!)

I dunno...............

Not disagreeing, just saw different stuff I guess.

Every sumo puller I knew way back when, if they died, died at the top (complete failures due to "why did you call for that weight?!" notwithstanding.)

When I judged, sumo-ers were the most notorious shelvers/hitchers.

Most prevalent fail was starting the forward hip thrust with locked knees (knees do not continue to open as hips open.)

You know what I mean?

Ankle angle relative to foot, which started open (read: "vertical shins")or at least was opening (read: "not quite vertical shins at start, but pretty vertical as bar passes knee") now starts to close, knee angle stays (+/-) the same, hips go forward, upper body tries to go vertical but bar has stalled so shoulders round forward, hitching starts, I have thumb pressing RED LIGHT button.

Cue for all deadlifters (read: "here's some crap I made up."): There is a cable attached to the spinous processes on the T1 through T3 vertebrae. It goes straight up into the sky. Magical.

When you start to pull, no matter your style or how you set up, the pull is coming from that cable and it is continuous and stupid fast. It is continuously trying to accelerate you.

Since you are hanging from that cable, your chest WILL not cave, you WILL not go forward nor will you go back. You just fly straight up imaging that cable at that point pulling on you like all hell. That is all you need to think about and react to. Just go as fast and as hard as possible all focused from that point, along that cable. That's all. Fuck the bar, fuck the "cues", fuck the corner of your belt buckle which is trying to remove your appendix (anybody else, or is this just me?), fuck throwing your head back like some overly emotive porn star.

Also, I think (again: "here's some crap I made up") that we are all afraid, as strong folk, to back off a few pounds when we are having a form problem. Instead we start adding all kinds of new accessory exercises to compensate for what we think to be muscle weaknesses in the lift we are trying to fix. And at the same time, continue to poorly perform the lift we are trying to fix.

As luck would have it, deadlifts are both an exercise and an event. Thus, deadlifts can be used to train your deadlift. Deadlift flawlessly a lot, and in time you will become a better and stronger deadlifter.

Back off by 30% (I just made that up), find your center (see above), pull like a motherfucker, stop each set before you fall into poor from (for me, sets of 3 is my marathon limit), do lots and lots of sets, look around to see who in the gym recognizes that you are a beast, acknowledge them with a nearly imperceptible nod, do a few more sets, go home, eat meat. Come back in a week, add some weight, repeat. When it gets dicey, back off a bit and start over.


Emskee, you never cease to amaze me. Great tip with pulling up from the T1-T3. And you're right, I see just as many sumo pullers failing at lockout as off the floor. Myself included (see vid). I've been trying to get through this my really focusing on technique basics in my training and getting lots of good volume in at 75% to 85%. It's humbling.


^That's one of the craziest deadlifts I've ever seen kgildner. You look like your going to straight murder the weight and then it's like you just hit a brick wall. That's crazy.


Hahah. Yeah. The real problem with that lift is that I was having balance problems all throughout the meet. You can see that the bar movement stops just above the knees, which is where I almost fell forward completely. Still, I think this is more an issue of improper hinging (not keeping a straight enough lower back to be able to lock out cleanly with the hips).

But I'd be open to any tips that this thread might generate -- without wanting to hijack the topic, of course! :slight_smile:


You did exactly as I described, and as I offered to jbo616 (me guessing in his regard.)

As such, I don't think this is a hijack as you are presenting what may be a similar issue.

You got just over the knees, stopped, bent them a little, had already lost your chest, and then did another separate part of your lift to lockout.

Oh, sorry, I meant to ask "Hey, howya been?"

Okay. back to it.

I have this other, unsubstantiated theory that when a lifter throws his head back, it gives the brain the illusion that the upper body is moving when it may not be.

As such, your head and ass moved up taking your mid/lower spine with it but your upper back (T1-T3) stayed put for like a femtosecond, then the break from the floor happened, you got the bar up over the knees, now you had to regroup because you were hunched forward and similarly the bar was forward. Note the relation between the plates on the left side of the screen to the red plate on the floor: you come out a bit forward, stall, then un-round the spine and pull back. So your lift had 3 discrete parts: 1.) Throw head back and ass up curving spine, 2.) pull bar from floor to just over the knee, 3.) finish by trying not to throw the knees forward while unrolling the spine kinda ignoring that you have hips which should be flying forward.

Go grab 60% of your 1 RM.

Keep your head aligned with your spine no matter what it takes. Like your neck vertebrae are fused. Like you are a boxer bracing for a head shot. Clench a mouth guard if you need to.

Set up.

Use the T spine cable crap.

Make your pull follow that line.

Hips come forward hard as bar passes knee.

Cable pulls you to lock out.

All one, single-action-looking pull.

Pull so fast and hard that you are afraid that the bar is going to hit you in the chin on the way up.

Put bar down and do 2 more reps.

Do this 8 times.

Take less rest than you think you need. Force yourself to be robot like solid in your form.

See how that feels.

Good to hear from you.


Emskee, fantastic advice as usual (and, as always, great to hear from you!). I've got pretty lax with my spinal control in the last months. You've made me realize that I'm not focusing at all on my upper back while deadlifting, cause I've always had this fixation with how my lower back is doing.

Will definitely incorporate your tips into my "speed/technique" day leading up to my next meet at the end of April... And will then report back. :slightly_smiling:


Okey dokey.

Yeah, when you pull from the top everything else just kinda falls into place to, of course, include the lower back. Also, don't underestimate biting down hard on a rubber mouth guard. Helps me keep my neck muscles flexed.

I'm still curious to hear from the dude who started this thread. Where's the video?

jbo616, where thee be?


Emskee, your advice has to be the best and most epic I've come across on T-Nation. Thank you.


Especially the part about not throwing your head back like a porn start, right? I'm proud of that one.

Thanks, I really try.