T Nation

Deadlift Question


I'm learning deadlift and have read some of the guides on here... in regards to correct posture, flat back, heels close to the bar, etc... and i think from some standpoints my form has improved a lot and isn't half-bad with light weights now... but I pretty much always graze my shins with the knurling on the bar on the way up. I don't hit my shins very hard or anything like that, it's more of a rub but the knurling on the bar rubbing against shin on each rep has the cumulative effect of scraping/beating up my shins pretty damn good especially when wearing shorts.

Last workout, I had to stop because they were getting beet red and felt scraped and I feared they were going to start bleeding... and not good gym ettiquette to say the least to be bleeding all over the equipment!

Anyway, is this shin rubbing an indicator that I am doing deadlifts incorrectly? Or is part of the territory of deadlifting? any suggestions how to deal with it?



Scraped shins are the price you have to pay for deadlifting (for most people). How much you scrape depends on your body type. The front of my shins have been red from deadlifting for over a year now.

There was a post a while back about how to avoid scraping your shins. Some suggestions were: go sumo stance, wear soccer shin guards, wear long socks, wear long pants, etc. I believe you can find the post easily if you search for "Bloody Shins" or somesuch.

Good luck with the deadlifts.


Dead lift shins are manly. But if you are really scraping them bad, you might try doing more weight for less reps. I find that the higher reps I go, the slopier my form gets, which results in worse shin scrapes.




Some bars have wider chromed areas in the middle than others. Some have softer knurling than others. Look around your gym and find the one that sucks the least.


The weight on my DLs has kept going up since I began doing them a year ago...and I've scraped my shins maybe twice. I keep wondering if I'm doing them wrong, cos the bar is rarely closer than 2" from my shins. Honestly, if I wanted to scrape them, I would have to concentrate and really work hard to do it.

I have short legs, maybe that's why I don't scrape? Dunno...

Mate, see if changing your form a little keeps you from scraping. I believe there is some leeway in correct form to avoid scraping.


I have long legs, and I get scraped bad.

You're really supposed to be pulling the weight back and up. The closer you keep the bar to your shins, the better leverage you get, and the safer you are.

I just wear sweatpants so it doesn't hurt as much.


As someone earlier said, scraped shins come with doing a lot of deadlifts. I have a permanent scar running up my right shin from them. But if you want to go easy on the blood, you can do a few things. Shin guards never worked for me so try these.

Wear sweat pants, preferably ones with a slick outer layer. It gets hot and you may bleed inside them but you won't get blood on the bar.

Use sports tape. I would take two strips of it and go up the length of my shins, and then i would wrap around my calf on the top and bottom of that strap to hold that in place. In a competition you are not allowed to be bleeding and start a lift so I had to do that to cover it up after my lift most of the time.

Hope that helps. To me bloody shins just add to the beauty of a brutal deadlift day. One time I turned my sweatpants inside out and took a picture of them because they were caked in blood, but I also took a picture of my belt when it arrived so I am a little weird :slightly_smiling:


As others above said, it has to do with your body type and what style you're comfortable with. Generally, scraped shins are a sign of proper form (proper = moves more weight).

I have a relatively long torso, so I try to keep the bar as close to my shins as possible to shorten the lever(torso). When I pull, I lean back and bring the bar up and into my shins. This lets me use my body weight to gain leverage.

As far as scraped shins, either be a man and deal with it or wear some socks/pants. I personally choose the second option. I feel shame.

Dave Tate's "Dead Zone" article has some good tips and explains this better than I can. Robertson and Cressey also have some good stuff related to pulling. Search them both.

www.elitefts.com also has some solid articles and a nice Q&A related to deadlifting big weights.


That really sucks. I like to deadlift also but I fortunately do not have that problem. My first thought is that you are pulling backwards too much. You don't drag the weight up your shins. I start the bar close but since I pull up there is a natural gap. The bar still does touch but not in a harmful way. I have scratched my shins badly in the past. Too much weight being used I guess. I lifted 290 x 20 reps a few months ago. Anyone do high reps also?


It's great when you are deadlifting REAL HEAVY and real intense and get bloody shins.

Everyone in the gym tries to stay away from you.


When pulling the weight off the ground I would concentrate more on pulling the weight straight up instead of leaning back and dragging the weight up your legs. You will also get a better full back and upper leg workout when doing this.

Hope this helps good luck to you

Monster Tek


A couple of weeks ago after I had pulled two straight workouts (with shitty bars) in shorts, my shins were beat up. I was lifting with some buddies at another gym and forgot my sweat pants. On my first pull my shins just opened up.

We found some duct tape buried among the chains and bands in our tool box. I ran a long piece down my shins and kept pulling.


its suppose to drag up agenst your shins.


And then..after busting open your shins...you pull through your knee cap...causing even more pain and damage.
I think there is a difference between being close and being too close.


i would agree


Try Romanian Deadlifts. Still good gor the back with no shin damage.


it depends on your body type. i never scrape the bar on my shins.


I'm glad I'm not alone.


If you start bleeding you are doing them right - congrats :slight_smile: