T Nation

Deadlift Shoulder Positioning

I’ve read a couple different viewpoints on this. Tate says put shoulders behind the bar whereas Ripptoe says to position your shoulders directly over the bar. Tate says don’t get your shins too close, whereas Ripptoe says get as close to the bar as possible.

I want to increase my deadlift and develop the proper motor patterns. Which method should I be practicing. I’m 6’3 with long limbs and a short torso.

Any thoughts?

Try both, see what works better for you. For what it’s worth, I’m 6’4" and long arms, short torso also and I like Ripptoe better.

But I pull conventional and tend to use more back than ham too.

Thanks. When you deadlift, do you keep your shoulders back or do you employ thoracic rounding and hunch forward? And how high are your hips when you start. I find that no matter what my hips are very high - and when I try lowering htem they just rise anyhow - so that I end up pulling it up with a lot of back.

I’d like some input on this too. DL form is one of my weaknesses.

I am in no way, shape or form suggesting that good form isn’t important in DL’ing, but even when watching world class pullers, their form varies greatly. (Watch an old World’s Strongest Man sometime and tell me they all pull the same…) When trying to move maximum weight, I think one just naturally leans on their strong body parts. Personally, my shoulders end up right above the bar.

I don’t think there is a single right answer to this. It depends on both your goals and your body type.

It goes back to depending on why you do the exercise. Just as with a bench press.

It depends on why you are doing deadlifts. I think if you do Rippetoe’s version you will strengthen your body in a more complete way, but I dont think his articles are made for elite lifters just trying to lift alot of weight.

When people say not to get your shins right up to the bar, it is usually because for those people, they lack the flexiblility or are just built in a way in which they can’t get there shoulders behind the bar if they are that close to it.

Basically, you want to get as close to the bar as possible while still keeping your center of gravity behind the bar for leverage. If you can do that without touching the bar or without starting with your shoulders back, more power to ya, but those are just guidelines coaches use to get their lifters to pull back instead of just up.

Mark Rippetoe (videos) explains his position:

DL Alignment Part I:
media.crossfit.com/cf-video/CrossFit_RipDLAlignment1.wmv

DL Alignment Part Du:
media.crossfit.com/cf-video/CrossFit_RipDLAlignment2.wmv

Rippetoe DL Anatomy:
media.crossfit.com/cf-video/CrossFit_RipDLAnatomy.wmv

All good advice. I watched the videos and they made sense. However, after reading all of Tate’s articles - they made sense too. Guess the best thing to do is on Tuesday I’ll Deadlift all three ways, post videos, and see which way felt/looked best.

[quote]SteelyD wrote:
Mark Rippetoe (videos) explains his position:

DL Alignment Part I:
media.crossfit.com/cf-video/CrossFit_RipDLAlignment1.wmv

DL Alignment Part Du:
media.crossfit.com/cf-video/CrossFit_RipDLAlignment2.wmv

Rippetoe DL Anatomy:
media.crossfit.com/cf-video/CrossFit_RipDLAnatomy.wmv [/quote]

Thats a good point about how the mechanics of the sumo pull are different than conventional and that they should be looked at differently.
That being said, and I can only speak for sumo cuz my conventional technique is crap, it is possible for the bar to leave the ground while still in front of the shoulders, as long as the shins are there to stop it from swinging back. Thats the part where you increase your leverage. By rocking back in that position you can more easily break the bar from the floor, and then continue the pull from there, and very soon after breaking from the floor the bar will end up under the scapula.

But thats the idea behind shoulders back, is that your using your body as a lever to break the floor.
Like has been said, experiment, both techniques have merit.

Here’s Eric Cressey’s take (part 2 in a three-part series). I found it very helpful:

I’m not going to be the one to tell Dave Tate how to deadlit, but I know i have to keep the bar close to my legs or I will have undue strain on my low back. Deads are tough enough on the low back as it is.

[quote]Tiribulus wrote:
I’m not going to be the one to tell Dave Tate how to deadlit, but I know i have to keep the bar close to my legs or I will have undue strain on my low back. Deads are tough enough on the low back as it is.[/quote]

I don’t think he’d disagree with that. I’d like to see someone find a quote where he actually says, “everyone should keep the bar away from their shins.”
More likely he just made a comment that not everyone needs it so close. We’re all shaped different.