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Deadlift Technique Confusion

Can someone please set me straight with some facts about deadlift technique. Some sources ive looked at say “its basically a squat with the bar in your hands and not on your back” - meaning pretty much its lifting from the legs, back straight hips back eyes forward or slightly up.

Then I’ve seen deadlifts being done as stiff legged where the lower back is doing pretty much all the hard work.

Then there is knees slightly bent and a combination of the two techniques described above. Either way i know all the other positioning of feet etc and grip. But im completely confused as to which technique is correct.

It really depends, as there are so many variations of the deadlift. I’ll break it down for ya into the three major variations I know; if anything I say is incorrect please feel free to correct me.

  1. Traditional DL

Set up with an athletic stance (feet about shoulder width, you can go wider/narrower if you want, but this is a guideline). Pull your shoulder blades back and down (try to keep them there during the whole lift)

position the bar so that it is pretty much over your toes (I do this to avoid hitting my shins)

Brace your abs (not suck in); it should be essentially an isometric contraction.

Big breath in with abs tight. This creates thoracic pressure and helps stabilize the spine.

Bend first at the hips then at the knees, as if you were sitting back onto a chair (keeping the back straight).

Grab the bar with any grip you preffer. It can be wide, it can be narrow, but your hands are NOT between your legs. I preffer to supinate (grab palms up), but mixed grip or prone grip is fine too.

Keep your head in neutral alignment or slightly elevated (neutral being in line with the spine)

drive hard through the heels, making sure your hips do not rise before the bar does

As the bar moves off the floor and nears knee level, drive your hips forward with explosive force (as if you were about to smash the wall in front of you with your pelvis)

Lower the bar quickly in the reverse order of the lift. Bend at the hips first, then the knees (this swings the bar outward and avoids shin/knee scrape)

  1. Sumo

Once you get the traditional dl down, sumo is pretty much the same deal.

This time set your feet in a very wide stance, and grab the bar in between your legs (hands maybe 6 inches apart).

  1. Romanian Dl

This is basically a half deadlift, all hip action. Grabbing the bar off a rack, bend at the hips until you feel a tight stretch in the hamstrings, then lift and repeat

There are videos here that show the proper techniques for all of the different types:


search 12 mistakes for the deadlift or something

Yes there are many differant variations of the Deadlift but unless you were seeing a specific type being performed IE Stiff Legged, Romanion etc. More than likey the variations you were seeing were the result of the dumb asses performing them not having the knowledge, technique and or strength to perform them properly.

As with all movements in the gym the majority of people just do them wrong and if you witnessed men doing them especially young ones throw in the ego factor and you have all of your aforementioned variations.

There is a big differance in moving a weight and lifting it.

While you may move a weight by properly lifting it.

You do not necessarily have to Lift a weight properly to move it.

Thanks for the advice guys. As bodyguard said, the confusion has pretty much come around from crap sources on the net and seeing idiots in the gym trying to pull the biggest weights they can.

After going on the recommended site (which is a awesome reference tool ill add) i found the deadlift page, basically i want to be aiming for this:


Maybe this will help some more…


Thanks for all the replies, last article has hit the nail on the head. Spot on :wink: