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Deadlift Technique Help


Hi guys i am just beginning starting strength. My Bench / Press / Squat are fine technique wise as i have done those lifts before. But i need help with part of my deadlift.

Its an issue that seems stupid but here it goes. My pulling technique on the deadlift feels and looks fine. It's my lowering technique that sucks balls. I tested myself for the program and pulled 60kg then 70, 80, then 90. anything above 80 feels really hard at this stage.

What is fucking up my back though is the lowering part of the lift. Even at 60kg i seem to struggle to lower the bar with a flat back. I am lifting at a gym that does not like the sound of plates hitting the deck so i can't just drop the bar from the pull or lower the weight with too much speed or i get cautioned.

SO i need to control the lift pretty much all the way up and most of the way down.

I understand the biomechnics of putting your hips back to clear the knees and lowering ect. Just my ability to do that in form on a lower is only on quite light weights (40 kgs) where as the pulling part i can crank up to 90kgs.

So my question is what is the best way to work on this giving the constraints of my body and gym.

Should i:

1) just work on conventional deadlifts but stay at a weight light enough that i can control the whole movement and slowly ramp it up from there

2) try sumo pulls? dunno if the easier clearence over knees makes controlling the lower easier?

3) do rack pulls with the bar just below the knee.

and no they don't have a trap bar at the gym.

Any advice appreciated.


4) Stick your ass back and bend your knees, it's not harder than that. Sumo or rack pulls often make more noise than conventional deads.

You could post a vid showing how you lower the bar if you want better advice.


yeah i understand the mechanics of it. Perhaps to be clearer - my lower back is far stronger on the pulling part and seemingly weak on the lowering part.

I can pull 90kg off the floor, but the more i pass 60kg the worse my form gets on the lowering part of the lift. My lower back doesn't hold form on the lower. But holds it easily on the pull.

does that make sense? for the lower i do indeed just put my hips back and lower it down while keeping tight with a flat back. Just my lower back feels very weak on the lowering part. This is a slow lower as i can't let the weights hit the floor with too much noise or they get anal.

guess i'll just persist at it with lighter weights and see if it improves.


Sounds like a good idea. You have a weakness so work on it.

I'd also make sure to be doing assistance stuff like good mornings, hyper extensions and reverse hyper extensions to help with the weaker lower back.


It is truely the reverse movement. When you lift from the floor it should be knee extension until the bar is past your knees and then hip extension to lock it out. With the reverse you should similarly sit your ass back until the bar is just above your knees then bend from your knees to set it back on the floor.

It might be the case that you are turning it into a stiff-legged deadlift when you are lowering it?

Pretty sure Ripptoe said something somewhere about how lowering the bar is pretty hard and a lot of people seem to have difficulty with it, for what it is worth. Vids could be good if you can get 'em.


in before someone says find another gym


Yeah i found another Gym down the road. They have a trap bar which i love the feel of and can lift with a good rythym with decent weight. For my purposes it's a legitimate sub for the DL so i will use it for now. Might come back to the deadlift later down the track.


When something seems hard to figure out, go do something else.
If you have trouble with squats, there is always the leg press.
Or the trap bar is kind of a cross between a deadlift and a squat, so you can just do trap bar deadlifts instead - right?

I'm kinda joking...

But I'm kinda not.

It might be that you are actually deadlifting with your hips set too high and using mostly back extension for the movement rather than using knee extension to get the bar past your knees (aka: relying on short tight spinal erectors rather than training your legs). Aka: Turning a deadlift into a stiff-legged deadlift as a lot of people have a tendency to do. The problem is exaggerated in the negative / lowering portion of the lift... You could of course just do something else (e.g., trap bar deadlifts) or... You could take some vids of your deadlift and... Learn how to deadlift. YOu know... For the reasons you initially included the deadlift in your program.


alexus, have you ever seen andy bolton deadlift?


Not in person, no :slight_smile:

What one looks like when one gets a big ass 1RM after many many many years of training...

Is allowed to be a little bit different from what one should look like when one is just starting out and one is wanting to train the movement safely and usefully.

The hips will rise before the weight lifts the ground in a true 1RM. That doesn't mean that one should train deadlifts with high hips.

Why not?

Because if you do... You will overtrain your back and undertrain your legs.

The lower back is one of the first areas to fatigue because of the relative lack of muscle mass there. As such, one always needs to be a bit careful of it. The lower back is often injured not because the lower back is weak but because the lower back is doing much much more than its share to compensate for weak legs.

Don't forget... 2 days after deadlifting OP needs to do his back squats. Then two days later he not only needs to back squat, he needs to train his deadlift again.

That means he really needs to use his legs (knee extension)


haha! Ripptoe contradicts pretty much everything I just said!

Probably information overload... But I'm with Everett on this one:


My basic point being that if you are having trouble with your back when deadlifting then one can minimize the stress on the back by using the legs more.


the relevant points from the Everett article:

in a maximal effort deadlift, no matter the starting position of the hips, they will assuredly rise faster than the shoulders and wind up in a higher position, unless started at a height at which the knees are nearing full extension. This phenomenon is quite simple: in a low-hipped position, the angle of the knee is such that its mechanics are quite disadvantaged?that is, it?s very difficult to extend the knee under the full load.

Because the body knows what to do, it will naturally begin extending the knees with minimal bar movement until the angle of the knee is such that it can bear the full load and begin moving the barbell along with the rest of the body. This is a very obvious adjustment to relieve the legs (meaning the quads) of some of the work and shift more of it to the back and hips?in the weightlifting world commonly referred to as unloading the legs.

it has to do exclusively with the fact that in such an instance, the quads are not strong enough to move the weight. The solution? Strengthen the correct positions and movement.


Cant watch the vid since I am at work right now, but here is one of Matt Kroc explaining how to deadlift


I have some picture of my awful deadlift technique. Could anyone give me some tips of how to improve technique?


With most of the people I see they usually end up lowering that last few inches of the deadlift by flexing their spine because they have run out of room in their hips, shifting the pressure from tshe hips to the smaller muscles in the lower back. Something you don't want to do with any kind of even submaximal load.

Some things you could try would be to lower the bar as far as your hips will allow as you would in a romanian deadlift and then drop it from a much shorter distance to the floor while actively pushing the bar into the floor to keep it from bouncing and making even more noise. If the people at your gym are unwilling to make a compromise for your health and longevity then that's a whole other issue and you should start looking for another gym.


Okay, thanks for your advice!


Im taller so I have trouble with my form on dead lifts the trap bar has been a life (back) saver! I would think unless your dead lifting to get better at dead lifting this should be a reasonable substitute