T Nation

Deadlift Trouble

Hi,
I’m new to T-Nation and fairly new to lifting (since November). I have some trouble with my deadlifts & would appreciate advice. I’ve been told (by people in the gym) that I’m rounding my back, and I’ve had difficulty fixing my form. It’s been starting to hurt my lower back and I’d like to fix this before any real problems develop.

Relevant info: female, age 20, no injuries, 5’6’’, 132.

What I’m doing, I think, is bending over at the waist, only bending my knees a little, and picking the weight up like a suitcase. My weights have actually gone up quickly doing that; I can do 197 for reps without much trouble. But if I bend my knees all the way, with my butt below my knees the way a deadlift is supposed to look, I have no idea where to push from.

Nothing will budge. Even when I tried with just the bar it wasn’t quite right; if it’s light enough I can just squat it up, but I don’t think that’s the same thing.

I’ve gotten some advice already, and I’m going to start with that and whatever else you folks have to offer.

  1. Good mornings – I started with that this morning, 6x6@70.
  2. Rack pulls – haven’t done one yet, but will start tomorrow.
  3. Bulgarian split squats – started today, with 30 lb dumbbells.
  4. Hip mobility exercises – haven’t started yet. I have terrible flexibility (can’t touch my toes or kick straight out.)

Is this good? Anything else I should do? Can I substitute good mornings and rack pulls for deadlifts for a couple of weeks?

Hi Alisa. I’ve been given some great advice by posting a video and having my form critiqued that way. It’s much easier than trying to do it with words.

I understand, and I’m sorry, but I don’t have a camera. If I get access to one I’ll post.

arch your back poke your bum out while standing straight;then bend at the hips and with the knees keeping the bar close to your shins hold and stand-up straight without losing the arch.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G6aM0CYPh3w

I had a quick look for a video on youtube this one had what I would say the best form.

[quote]AlisaV wrote:
I understand, and I’m sorry, but I don’t have a camera. If I get access to one I’ll post.[/quote]

No need to be sorry! It’s just a suggestion. Good luck :slight_smile:

If you have people at the gym who know what they’re doing get them to help you work through this right there in the gym.

[quote]AlisaV wrote:
4. Hip mobility exercises – haven’t started yet. I have terrible flexibility (can’t touch my toes or kick straight out.)
[/quote]

This is most likely your problem. If you have flexibility issues, you aren’t going to be able to keep proper form while lifting. Since you can’t post a video, I would recommend doing rack pulls and lowering the pins a little each workout, until you get to the point where you can pull properly from the floor. The deadlift is a great exercise, but you need to have the form down before you pull heavy.

[quote]AlisaV wrote:

But if I bend my knees all the way, with my butt below my knees the way a deadlift is supposed to look, I have no idea where to push from.
[/quote]

I’m not trying to sound mean or anything, but that sounds 100% wrong. If im reading this right, your hips are lower than your knees, which should never be the case when deadlifting, only squatting. How high/low your butt is depends on how your body is structured, but never should your hips be lower then your knees, or even close for that matter. Look at videos online, they usually help. Your back will get sore from deadlifts, mine didn’t when I was doing lighter weights but now that im doing 340+ lbs, my back always gets sore.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Syt7A23YnpA

These are my cues now, since watching this. Bar cutting feet in half. Grab bar. Bent down until legs hit bar. Pull shoulder blades back and push the chest up. Pull - weight on heels, neutral spine.

Thanks, that’s very helpful.

Eric Cressey wrote a series of articles, “Mastering the Deadlift”, with lots of videos and very good explanations. It would be an useful reading.

[quote]supabeast wrote:
If you have people at the gym who know what they’re doing get them to help you work through this right there in the gym.[/quote]

X2 if the person is an experienced powerlifter.

I love T-Nation and all, but nothing beats coaching in person.

get naked.

huh?

Barefoot, I understand.

[quote]colonelquack wrote:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Syt7A23YnpA

These are my cues now, since watching this. Bar cutting feet in half. Grab bar. Bent down until legs hit bar. Pull shoulder blades back and push the chest up. Pull - weight on heels, neutral spine.[/quote]
Wow…that’s a nice explanation in that video.

Look up an exercise called “Pull Throughs”

these really relate to the deadlift and also help with hip mobility. this really helped me get my “pull” better and kept my lower back pain away.

Good luck.

Oh, and leave the ego at the door…if your not doing something right…drop the weight and get 100% correct form before you go up in weight. So many people forget that.

Thanks. Pull throughs are easily one of the funniest looking exercises I’ve ever seen, but I can see how they’d be good for deadlifts & I’ll do them.
So far rack pulls and good mornings have been good for me – weights are going up and as far as I can tell I’m keeping my chest up & back straight. (Also, no more lower back pain.)

And, yes, I understand about ego. I had to learn that with squats & drop down to really low weights a month or two ago to fix form. Now I just try to do what I can, and do it honestly.