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Deadlift Weak Point at Knees

I solved this problem with heavy power shrugs from blocks or a rack just below the knees

[quote]panzerfaust wrote:

[quote]animus wrote:
RE: video

It looks like you’re not pushing your hips through all the way to finish the movement. It’s pretty subtle, but there’s a back raise/torso-uprighting that occurs just before the hips lock out. Those two things should be in sync with each other. A lot of the times, this is due to the upper back not being tight/strong enough (i.e. torso wants to correct itself first, get into the strong position, before the hips have a chance to lock-out). Not always the case though.

It looks like your hips are explosive though, so it’s the first thing I’d bet on.[/quote]
Sorry, just trying to understand your comments so bear with me.

Are you saying I finish more with the back than the hips - ie I straighten my torso, then pull my hips through to stand straight?

As opposed to my upper back supporting the angle while my hips lead through to finish the movement?

I see what you mean by a slight indiscretion between my hips and upper back. I’ll have a play with this when I pull on Friday.

Earlier this year I was called on not locking out properly - perhaps due to lack of glute activation I am “locking out” by straightening my torso rather than correctly flexing through with the glutes.

Thanks for your feedback![/quote]

To your questions, yes. That looks to me what’s occurring. I don’t think it’s your glutes or your hips that’s the issue. There’s a very subtle thoracic flexion right before your lock-out, but your hips seem to move fairly fluidly and you pull fast from the floor. My guess is that your upper back is weak (which is relatively common for powerlifters). Because it’s so subtle and because your thoracic flexion appears rather high up, my guess is that you perform only a very particular type of rowing movement and very nearly always at the same angle. Which would be lower down.

I second the shrugs and rack-pulls from higher up opinion/suggestion. It’s a very short movement at the top where you appear to be weak.

I could be off though. Incorporate a little bit of everything presented here and see what works.

probably hammies

Quick update, 6 weeks after asking for advice in this thread.
I pulled 230kg / 507lb yesterday, which is only a small PR but with better form than the previous lift. I could still see the stall begin at the knee but I managed to get past it more smoothly.
I used mostly rack pulls, glute bridges and heavy kettlebell swings to help strengthen/activate my glutes.
Still not a big lift, but it’s up 50kg for the year so hopefully I will join some of you in the 600s at some stage.
Thanks for the help!

[video]2526[/video]

As far as the shakes go, I used to get them extremely bad and had the parkinsons pull, then I loosened up my hips a ton and it went away. I checked out your progress pics on your log, but I think you may not have been standing relaxed so I can’t really give a posture receomendation, but from your squat video I can say you don’t have a lot of problems, just static stretch your hips and do a good dynamic hip warm up like Defranco’s agile 8 and you should notice a bit improvement.

First and foremost, you have great technique and I don’t see any problems at all, yeah when you max your back rounds a bit, but it’s a max and that happens, as long as your hips are good you won’t have any problems.

As far as the first miss, it was actually a perfect miss. At the knees is the most mechanically disadvantageous position where the bar is furthest away from the body, and in a perfect world if you have to miss it would be there.

Second deadlift was great, a very nice max attempt.

As far as all the extra work for glutes and hamstrings, that’s never a bad decision… but honestly, you just need to train your deadlift more and get it stronger. I looked back through your log for about a month or so and in that time you maxed at least 3 times and pulled some 5’s around 80% twice. There’s really no building there. Forget all that other fluff and make your goal to get 450 for 5x5, I think you could do that in 6-8 weeks… when you do, I guarantee you’ll pull around 550, forget this 10lbs at a time bullshit.

You definitely have 600 in you, and it’s not far off. Best of luck, and I enjoyed your training log.

[quote]Larry10 wrote:
As far as the shakes go, I used to get them extremely bad and had the parkinsons pull, then I loosened up my hips a ton and it went away. I checked out your progress pics on your log, but I think you may not have been standing relaxed so I can’t really give a posture receomendation, but from your squat video I can say you don’t have a lot of problems, just static stretch your hips and do a good dynamic hip warm up like Defranco’s agile 8 and you should notice a bit improvement.

First and foremost, you have great technique and I don’t see any problems at all, yeah when you max your back rounds a bit, but it’s a max and that happens, as long as your hips are good you won’t have any problems.

As far as the first miss, it was actually a perfect miss. At the knees is the most mechanically disadvantageous position where the bar is furthest away from the body, and in a perfect world if you have to miss it would be there.

Second deadlift was great, a very nice max attempt.

As far as all the extra work for glutes and hamstrings, that’s never a bad decision… but honestly, you just need to train your deadlift more and get it stronger. I looked back through your log for about a month or so and in that time you maxed at least 3 times and pulled some 5’s around 80% twice. There’s really no building there. Forget all that other fluff and make your goal to get 450 for 5x5, I think you could do that in 6-8 weeks… when you do, I guarantee you’ll pull around 550, forget this 10lbs at a time bullshit.

You definitely have 600 in you, and it’s not far off. Best of luck, and I enjoyed your training log.[/quote]

What’s up man.

Funny you should mention the hips. I went for a mountain walk a couple of months ago, and after about 30 minutes I had AGONY in the musculature above my glutes and spreading around my upper hips. I also get random pain in this area when squatting. Some days worse than others.
I work at a desk and tbh I’m fucking lazy and barely even walk. I’ve started remedying this by forcing myself to do some conditioning (weighted vest stairs) but mobility work is probably what I need.
I do foam roll before each lifting session, but I likely need more specific work. Will give the Agile 8 a whirl and see how it helps. Good suggestion.

Thanks for the positive feedback on my form. I also do notice the back rounding a bit, but I never have back pain after pulling, so I’d say it’s fairly harmless.

That’s a very valid observation regarding my approach to training the deadlift. I’ve always had this idea in my head where singles are the only way to increase it hah… so I avoid anything resembling high volume.
And yes, I definitely lack “building” volume in my deadlifting.

I remember a quote some excessively strong guy on here said, to the effect of: “To get strong, train what you hate.” Pretty much saying we often instinctively avoid what we actually need to do. I know this is the case with me!

I’m dedicated to seeing out a full year of Fullbody 5/3/1 but in the New Year I am open to new training ideas.

Working up to a heavy 5x5 sounds like a pretty beastly goal. If I were to choose this route, how would you suggest programming it?

Thanks for your comments and suggestions!

Hey man, if you’re up for trying new things, Sheiko routines are great for building up the squat bench and deadlift. if you’re ever interested in trying them out email me and I’ll send you a good excel spreadsheet I use where you just punch in your max and it tells you what to do. The majority of Russian powerlifters use these routines and they’re on a whole, the best powerlifters around.

As far as programming the 5x5, I’d go with good old fashioned linear progression. Don’t be afraid to start too light, it’ll just give you momentum as you get to heavier weights. I’d start with what you’re pulling for 5’s now and just build from there adding 10lbs a week as long as you get all your reps. If you miss any reps, just retake the weight and get the reps, as long as you increase by at least 1 rep a week you’re making progress and you’re getting to the level where 1 extra rep a week is good progress. If you ever stall out, or go backwards, take a deload week at 80% of what you were pulling, then start 5 sets of 3 reps and keep going. Once it gets tough again, start taking away a set a week and still upping the weight until you get to a heavy triple, then max the following week. That’s roughly how most powerlifting peaking programs work.

As far as your butt pain, I used to get the exact same thing when my hips were tight, I’ve since loosened them up and I’m doing much much better, no back pain at all anymore.

I like the “do what you hate” quote, but it’s kind of extreme and I prefer to stay as positive as possible. I guide my training these days by saying to myself “do what you need to do, not what you like to do.” I had the same issue as you in that I loved to lift heavy, but it just burns you out. I’ve changed the way I train a lot, and have a lot of belief in it, so even though it’s not what I like, it’s still doing what I love.

Best of luck with training man, straight on till 600

You deadlift a lot like me. Your hips are not weak.

Benno was right, but his solution may not help you. You are putting yourself in the most mechanically advantageous position to pull the weight off the floor, but by doing so you end up in a very poor position to lock the weight out. Your hips rise so fast and your knees are nearly fully extended so quickly that by the time you get just past your knees you are getting absolutely no leverage from your glutes and hams.

Rack pulls are unlikely to help as they will not put you in the same position where you are actually weak.

You really have two options. Work on your upper and lower back as others have suggested and maintain your current form. I don’t think there is really a problem with your form, but you are going to need a very strong back to overcome that sticking point since you are getting very little use out of your glutes. Other than that, keep getting stronger all over.

Or, drop your hips at the start as benno suggested. You’re weights will go down and you will probably now be weak off the floor. I would suggest at least giving this a try. Even if it doesn’t end up helping your deadlift, there is no doubt that it will help your overall strength and be beneficial in the long term.

For the record my hips used to start higher than yours. I tried lowering them quite a bit and couldn’t get anything off the ground. After taking a break from deadlifting and working more on my squat, I started to find a starting position closer to yours to be more comfortable. It’s hard to say that anything in particular helped, but if I had to venture a guess I would say that box squats were actually hindering my progress and dropping them helped. Front squats and pause squats to pins have done more for my back strength and flexibility than anything.

[quote]tedro wrote:
You deadlift a lot like me. Your hips are not weak.

Benno was right, but his solution may not help you. You are putting yourself in the most mechanically advantageous position to pull the weight off the floor, but by doing so you end up in a very poor position to lock the weight out. Your hips rise so fast and your knees are nearly fully extended so quickly that by the time you get just past your knees you are getting absolutely no leverage from your glutes and hams.

Rack pulls are unlikely to help as they will not put you in the same position where you are actually weak.

You really have two options. Work on your upper and lower back as others have suggested and maintain your current form. I don’t think there is really a problem with your form, but you are going to need a very strong back to overcome that sticking point since you are getting very little use out of your glutes. Other than that, keep getting stronger all over.

Or, drop your hips at the start as benno suggested. You’re weights will go down and you will probably now be weak off the floor. I would suggest at least giving this a try. Even if it doesn’t end up helping your deadlift, there is no doubt that it will help your overall strength and be beneficial in the long term.

For the record my hips used to start higher than yours. I tried lowering them quite a bit and couldn’t get anything off the ground. After taking a break from deadlifting and working more on my squat, I started to find a starting position closer to yours to be more comfortable. It’s hard to say that anything in particular helped, but if I had to venture a guess I would say that box squats were actually hindering my progress and dropping them helped. Front squats and pause squats to pins have done more for my back strength and flexibility than anything.

[/quote]

Hey Tedro, I liked your reply, but I personally feel that while sitting back more in theory should be sound, he can’t actually do it, due to his arm length. I attched 2 videos that have helped me big time in understanding this.


I find Mark Rippetoe is one of the first coaches to take proportions into consideration, but present it in a way that makes sese.

cheers

[quote]Larry10 wrote:
Hey Tedro, I liked your reply, but I personally feel that while sitting back more in theory should be sound, he can’t actually do it, due to his arm length. I attched 2 videos that have helped me big time in understanding this.
cheers[/quote]

I don’t disagree with you, but I am of the opinion that there are so many other variables to also consider that instead of just chalking it up to arm length and throwing in the towel a little trial & error may be in order.

I’m looking at it from a long term perspective. Personally, I doubt he will be a better deadlifter with lower hips and as you’ve alluded to due to his biomechanics he may end up ‘squatting’ the weight up, but I do think the new movement will help him gain strength in other areas and ultimately be beneficial. I view it more as taking a break from his normal deadlift and using a lower starting position as a variation for a while. And who knows, we could be wrong and he does do better like that. Point is a little variation should be good long term anyways, so I see little downside in giving it a try.

BTW, I’ve been away from T-Nation for a while and was disturbed by some of the poor advice I’ve read in other threads, but your name has stood out as someone consistently giving thoughtful responses. Keep it up.

[quote]tedro wrote:

[quote]Larry10 wrote:
Hey Tedro, I liked your reply, but I personally feel that while sitting back more in theory should be sound, he can’t actually do it, due to his arm length. I attched 2 videos that have helped me big time in understanding this.
cheers[/quote]

I don’t disagree with you, but I am of the opinion that there are so many other variables to also consider that instead of just chalking it up to arm length and throwing in the towel a little trial & error may be in order.

I’m looking at it from a long term perspective. Personally, I doubt he will be a better deadlifter with lower hips and as you’ve alluded to due to his biomechanics he may end up ‘squatting’ the weight up, but I do think the new movement will help him gain strength in other areas and ultimately be beneficial. I view it more as taking a break from his normal deadlift and using a lower starting position as a variation for a while. And who knows, we could be wrong and he does do better like that. Point is a little variation should be good long term anyways, so I see little downside in giving it a try.

BTW, I’ve been away from T-Nation for a while and was disturbed by some of the poor advice I’ve read in other threads, but your name has stood out as someone consistently giving thoughtful responses. Keep it up.[/quote]

Good points man.

And thank you very much, I’ll do my best to keep it up. I took a 3 year break from the forums and really worked on my game, but I sincerely enjoy helping people out.

See you around the forums man.

What’s up, tedro and Larry10. I appreciate the semi-debate-discussion - it was interesting reading!

My high hips setup is likely because my biggest fear is always getting the bar off the ground. Only once have I ever failed to lock a deadlift out; I have failed off the ground numerous times. So yeah, I naturally pull myself into that position.

Incidentally, my hip position for deadlift is the exact angle where I hit my sticking point on squatting.

I have tried lower hips deadlifts a few times this year, but only for warm ups, not max atrempts.

This is currently my final cycle of 5/3/1, due to finish with squat 1RM testing on December 30th.

Next year I will try some new approaches to my training. Firstly I will try Larry10s suggestion of high volume 5x5 for deadlift, but I will keep my other lifts running in the same fashion, though I will not squat heavy 3 x per week. After that I may check out Sheiko - I actually found and downloaded the spreadsheet you were talking about I think!

With the 5x5 deadlifting I am possibly going to try the lower hip position. I figure it cannot HURT my deadlift, and with that template may help me develop some neglected musculature… bearing in mind this is my first year of powerlifting training I have a lot of body adjustments to be made.

I found my area’s Open Mens 93kg records are 242.5kg / 147.5kg / 272.5kg for the respective lifts, so this will give me something to work towards.

Many thanks for the input - will update with future developments.

By the way - Agile 8 has made my life a lot more pleasant after only 4 days…

Jay

really glad to hear about the agile 8, it works miracles.

And you’re a good lifter man, you’ve got this.

Once the bar hits your knees thrust your hips forward. Don’t bring the bar back to your hips… bring your hips to the bar. You’re using all back once the bar hits your knees instead of using your hips.

^ you have a very valid point. My mental cue is “flex the glutes” but it should probably be “thrust the hips”. Will try this next deadlift day and see how it helps. Thanks, and if that is your video - epic pull!

I use that mental cue on every warmup… with 135 I’m really pretty much slamming my hips/upper thighs into the bar. But what you do on your warmups technique wise carries all the way through.

If you do it right you’ll notice the upper portion of the lift is much shorter and happens much quicker.

Also I personally am not a squeeze off the floor kind of guy. You can see from my setup that I do try to get very tight before I pull to take any slack out but then I’m ripping as hard as I can off the floor.

Yes that is me and thanks for the props. The road to 800 has been slow going though.

PS changing that hip cue jumped me from 675 to 725 in a couple months.