T Nation

Deadlifting for Tall Guys


ok so I have just started doing deadlifts for the first time ever over the past 2 weeks ( I have been an ill-informed weightlifter but am getting better). My question: ON a regular bar deadlift, how much should I be bending my knees, and is it a necessity to keep a completely straight back? Its hard to bend down far enough to reach the weights without crouching and bending my knees that much, any tips?


I don't want to sound like a pussy but since doing them on wed. i have really felt it in my lower back, and I just want to make sure I am doing them fully correctly so I don't wind up with back problems.


Your lower leg should be prependicular to the floor ideally. You may need to develop hamstring strengh or flexibility. Start doing pull-throughs and read the deadlifting article by Dave Tate. I tried to search for it for you but couldn't find it. Look for it on elitefts.


I'm kinda tall too, and love deadlifting. It should be easier for a tall guy than something like squats, since the leverage is in your favor.

Your back should be arched, not rounded over. Keeping your head up should help with that. It's kind of a two-part movement -- your knees should be bent to reach the bar down on the floor, first part is straightening your legs to stand up while you'er still bent at t he waist, then pulling from the hips to a fully upright position. Lower it by first bending at the waist (keeping your back arched and chin up), then as your hams start to stretch, you bend at the knees to lower the bar all the way.

Does that make sense?


You need to make sure that your flexible enough to maintain proper form. im tall as well and my hamstrings are always tight. i need to stretch often and maintain the flexibility to squat and deadlift with good form


Ironhorse is right, flexibility is very important.

If your calves are tight, you will have difficulty keeping your heels on the floor and pushing through the heels properly.

If your hamstrings and glutes are tight, you will have problems 'sitting back' during squats and deadlifts. Also, the more flexible your hamstrings are, the better you will be able to maintain a good arch in your lower back during these exercises.

As a part of my warmup I include walking lunges with just my bodyweight, and leg raises to the front and rear (while leaning forwards), and marching with high knes. good luck.

 The guys who have answered your post all have good advice. I'll add only a couple of pointers.

 First, with your back arched, ELBOWS LOCKED ABSOLUTELY STRAIGHT, and the bar very close to your shins, you may be bent over farther than you expected. That's OK, as long as you resist the temptation to let your arched back get "rounded." 
 Next, everyone is tempted to give the bar a "jerk" off the floor, which involves slightly bending and then quickly straightening your elbows. Don't. You'll probably get away with doing that, with one wheel on the bar, reinforcing a bad habit. When you are lifting closer to your current limit, that technique will cause you to round your back suddenly. The bar will drift forward in a "semi-stiff-leg" deadlift form, making the lift MUCH harder. If you don't rupture a disc while that's going on, you're having a pretty good day. To avoid the temptation, concentrate on starting the lift by pushing the world away with your feet, rather than by pulling the bar off the floor.
 The articles, pictures and videos of Louie Simmons, Dave Tate, and the Westside Barbell Club guys doing deadlifts may deal exclusively with "sumo-style" deadlifting (very wide stance, grip much closer than the shins). If you have RELATIVELY short torso and long legs for your height--or if you find it impossible to do your best below-parallel squats with a very wide stance--"conventional" deadlift style (roughly shoulder-width stance, grip just outside the shins) is for you. Many world record deadlifts have been done in conventional style, but it somewhat alters your training. (You can't get anywhere near your potential best conventional deadlift, by doing great squat training and a few light "speed deadlifts," as the Westside guys do.) 
 Given enough bananas for incentive, most competition  powerlifters could teach an ape to deadlift, "in person." It's harder to do it right, through cyberspace. If you run into a powerlifter in the gym, ask him or her to critique your form. Good luck!


so some bending of the back is ok, just as long as I don't round it?


I see some advanced powerlifters using a slight rounding of the back, but I don't think a beginner should be taught that way.

However, since I do the Olympic lifts, I always keep a nice arch of the back and teach others the same way too.


It's a fine line to walk. Yes, some bending is okay to a point - Eric Cressey has addressed this point a number of times on the forums. There appears to be a breaking point, so to speak, where the forces on your spine suddenly become horrendously unacceptable.

As a beginner, though, practice holding the arch tight and bracing your abs hard. Once you master the basics you can move on to manipulating the nuances of the lift.



I've never seen anyone treat the deadlift as a two-part movement, and I don't recommend it.



Follow that link and watch the form its perfect! should help you out alot