T Nation

Deadlifting Technique

Some of you may remember my post on sumo vs conventional. Well i m back doing conventional and have a few questions about form. In Rippetoe’s Starting Strength the focus seems to be on deadlifting with an arch in the lower back. There is a contradiction on page 117 where he says ‘Lumbar hyperextension’ is undesirable. I’m confused as to me there is extension or rounding of the lower back there’s no in between.

Most videos of top deadlifters they don’t seem to be extending the lower back at all. Any help or advice please.

p.s. I do realize there is a difference between athletic deadlifting and powerlifting deadlifting. i just want the biggest back possible and will do whichever style works.

If possible don’t round the lower back, some rounding of the upper back is acceptable.

What Rippetoe meant was that in some extremely flexible trainees you can get lumbar hyperextension which can be just as bad as lumbar flexion. The spinal erectors and surrounding musculature should be able to maintain a flat back. I think arching the back is emphasized so much because few people have the flexibility necessary to lumbar hyperextend at the bottom of a deadlift. They try to arch, and might even feel like they have an arch but end up with a flat back.

I think a nuetral lower back is optimal. Rounding of the thoracic spine ok and probably inevitable for most lifters on really heavy lifts

So i just got back from the gym. Tried the powerlifting style of letting the upper back round while keeping the lower back straight as opposed to the athletic style which i’ve always done.
It felt great, got up to my previous working weight of 220x5 which i hurt my lower back using the athletic style. This time it felt easy.

Just thought i’d share my experience. Thanks for everyone advice.

i believe in training, one should always try to keep a neutral low back (or arched, which refers to the natural lordotic curve of the lumbar spine) because this makes your trunk muscles work hardest and that’s what you want in training. for the same reason, i also try to keep my shoulders back, which might not be a natural kyphotic thoracic posture actually, but again it gives me a better training effect. though for me, the upper back is what starts to round first when it gets heavy, and sometimes i’ll go with slight rounding there on my heaviest sets. but i definitely don’t let anything round intentionally.

What is it with people calling the form they see in SOME lifters “powerlifting” style.

Like it’s happening all the time with the APF/WPO squats (ie wide stance to //) being referred to as “powerlifting” squats.

And now it’s happening with Konstantinovs style of deadlifting being called a “powerlifting” deadlift.

I’m a huge fan of the sport and follow all of the feds, watching ALOT of powerlifting videos, and let me assure you, the form referred to as “powerlifting” style doesn’t apply across the whole sport.

The fact is that your spine will round on heavy weights. If you are a short-limbed lifter and/or pull sumo, there will be a less rounding- but there will still be some. It’s just a function of having a tight belly full of air and relaxed arms and shoulders. The weight seeks to shorten your stroke by shortening your body.

Thanks for the input guys i will correct my terminology about letting my back round. I should have said i let my upper back relax whilst keeping my low back tight.

And to Hanley sorry for offending you but i’m a beginner and being from a small town in Australia i’ve never seen anyone ‘powerlift’. Not in a gym or a competition. I’ve seen lots of football players ‘deadlift’ acording to their respective PT’s and they definitely seem to do it with an extreme arch and shoulders back which i see as deadlifting for ‘athletic’ purposes, whilst my exposure to ‘powerlifting’ has been via this site and youtube where i’ve seen Magnusson, Bolton, Alouha, Kazmaier etc. all seem to DL with a rounded back or upper back.

And numerous times in Starting Strength, Rippetoe refers to squats with wide stance and the sole intention of lifting the heaviest weight possible as ‘powerlifting squats’.

So there you go blame youtube and Mark Rippetoe lol