Fix My Deadlift (Video)

Hi guys, my lower back tends to round when deadlifting, even on lighter loads. I try to keep it straight and thought I’d nailed it today but obviously not! I’ve tried loads of cues but can’t nail it, any help would be really appreciated.
Dead lift form check: - YouTube

You look very noodle-like out of the bottom. Instead of leading with your chest, which is exactly what happened, assume more of a neutral spine angle. Also the manner in which you approach the bar, as well as the position at the bottom looks flimsy. Retract the scapulae, lock the lats in, look down, brace hard and tighten the abdominals. You’re also over-pulling to some degree.

Once the angle at the hip reaches full extension, the lift is over, and any further translation/horizontal bar movement is not work against gravity and will not benefit you whatsoever. As for the position of the head, activating the cervical extensors via lifting the head does create tension along the upper back, but for the sake of establishing a neutral spine angle(the most efficient way for the vertebral column to bear a load) it is imperative that your cervical spine remain aligned with the neutral angles set from the lumbar and thoracic components of the vertebral column.

Other than that, practice, practice, practice. Introduce paused deadlifts, or even deficit pulling to strengthen your position out of the hole as well as through the rest of the range.


From watching that, a couple of things jumped out to me.

Some of my thoughts on some areas that might be hurting you:

Some lower back/gleut tightness?
Lack of abdominal strength?
To much weight, drop some plates, nail your technique and build back up, in turn blowing past this weight.

Hope this helps.

The video is just over 1 minute long and almost half is you fiddling around. Your phone comes with video editing, please use it.

You just need to work hard on mobility. Especially before training as it can give you an extra bit of range temporarily. I think your upper body issues will sort themselves once your lower body can get into a good position.

Also, the weight is pulling you forward when you start, stay tight. Do Ab/lower back work.

I’ve found a great drill to do prior to deadlifts (and squats for that matter) is to stand, reach over and grab your toes, then ‘pull’ yourself down into the bottom position of a deadlift. Do this next to a mirror, focus on pulling your scapulae back and down (i.e. setting them) and looking forward early. Looking into the mirror (sideways) you should see your back in neutral, shoulders back and down, head looking forward and arms straight. You might need to do 5-10 of these to get it right, but this is a good part of your warm-up. When you let go you should be balanced, shoulders stay back and down, head looking forward. Use the glutes to drive the hips into extension.

As for accessory training to bring your form into check, I would suggest band pull through to teach you to lift with your glutes. Try American Deadlift to lengthen your hammies and teach you glute activation. Band pull aparts and cobras to train your shoulder position.

I love DeFranco’s Limber 11 before lifting. Might be worth looking into that.
Also, have you considered Sumo deadlifting? Might be a better fit for you.

Lastly, as already mentioned, paused deadlifts have helped me nail my form. They sort of force you to stay tight and in a good position.

Good luck!

Hi guys, is this looking any better? Tried to keep a neutral spine. I think my last rep is the best. Thanks for all the advice so far I really appreciate it, any further tips would be appreciated

Apologies about the missing about at the start, couldn’t crop the video

Or this?
Deadlift form check 3: - YouTube

Well, starts looking better, especially towards the end! Noodlelikeness is disappearing :smiley:
My money is on mobility work, looks to me like you’re too tight (Hips? Glutes? Hamstrings?) to comfortably get down into a good starting position (which is what you really want in any case).

So again: Limber 11 is awesome and doing it consistently every day improved my lower body mobility and well-being a lot. And again: have you given Sumo a try?

I think Severin is right that it is a mobility issue. I also think your initial setup is off on the third video but improves because the bend in your knee changes during the set. I’m always pimping Mark Rippetoe videos on form since they helped me so much and I have a bad back. Here is one where he mentions the knee bend near the end:

Thanks for the advice guys really appreciate it. I’ll definitely try limber 11. Not tried sumo before will also try that.
I try to use Mark Rippetoes setup but find that it still leaves my lower back rounded, so I’ve found if I stand a little further from the bar it gives me more room to bend my knees more to try and keep my lower back straight. Obviously the downside is then that the bar is a little too far forwards and my hips shoot up a little. Very frustrating!

Here’s a set from today - you can see my back is perfectly straight but when I bend forward to grab the bar it rounds, hence me having to bend my knees more to be able to reach the bar.
Deadlift form check 4: - YouTube

Ha - I have the same problem, I actually keep my hips higher instead of dropping down further and the bar never touches me outside of lockout at the top. Ever watch the Deadlift Session: Bodybuilder vs Strongman vs Powerlifter on youtube? I do it like the bodybuilder when he does the reps mid-way through, or like the strongman on one of his lifts - hips pretty high. That really works well for me, and after I got the hip hinge strengthened and did my mobility work, I’ve been golden.

Alright so after taking a look at the rest of the videos you have posted, it is

  1. your setup
  2. mobility

Mobility is the most important, as that is more of a long term characteristic that needs to be addressed. The bar is moving in the pattern of a “J”, indicating that you are initiating the pull with the bar far ahead from the leg/knees. Although you may exhibit the necessary thoracic mobility, mobility in the hamstrings and the lower back is key out of the hole. This is so that off the floor, the effort from the hamstrings and the adductors is maximized, and the effort from the trunk muscles is controlled to the extent they are not exclusively finishing the lift for you. Lifting with your lower back is a big red flag, and that trait is very common in those that don’t receive proper instruction.

Build the hamstrings via accessory work, and introduce back-off sets at 75%-90% of your training max to build your position out of the hole. I’m also noticing again that you are not packing the lats. This will dramatically affect your tightness out of the hole. The thoracic spine needs to be tight. Packing the lats and retracting the scapulae will fix this. Rippetoe’s cue of “squeezing the chest up” accomplishes this.