T Nation

Form Check Deadlift



Id try that but i feel like my shins would go too forward and fuck up my bar path. Ill play with it and see tho.


If you can BB row correctly, I think it could help you a lot. I don’t think you’re bracing with your lats properly, but it does look like you’re pulling the bar into you with your lats.

What makes BB rows special is that the lats are performing two functions. It’s like the ghr of the lats.

The lats are both helping you brace and stabilize your spine and they’re also pulling your humerus to mid-line.

Personally, I find the bracing function of the lats so important in any spinal loaded lift that I include them as part of the ‘core’. It’s one of the reasons I like ab rollouts. That exercise helps teach me to use my lats and anterior midsection as a synchronized unit.

This is where the cue of imagining that there’s grapefruits underneath your armparts and you’re trying to hold them in place and squeeze them comes from.


Something like that, except ideally you would use a safety squat bar. Otherwise a regular barbell in high bar position. Also I would do it with a neutral lower back. Search “elitefts upper back good morning” and you will see what I’m talking about.


That sounds kind of weird, and I’m pretty sure you deadlift more than me too. Do you just have balance issues in general? I did barbell rows for sets of 8 with 370 last week and balance has never been an issue. I prefer them over DB rows because it feels like you’re doing twice as much work with DBs since you have to do it on both sides.


Well, it’s possible I’m wrong. I can’t remember the last time I actually tried to do heavy barbell rows. The only times I’ve done them at all in the past few years, I’ve done them strict, with pauses at the bottom. It’s possible that I’m stronger on them that I think, I’m kind of just going by memory.

I probably do have something of a balance issue though, given how bad I am at carries, lol.

As far as DB rows go, I feel you on the ‘doing twice as much work’ thing. When I get to the second arm, conditioning can hit me towards the end of the set. I just don’t see that as a bad thing. And I also like having something in my program that gives me a chance to do some unilateral work for the back.


My lats are kind of one of my best bodyparts and quite developed relatively so maybe its the middle traps and scapula that is weai in the deadlift? I guess barbell rows would be better than dumbbell since they train middle traps and scapula better while dumbbells hit the lats better. Im also much stronger in dumbbells probably for that reason.


yea, but you’re also super skinny, and the rest of you is lagging in general. You’ve essentially developed all your ‘deadlift muscles’ beyond the rest of your body. So just because lats are strong relative to other body parts doesn’t mean they’re not holding you back as far as the deadlift is concerned.

why do you think this is true? I don’t see it this way.

Both dumbbell and barbell rows should generally be done with the same torso angle relative to the floor. Because you’re bracing yourself with one arm/hand with the db row, you CAN go more horizontal, but you don’t have to. Regardless, I think the fundamental difference between how the db row trains your back vs the barbell is potential range of motion, because you can twist your body as your raise the db. If you don’t incorporate the twist, it’s essentially the same motion as a barbell, just a unilateral form of it.

If anything, db movements in general will be able to hit more muscles than their barbell counterpart. More stabilizers come into play when moving weights with 1 arm, more core activation. It stands to reason that if either the db or barbell row were to be better for your middle back, it would be the dumbbell, not the barbell.

Perhaps you’re performing your barbells fairly upright though. That might be the difference, but you could do the same with a db if you wanted to in order to hit the same muscles.


Probably the fact that you don’t do them regularly is the main factor. But hey, nobody is training for a BB row competition so whatever.

I don’t really see it as conditioning being an issue for DB rows in my case, it’s more like I just want to get it over with at that point and now I have to do double then number of sets which takes double the amount of time. I still push assistance work but my mind isn’t in it the same way as for the main lifts.


It seems like rows in general aren’t the best exercise for the lats, chin ups and lat pulldowns hit them better. Rows do involve them of course, but at least as much rhomboids, traps, etc. The thing with barbell rows is that they involve your lower back a lot more than other types of rows, especially if you do them without touching the floor. In one of Stuart McGill’s books he has EMG data showing that barbell row actually involve more lower back muscles than lats. That’s actually why I like them, they are a good way to strengthen the lower back. My lower back used to be a weak point and it no longer seems to be.

Again something I read from McGill, he said that DB rows are a good anti-rotation movement and involve a lot of obliques and quadratus lumborum. As far as powerlifting goes, anti-rotation work isn’t really necessary since we are only moving up and down with the weights but for strongman and other sports there would be a lot more benefit.

The number one reason not to do barbell rows is if your lower back is already getting beat up from squatting and deadlifting, your back can only take so much.


Even if a muscle group is strong, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re recruiting that muscle as well as you could.

For example, if someone got really good and strong at chin ups and lat pull downs and got great lat development from those, that doesn’t necessarily mean that same person will be able to properly recruit the lats for deadlifts.

Muscle is only one component out of many that contributes to strength in a given movement.


These are 2 of my 3 back off triples after a heavy 405lbs triple. Got a bad angle on the top set and couldnt see shit. Anyways is the back position ok? I think its pretty good now.


I think it looks OK, the video isn’t great because of the lights messing it up but if I saw this and no previous videos with back rounding I wouldn’t be concerned. How does your back feel though? You said before that pulling with a flat back caused you some pain before, is that still the case?

How do your flat backed numbers compare to your old PR?


My back doesnt feel all that great tbh,i have some lower back pain but it could just be erectors getting sore and stuff,and so far no tweaks yet so thats a good sign,at least till now. Ive done 405 for 8 with a rounded back and yesterday i did 405 for 3 at rpe 8-9 with a straight back,but it was beltless tho. I feel like my body is still adapting to this style so ill wait till this mesocycle is over to see if its as strong or stronger than my rounded back dls.


Is the pain/discomfort in the muscles itself or just general low back pain?

It will take time to get used to a different technique for sure. All I can say is that if at some point you decide to go back to round back DLs you should keep the volume low, even if you feel recovered between workouts it’s still highly likely that you would be doing damage to your discs that you can’t feel but will accumulate over time and lead to herniation. Muscles recover a lot faster than connective tissues and stuff like cartilage and intervertebral discs. The time I fucked my back up real bad was pulling 420 after some singles around 500, there was no form breakdown but I used to pull with a slight rounding in my back that didn’t cause me any discomfort until then. I was pulling heavy twice a week and doing a lot of back off sets on top of that.


Kinda both,but it goes away pretty fast so i guess its not that bad.

Thats some good advice,ill be sure to take that into consideration if that scenario evet happens.


How fast? Hours? Days?


This is my semi sumo form that i use as a 2nd day deadlift as assistance for my conv deadlift. I always had trouble bracing the core in sumo so today i tried to brace from the top(which is easy for me) and maintain that when i went down to grab the bar. This resulted in a rounded upper back,but as you can see my lower back is neutral,and i was able to brace my abs. Thoughts? Sets shown 378lbsx2 and one of my back off sets 340lbsx2.


Probably your upper back is rounded because your head is tilted down. Try looking up, not hyperextending but have your neck extended beyond neutral. Some people can pull with their heads down but most of the time it’s not good, Boris Sheiko actually considers not extending your neck on DLs to be a technical error.

How much are you pulling conventional these days?


440 for 2 beltless at a slight deficit around rpe8,


This is with a straight back? What was your old round back PR?