T Nation

Form Check for Deadlift

Yes! It’s only unorthodox if you don’t do it!

My comrade Yuri thinks it’s pretty straight forward.

So would you say sumo would be better for me ? I have shorted legs and a long Torso. I squat 550 and bench 330 so I really need to fix this and pick more weight up for my upcoming High school meets.

Can you lock it out with lighter weight?

Quite likely, although you might be weaker at first. In the video it appears that your back is rounded, which is a common cause of lockout issues. When you get stuck at the top it’s mostly because you are struggling to straighten your back. Stronger glutes and more glute involvement would certainly help, but the same issue is likely to continue at higher weights.

I’m sure you have heard that deadlifting with a rounded back is a high risk for back injury, for that reason I would recommend sumo if you can’t figure out how to set up with a flat back. I have similar proportions to you (probably lower bodyweight, but whatever) and I have found that I’m much better off pulling sumo, for me to pull conventional with a flat back it’s either a stiff leg deadlift or my knees get in the way of the bar. I switched to sumo after fucking up my back.

If you are going to continue with conventional then pulling against bands or chains would help with the lockout. Deficit deadlifts would help too because they will make your start position even worse. To build up your glutes, one exercise that I have started doing is RDLs with a band around the waist, you need the band to be anchored to something that won’t move like a power rack. This is kind of like a hip thrust except that you will train your hamstrings at the same time and it will allow you to fully lockout your hips unlike a hip thrust (which is one reason that hip thrust don’t have a great carryover to the deadlift).

Yes this is 485 and I felt good all the way through.

I did this sumo a couple weeks ago…

can you give me some advice on how to set up better for this too ? I know my back rounded pretty bad in this. This same day o tried for 500 and couldn’t lock it out as well in Sumo…

I would say widen your grip slightly it looks like you can’t get your shoulders back and hips through because you’re too damn big for your narrow grip.

First of all, stop attempting maxes. That is not the way to fix your technique. You need to avoid failure, minimize any technical breakdown, and practice a correct movement pattern.

I can’t see your back angle because of the camera angle, but basically if you are setting up with a neutral spine and rounding during the lift then the issue is due to not properly bracing your lats and abs. You are basically pulling conventional with a wide stance, you need to force your knees out (I see them caving in during the lift), pull the slack out of the bar (you are jerking it off the floor, which may work for conventional but it won’t get you far with sumo), and force your hips forward, all while maintaining a neutral spine.

There are plenty of youtube video on how to deadlift, Chris Duffin has a few good ones, look at the supertraining ones with Ed Coan. Juggernaut has started a new series on the deadlift. Go watch some videos and put the information into action. Don’t attempt any maxes, I would recommend doing low rep sets that keep you far from failure. Based on what I see here, maybe 350 for multiple sets of 3. Practice proper technique. Do assistance lifts to build muscle and help you get stronger, like the RDLs I was talking about. Barbell rows without the bar touching the floor for sets of 10-12 are good for building your lower back, they will build endurance in your back muscles and train your lats at the same time. Just don’t let your back round.

Another thing, in the first video I see some bending in your arms as you approach lockout. Stop that if you don’t want to tear a bicep.

Pretty much everything that Chris said.

You’ve got to find a way to create more upper body tension. Pull your shoulders back, chest out when you set up and really get a big breath and push your belly against the belt. Your upper body is caving in as you initiate that 500 pull, and that appears to be the root cause of the missed pull. You seem to have the leg drive though.

Also, stop fidgeting so much, minimize your time at the bar. Grip it, set your back and pull hard. Also, you are rolling the bar around, this is something to be avoided. You should also experiment with getting your toes pointed out a bit further, and adjust your hip position so your legs are more vertical. Not just from the front, but also side view; it appears that your knees and shoulders are too far forward. Get your weight further back, shins more vertical and shoulders in a better pulling position.

It’s interesting that your sumo is near your conventional. I’ve pulled 550+ conventional but lost a lot of weight going sumo, but am focused on sumo as I think it may be better for long term back health since it is inherently a more upright lift, but it’s harder on the hips and quads IMO.

I’m surprised nobody’s mentioned it yet, it’s making me think I’m crazy, but you’ve got soft knee issues in every video you posted in this thread. I can see reasons to red light each one of them for that. You can’t lock and unlock your knees the way you’re doing. Example: that 475 video. it looks like you think it was a good lift judging by your celebration. It’s not. watch your right knee. There’s a point when it looks like you’ve got a good lockout, and then you relax and it goes soft again. watch from like second 7 to second 9. I hope you can see what I’m talking about.

I think part of the problem is the way you lean back with your upper body. You don’t have to do that. In an effort to lock out your back/torso, it looks like you’re causing your knees to bend slightly. All you have to do is stand straight up and down, you don’t need to lean backwards excessively. If this isn’t totally clear, I’m willing to make a video to explain it further.

As a side note, it looks like grip may not be your strongest point either, a common issue with younger lifters. Grip gets better as you get older, generally. I would recommend getting used to setting the bar down after any heavy singles or doubles, rather than dropping it. You have to control it down in a meet, it’s good to practice the way you compete.


In my first year or so I did a lot of that leaning back thing. But as I got stronger I was able to avoid it, especially after it was pointed out by others. I think I was substituting the lean for proper hip drive and a proper, upright posture at lockout.

So, in addition to it being a form issue (hyperextended back) I think its a strength issue as his posterior chain just isn’t developed enough.


I had the intention to mention that, I just got carried away with the other stuff. Thank you for pointing that out.

Was gonna post a reply to your other thread but this is where the action is so…

Baby powder lel

Flip hit the nail on the head: The timing/sequencing of your knees locking out and staying that way is completely fucked and there’s a tendency to unlock them and/or hitch. We wanna see the knees lock as the bar passes them and finishing with the hips. Have a watch of some decent conventional deadlifters and you’ll see (plenty have earthquake knees and are sometimes lazy with the knee lockout tho lel)

I think mayb lockout knees fully + earlier, lockout with hips not back, pull with a flatter back.

This vid is for lifters who miss at the knees but similar principles apply because you bring the bar out and around your knees, making the lift much harder and predisposing you to hitching and the bar slowing down a lot near lock out.

I totally see what you are saying about when I try to throw my torso and chest back my knees bend back again…

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Awesome video ! Thanks !

I’d start with the bar closer to your shins. By the time the bar gets to your knees you look in a bad position.

One other thing should be mentioned about your sumo deadlift.

You’re performing the sumo deadlift as if it were just a wide stance conventional deadlift. I’m not particularly good at sumo, but I know what it’s supposed to look like. Sumo is done to take advantage of different points of leverage than a conventional. It’s not just ‘get your feet outside of your hands and do a deadlift’. It should be very uncomfortable at the set up. Your torso should be more vertical. Your hips need to be more open. Watch some videos on it to really learn it. The best sumo deadlifter who comes to mind who also produces great instructional videos is Chris Duffin. Watch and read anything by him. You can also search Kabuki Warrior to find his content. All of this is assuming you want to actually deadlift sumo, lol. I do think it’s worth a shot, just to see how it suits you.

re: sumo:
Your sumo deadlift is only slightly behind your conventional pull and your technique is complete shit, no offense intended. I take this as I sign that you would be much better off pulling sumo. Just learn how to setup properly and work with moderate weights - not ridiculously light, but something that doesn’t make your form break down. Also, if you want to switch to hook grip then now would be the best time to start.

I don’t think you even need to switch styles. Just do some work with a wider stance to figure out how to really use your hips.

I think you could get away with some Sumo pulls from blocks, to learn the more vertical position and how to get your hips closer to the bar.

Then bring that back to your conventional.