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Frustrating Conventional Deadlift Issues


I am relatively new to the competitive realm of powerlifting but am really interested in competing someday. I have always enjoyed training for performance in the Squat, Deadlift, Overhead Press and Bench Press. I feel very confident with my lifting of my other lifts. (technique, programming and progression), the only problem is that my deadlift has continuously been nagging me. I am a conventional puller (I have tried sumo for a few macrocycles and simply like the feel and power of conventional more) I understand the mechanics of the conventional deadlift, I have a kinesiolgy degree and am currently in school for physical therapy so I’ve tried to break down my body mechanics best I can but I am not able to see glaring issues. #1 If doing higher volume of deadlifts, my back develops a large muscle pump. #2 The bar rubbing the crap out of the skin right on top of my patellar tendon area to the point of bleeding. Any input from anyone would be greatly appreciated, don’t worry about if it sounds silly or too complicated! #3 For being able to squat in the mid 300’s I just cant figure out why my deadlift doesn’t simply just feel stronger than it does! Attached are two videos both showcasing a 315 deadlift from the front and the side which is about 85% of my 1 RM. Again anything will be helpful! Thank you!


the part where he talks about putting his knees to the sides


For your concerns

  1. welcome to lifting
  2. this is the true sign of a conventional puller and frankly a badge of honor. It means you’re keeping the bar close. Get higher socks if you want, but at a meet you wont be able to have them over your knees.
  3. because conventional sucks and always sucks… just joking, kind of. Mostly because it’s going to be a technique issue which leads me to:

What Rakshy said. You’ve got no external rotation this is going to put higher stress on your lower back/hips and make that pump even worse because it’s not a true pump it’s inflammation from improper movement patterns.

You’re pulling technique is off a good bit, your hips are shooting up first, your lower back arch is collapsing-- all of which can be fixed with driving the knees out.

Practice the technique a lot at lower weight around 50-70% and really drive it in. Then eventually your deadlift will start to shoot up.

Good luck, I hate conventional :slight_smile:


I’ll be re watching the video thank you for that! Just to be clear, you’re suppose to externally rotate your leg while your feet are straight ahead the entire time? And this combined with pushing the hips straight back with a neutral spine is what you guys think will solve what I’m talking about? What do you personally do/feel before you pull @rakshy


Thank you @corstijeir!! The entire time of the pull you are trying to force the knees out while your feet are planted through hip external rotation?


@Dazzo7991 a simple method to try and adjust this would be this.

Stand in place, jump up in the air, when you land, look down at your feet. That’s your deadlift stance. Now with the bar slightly in front of your shins, drive your hips back, bend over at the waist, grab the bar, arch your lower back up, pull the chest up, feel the hamstrings load, rotate your knees outward and drive through your heels while continuing to rotate out the whole time. Once the bar is past your knees fire those glutes and lock out strong.

Now if you load the bar to about 50% with this setup your should be able to float the weight slightly off the ground while you are tight before you’ve even drive the weight up. This is called pulling the slack out of the bar. If you notice on the front angle video the bar jerks when you pull it, this is because you’re not tight enough and already pulling on the bar just by using leverages.


i kinda follow Chris Duffin’s cues: ribs down, core tight, grab the bar, lock lats, sit back and pop it, the other way I set up (if I cant feel my hamstrings and glutes working) do the same but instead of sitting back a bit and loading up my quads more, i go like this: https://www.instagram.com/p/BHAFQ9Rh8oU/?taken-by=boroadov

those “pumps” make me use my posterior chain more, and by having my toes pointed slightly outward, i am able to activate my glutes more


I will try those suggestions for sure! Thank you for the suggestions and help. I’ll re post once I’ve been able to try the cues out.


Not for nothing btw but try different shoes. Something with a flat sole, like chucks, reebok powerlifter shoes or being barefoot.

Running shoes are generally terrible because the heel generally collapses and doesn’t give you a solid base to drive off of.


Yeah about that lol I normally always deadlift in socks and two sets before what you guys saw the gym attendant came over and told me I wasn’t allowed to have my shoes off -_- so I had to suck it up for the time being.


you guys in the US really have some pussified gym owners, that’s a shame


Amen to that. Especially in commercial/chain gyms. Most you can’t use chalk either. I have my own cage, bench, bar, mats and plates but have to go to a public gym for now bc I can’t afford a storage unit.


This is why I’m so glad my gym IS the premier powerlifting/strongman gym in the area. A few other places cater but we were designed for it.

Also all EliteFTS equipment, mono’s, deadlift bars, squat bars, specialty bars, logs, stones, kegs, farmers, chalk, chains, bands, metal, subwoofers, blood, we’ve got it all


You’re pulling the bar over your knees. From the side the bar path curves away then back in. Weak hamstrings and low back.