T Nation

Help With Deadlift & Bloody Shins


Hey all,

Just a quick deadlifting question.

I've recently started incorporating deadlifts into my routine and I'm having a problem with my shins getting bloody in the gym. I don't mind but I think there are some people in my gym that do.

Because I'm on full body workouts the scabs don't really heal over very well.

Aside from pants, any tips?


I usually wear knee high UnderArmour socks on deadlifting days.

That has been enough to stop my shins from bleeding and the bars at my gym are known for being pretty rough.


Hell yeah they mind, who the hell wants to use a bar with someones blood on it??


Man, I see everyone messes up their shins on deadlifts but the way my arms hang, I invariably end up nearly castrating myself. I've seriously considered wearing a cup to protect myself from those few hundred pounds smacking into me.


Good call on the high socks whoever mentioned it.

Anymore I do my deadlift days in my basement, bloody shins and all. I can't handle lifting at either the commercial gym or my college rec center because of all the popped collar fags using the floor and squat racks to curl, and all the "trainers" saying the noise bothers their clients.


I used to tear the shit out of my shins when I first started deadlifting, and I dont know what it is now, but I dont really get that anymore, I think the pull should be in a backwards arc, but I see alot of people and I think I used to actually grind it against my shins the whole way, it does hurt, but it also does make it easier, so I think alot of people would do it that way seemingly because it is the "hard" way and makes you bloody and therefore it must be correct...

and I think it can be for some people, but depending on your body type and your levers, I dont think everyone would necessarily have to rip their shins up to do the exercise properly.


i drag a little on my shins, but i've never bled....

i also now wear pants everytime i do deads though, i got tired of huge reddish scrapes on my legs.


Sweatpants work wonders for me.


Use a trap bar for deadlifts. Problem solved.


when I started doind deads I would bang up my shins and my knees (more so my knees for whatever reason) every darn time. Ths isn't the case really anymore.

For me I think the difference came about in my form.

When I was first starting I was so focused on head up, chest out etc that I wasn't paying attention to my ass-end. My butt would be down between my legs (I dead, sumo style) as if I was squating. Once I realized this and pulled my butt high as well, (my back looks alot closer to being parallel to the floor now as opposed to looking like I am doing a front squat) the drag has all but dissapeared.

In looking at it like this, I learned for me, sitting between my legs and beginning my pull had me really pulling up and back at the same time, as if I was pulling up thru my legs.

With butt high and chest out, head high, the drive thru tends to bring my bar much more vertically off the floor.

I hope that was clear and helped some. This little change in form also helped my numbers.


Same here, knee high socks. Shins still usually bleed a little bit, but not nearly as bad.


Dragging the bar creates better body mechanics, guys on our powerlifting team that don't/forget to drag end up missing lifts.

We wear knee high socks, it's required to lift in the USAPL and we practice in them.

Baby powder works wonders too.

Don't get that shit on your hands though.


Honestly? Drop the weight a little and keep it a few centimeters from your body. If it's rubbing against your body (especially on the negative), your skin and the friction is keeping some of the stress off your muscles. I F-up every now and then but try not to let the bar touch me at all (except when it touches my thighs at the full standing position).


I disagree, who's muscles are working harder?

Mine dragging 400 up or yours pulling 300 away from your body?


Play around with your grip and stance. Since your body proportions are undoubtedly different than mine, my technique will not necessarily work for you.

I try to keep neutral spine, i.e. im not looking straight ahead, nor down; my neck is in perfect alignment with my back.

I pull supinated with my hands fairly normally spaced apart (width of torso)

The bar starts directly over my toes. Any closer than that and I will pull along my shins, any farther and my form goes to crap. Also, breaking your lift down into pulling phases really helps in the beginning.

phase 1) weight is on the floor; push through the heels with your legs, hips and shoulders rise together. Bar raises past knees at which point you switch to phase 2.

Phase 2) bar is coming past your knees. Throw your hips forward explosively, pulling your shoulder blades together and down.

The real problem comes about when people try to put the weight down I think. im most likely to scrape on the way down than on the way up. This can be avoided by conciously bending at the hips before bending the knees. This allows the bar to swing away from your legs enough to provide clearance.


Hairy legs work for me. I also think the years of tree-planting have also built up the skin in that area.



Thanks everyone for their tips . . . I think socks will be the first attempted solution.

With regards to form, I try to keep a back straight/netural (not arched) and focus on keeping my ass tucked in and driving my legs through the floor. This works best for me.

I tend to shred my shins on the last couple reps when my grip starts to fail. I don't want to use straps as my grip is already pretty weak and would like to work on improving it with my core lifts.

Thanks again for the tips . . . especially the one which reminded that me people don't like other people's blood on gym equipment . . .


I was having the same problem until I took a look at one of Dave Tate's DVDs.

The DVD reminded me to keep my shoulders not directly above the bar, but a little behind so that I pull up and back.

This required that I move the bar an inch or two in front of my shins.

It made the lift much easier and no more bloody shins.


not everyone has one and they add quite a bit to what you can lift

I have never scrapped my shins when i do DLs,you pulling the bar fast enough?got the right arc?


2 options not mentioned so far are

1 Cut out some plastic from a two liter bottle and place it between your shin and a high sock

2 Wear soccer shin guards