T Nation

High Hips Deadlifting


G’day lads,

I’ve got a quick question re. deadlift form.

My back is always rounded when I deadlift, even before I pull on the bar. My hips are always high up from thh get-go, making my conventional look almost like a stiff legged. I’ve tried lowering my hips during setup, but any weight just feels significantly heavier when I do so.

  1. Is there something I can do to maintain my hip positioning (since it feels advantageous) and correct my back positioning? I need to round my back to reach the bar, so it may be a mobility issue.

  2. Which of my muscle groups are weaker given my inclination to lift with high hips (quads possibly)?

  3. My squat is rubbish and I’ve been focusing on it recently, is this the answer to my above two questions?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated!



I got the same problem than you and been working on it. Long legs short torso I guess.
I’ve always thought the problem could be poor hamstrings mobility.

Concerning rounding the back : engage your lats by pulling the slack out of the bar.
If you use light weights, the bar should be leaving the ground even before pulling.

Get your weight a little behind the bar so that you’ll lower your butt and use more leg drive.

A good tip will be simply placing plates on the ground under the bar in order to make it higher and so easier to grab for you. Don’t FORCE yourself to go low hips.
My gym only has 15kgs plates so the bar is to far for me.

here’s my high hip almost stiff legged 440lbs pull


Your deadlift looks literally exactly like mine mate.

Cheers for the advice, I’ll concentrate on tightening my lats next time I pull. I’ve always pulled more with a grip and rip approach so I haven’t thought about lat activation (hopefully it’s been happening subconsciously), so maybe explicitly cuing myself to do so will help.

I have a feeling a combination of hammy and hip immobility make it hard for me to reach the bar from my ideal starting position (higher hips).

This video addresses it:


I might try focusing on upper back tightness as you’ve recommended and hip and hamstring mobility.

Whats your squat like relative to your deadlift? Hopefully you don’t have the same ridiculous ratios that I have. I’m concentrating all my efforts on squats at the moment and won’t know if it’ll help my deadlift until it improves by a whole lot unfortunately.


Have you tried sumo?

Sounds like weak quads to me! Try out some close-stance squats or SSB squats for assistance work if you want to stick with conventional.

Don’t be so quick to think its a mobility issue. Unless you are injured, over 40, or drastically out of shape, you shouldn’t really be seriously limited by mobility IMO. I think those issues tend to go severely overdiagnosed.


Check another video of Alan Thrall about deadlift and body types.
Our deadlift form may not be a problem as long as we keep our backs flat.

Simply lighten the weight, use plates under the bar and film yourself to see if you’re good or not.

Back rounding was a problem I wasn’t realizing until I filmed myself.
Now I’m filming every deadlift training to see if I’m right.

I squat 175kgs and deadlift 200 conventionnal, pulled 210 once with relatively bad sumo technique lol

Concerning squats, as said above, safety bar, front squats are good weapons, I think paused squats helped me too.

Form Check Deadlifts


There’s so many things that could be going on. That makes it really hard to say what to do.

Your high hip position could be from weak quads. It could also be glutes and hams. You might just need some adjustments to your form.

Here’s a quick form overview for deadlift:

  1. Bar over midfoot (unless you have very big quads)

  2. Armpits over the bar (this will put the spine of your scapulae over the bar)

  3. Shins touching the bar to shins perpendicular to the floor. This is highly individualistic and depends on levers and muscle group strengths. I personally choose a middle road here.

  4. Get your midsection ultra tight. Suck in air and press against your belt from all sides, pull your sternum straight down into your pelvis, squeeze your glutes, tuck your chin down and back, extend your mid back as hard as you can while still having your sternum point straight to your pelvis not outside your pelvis.

  5. Set your lats. This kind of goes into 4 above but I think it’s work separate mention. pull your lats down into your back pocket. Don’t try to retract your scapulae. You let your shoulder drop down, but don’t let them drop forward. This is the step that will help keep the bar in line with midfoot the whole time. It will help minimize the work the low back does and improve the power transfer of your hips and legs into the bar.

  6. Push your feet through the ground while pushing your hips forward while keeping everything ultra tight. You can also try screwing your feet into your ground instead of just pushing if you have problems with your knees getting in the way of the bar. You could also start with pushing your feet through the ground and start screwing them through the ground at your sticking point.

  7. As the bar approaches your knees, violently push your hips forward.

  8. Be careful not to hyperextend your back or hips at the top. I find a solid ab contraction helps prevent this for me. That same contraction that pulls the sternum straight into the pelvis.


Tried sumo for a few sessions but hurt my hips early on and haven’t tried it again. Admittedly played with too much weight without the necessary mobility for sumo.

I 'll definitely give close-stance squats or SSBs a go. I try get my feet as close as possible (to mimic my deadlfit stance) but I have a busted ankle which makes forward knee travel difficult. Any tips on increasing ankle mobility?


Thanks for all the input lads, I’ve taken it all down and will try to implement changes incrementally.

I should have included this in my opening post:



On second though mtlk77, my back is horrendous compared to yours.


Thanks Fletch, I think I’m going to print out your post and give it a read before pulling. I think 4. and 5. are where I am critically lacking. Correct me if I’m wrong!


I’m not going to lie or cherry coat this for you. That deadlift is really rough. Was that a max or a heavy single? It really looks like you need to work on all the steps to me.

Take your time setting up. At least for now. That quick grip and rip is for people who have already built good form and can DL in their sleep. And even then, a lot of big pullers don’t do it that way.

The different methods of creating a stretch reflex in the hams are a more advanced move and unnecessary for basic form. Konstantin Konstantinov has a 939 raw beltless pull to his credit pulling this way.

Having mentioned him, keep in mind that it’s just his upper back that’s rounding, not so much his middle back. Your entire back is rounded. It’s what I call a fishing rod deadlift.

Here’s what I would do. Especially if you even do this with lighter easier sets. I would just re-learn how to deadlift. Start with half that weight and just try to nail perfect form 2x a week. Keep taking videos to evaluate your form Once your form is proficient with that weight bump it up 10lb next session. Don’t push the reps or sets, just focus on clean crisp reps. Doesn’t have to be like speed work, but you don’t want to be grinding any reps. Not just yet anyway.

Maybe even drop deadlifts altogether for a couple or a few weeks and pick an exercise that’s more a pure hip hinge. Romanian deadlifts are a great candidate for this.

You’re not hip hinging much at all. There’s just a little bit of knee extension and a lot of back extension.

It’s hard to tell from the angle (straight from the side is best), but I think your shoulders are way too far over the bar. Work on pushing your hips back and pulling your shoulder down (or pulling your lats into your back pocket whatever works best for you).

I used to have the same problem, but I’ve ironed it out using that same advice from these forums. I’ve just consolidated it for you.

Good luck!


Thanks for the critique Fletch - really appreciate the detailed response.

Not a max, but unfortunately, that’s how my deadlift looks with weight even far from my max. I’ve definitely felt that my deadlift is all back, no legs, no hips, as you’ve pointed out. I find it hard to keep my back straight beyond 70% of my max - which tells me I’ve been using my lower back as a horribly risky crutch to “progress”.

Edit: just had a think about this, I have a feeling this is because I can only break the weight off the floor using my back and almost straight legs (as in the video), and doing so makes it hard to hip hinge and lock out all together. I might be wrong but, could my lack of hip hinge be due to my initial straight-leggedness/lag of leg drive getting the weight off the floor?

Been focusing on squats lately so this is a perfect time for me to work on deadlift technique from the ground up. Will work on setup and hip hinge as you’ve mentioned. Other than RDLs, would you recommend any other exercises that will teach me to hinge?

And should I work on form at my current hip height (straightening out my back) or bring it down?

Thanks again!


You went way too fast on that pull.

Your set up was too quick and again you pulled everything with your back.

Lighten the weight for a while and work on your form, try to pull the bar against yourself while getting your butt down a little before pulling.

Take a big breath and tighten up those lats, pull the slack out of the bar!!!

I think keeping a flat back is tough everytime going from a dead stop.

RDLs are good to help you keeping your flat back on the descent, another good tip would be doing touch’n’go deadlifts.
Like going for 8-10 reps and staying tight during all the set using a moderate weight.

I know it hurts ego, but you definitely should work with lighter weight and get that perfect form, once you’ll get all those cues together you’ll be ready to go heavy.


Some people do better with higher hip positions. In fact, some people will come pretty close to an RDL off the floor.

But your back is just about parallel to the floor. So what you’ve got there is excessive. Especially since there’s nothing all that unusual or crazy about how your built.

To get your hips to a more reasonable level, you’re going to have to pull your hip down and push them back.

It’ll feel awkward and weak at first. But going by feel hasn’t seemed to work out much by this point so I would keep taking lots of videos so what you sense and feel what your body doing is actually what your body is doing.

My favorite hip hinge are Goodmornings. For you, I think it would be better to do an arched back bent knee GM. You keep the bar over mid-foot and basically do an RDL with the bar on the back. For the sake of specificity to the deadlift, you might want to use a low bar so the COG is over the spine of your scapulae like a deadlift.

Edit: Kettelbell swings. They work okay with db’s too. Cable pull throughs are a smaller exercise you can do at the tail end of your training session or as part of a warm up to get used to the feel of hip hinging before your main work. Same goes for KB swings.


Thanks guys, I’m going to work on form while focusing on my squat over the next few weeks.

Did some volume last night to practice what you guys have recommended. Still falling to bad habits but I’m cuing myself every rep to re-groove my form.

Self critique:

  • still seeing less hip hinge than i’d like
  • seems to be a disconnect between my knee, hip and back flexion
  • eccentric portion of the lift looks dodgy

I’ve widened my stance a bit (with slightly more foot flare too) based on the “what stance would you take for a max vertical jump” rule. It feels easier to driver with my legs off the floor and activate my glutes.

Form check 2 (last set of 5x5 140kgs):

Will try and perfect my technique before increasing weight.


Way better,


I think your knees are too much in front of the bar so the bar path is not good, on the last reps you clearly see the bar goes away from you then comes back, you want it to be in a straight line.

Your hips were to high, now it’s too low, you can see your butt raises before the bar leaves the floor.
It almost looks like a Clean starting stance.
Again you’re pulling too much and not pushing enough with your legs.

You made a good effort tightening your lats, keeping your back flat, but don’t force your hips to be low, you just need to find the correct balande and it’ll be nice.


Thanks mate, really appreciate the feedback.

I’ll focus on those things over the next few weeks, will post again in due course.