T Nation

Max Effort Deadlift Form Check

Hello everyone, I’ve gotten back into lifting and hit 355x5 (most likely terrible form) on deadlifts last week. Attempted to bump it up to 365x5 this week and failed miserably (see video).

I’d like some feedback on my deadlift form. When I rewatch the video I see that as soon as I initiate the pull my entire back starts to round. Would this be considered rounding the lower back? What kind of weakness does this imply? For some more background info, my 5 rep maxes are 300 for squat and 210 for pendlay row. I do high bar squats, and while theyre not atg, they are definitely below parallel. Any advice would be appreciated!

Vid below (lift starts at about 30 seconds in)

First things first, Learn to crop your video. :joy:
Second, it looks like before you even start the movement your back is already rounded, It never even started flat. Drop your ass more, drive your feet into the floor, doesn’t look like you’re using your legs at all, Basically looks like you’re muscling it up with your back.
Third, you’re dropping the weight, (I personally hate dropping the weight) I believe in controlling the weight on the way down. It looks like you’re doing stiff leg deadlifts on the second half.

I’m sure someone else will step in and correct anything I said wrong…Hope this helps.

1 Like

A couple of things I’d suggest:
You’re not pulling the slack out before the lift. You can hear an audible click as you start the lift which is the sound of the bar hitting the top of the bushings in the plates. That means you’re pulling less than the weight of the bar before you start. This also means you are not tight before the lift throughout.

Before you initiate the pull, you need to have pulled all but a pound of the weight on the floor. This is how you pull yourself into good position. When you start the pull, you should not hear that click. If you’re having trouble getting into full position, you may want to try working from blocks at first or a low rack position.

Not saying that’s all that’s wrong, but that’s the big thing I noticed.


Good point about taking the slack out of the bar. It’s something I’m aware of but seems to go out the window when I’m pulling heavier. Ill keep that in mind next workout and see if I notice a change in tightness. As per what the first user said about dropping my hips, what are your thoughts?

I do agree that you’ve got to get your hips to where your back is straight. That may be down, back, or a combination of both. You’ve got to see where your body finds that balance. What you don’t want to do is overcorrect and go into some squat-lift variation. You need to keep your butt high enough to keep the primary movers posterior. Bringing your butt down further may put it more quad dominant. This is part of why pulling yourself down helps so much, at least for me.

So here’s my long and drawn out answer. I’m a big guy (355-lbs). When I warm up for deadlift, I RDL until I’ve got at least three plates on because pulling myself down will pull the weight off the floor. By pulling myself down, my butt stays a bit further back and higher than if I just tried to squat down and grab the weight. I’ll try to post a link later on, but there’s a video on YouTube of Brian Shaw going through this cue. You’re basically leveraging body weight to almost begin the pull so that when you pull, you pull back and you’re at a mechanical advantage.

1 Like

Your back is not flat at any point except lockout. Very high risk for injury, and bad technique that will prevent you from lifting anything heavy in any case. There are tons of deadlift technique videos on YouTube, watch some of them. If you can’t set up without rounding your back then try sumo, lots of people have trouble setting up with a neutral spine for conventional.

@chris Thanks. Bear in mind I probably went to heavy and as a result there was a decent amount of form degradation. The purpose of this video was to show my form when I’m at nearly maximal effort. Deadlifting lighter weight with good form is obviously easier. I’m not saying what I did was right but if you look at most power lifters there is going to be at least some form breakdown for their maximal effort attempts. My question is what can I do to reduce this breakdown. Dropping the weight is pretty obvious, I was looking for some technical advice as well though and there have been several good answers so far.

Your technique looks bad before the weight even leaves the floor. Fix your setup and learn how to get tight. Neutral spine, lats and abs braced full body tension.


Yes that seems to be the general consensus at the moment. I’m not maintaining enough tension before the lift. I’ll try to get another video up in a week with adjusted technique. Thanks a lot!

1 Like