T Nation

Reps for Jesus, Deadlift Form Check


Getting reps in. Did 405 + 50 lbs band tension, 6 x 3.


It looks like you back is slightly rounded, but everything else looks fine. Have you ever had any back pain or injury from deadlifting?


I did have one injury but it was from a 1RM attempt and the bar got way out in front of me. I’ve been lifting now for 3 years. That happened 8 or 9 months ago after my last meet.

My back does get tight, but nothing a massage doesn’t address.

Not sure if you can see here, but I do get a bit of thoracic rounding at 1RM weights.


Well, you have three options: try to pull with a neutral back, switch to sumo, or just keep doing what you are doing and hope that you don’t get injured. Some people’s backs can tolerate loaded spinal flexion, it’s just a higher risk. In my case, I switched to sumo after injuring my back. My technique looked pretty much the same as yours, just slightly rounded, I was pulling over 500 with no problems. One day I was doing some singles with something around 500 and then moved onto down sets with about 425 or so, blew my back out on the first rep. It wasn’t really that bad and I was back to normal within a month, but the first week I was in constant pain. I’m able to set up with a straight back but it’s almost an SLDL, the logical choice was to switch to sumo.

I have read some of Stuart McGill’s work, from what I understand you or anyone who pulls rounded might be better off with lower frequency and volume for the deadlift. You hear of some guys who only pull heavy once a month and that kind of thing, it makes sense because it gives the intervertebral discs time to regenerate. Basically, your discs break down as a result of certain things, particularly loaded spinal flexion, but they also grow back. If you break them down faster than they can regenerate then you are fucked eventually.


And about the thoracic rounding, it’s hard to see from that angle but it looks minor. That’s not likely to be a cause for injury, but it could make you fail a lift if you can’t straighten out. When I was pulling conventional I had a bit of that going on, pulling against bands like you were doing definitely helps. Other than that, heavy rows and SSB squats. Probably front squats too, but I don’t do them.


Thanks for the help!

I pull once a week, but it alternates b/t lighter speed work and heavy work. I don’t like a lot of volume for deads b/c I cannot tolerate it. But despite the low-ish volume I keep making strides toward a 600 lb pull.

A lot of what you say makes sense. I’m going to try to make corrections to get that low back in a better position. We do a lot of box squats and my hips take a beating, so I’ve never quite warmed up to sumo although I do like the at lower weights.

Big fan of the SSB, my numbers on it are very close to my numbers on the straight bar and bow bar. Not a fan of front squats as I find them awkward and just haven’t gotten comfortable with reasonable weights.