T Nation

Scuffed Shins From Deads


I keep scraping my shins with the bar when I'm doing (Bent Leg) DLs. Also, on the eccentric phase of the lift the bar catches on the tops of my knees.

The trainers in my gym (whatever they know...) said my form is OK, and they can't figure out why this is occuring.

Does anyone have the same problem or know why this is occuring?


Not just some ppl have that problem but ALL people who are DLing on a regular basis with any weight and good form with have the battle scars. Its just part of the life man.

Hope that helps,


Wear sweats or some other long, loose fitting pants, goofy as they look, knee socks can help as well. If you're doing them right, then they're scraping your shins. If you have a choice of bars you might find one where the smooth part of the bar is going to rub against your shins instead of the knurling.


Some one once said "If you ain't bleeding you aren't deadlifting."


This is normal. They can't figure it out because most trainers aren't trained in powerlifting movements--don't expect them to know anything.

As far as the discomfort it causes try cutting a 2 ltr bottle in half and stuffing them into a pair of knee-high socks. It looks goofy as hell but when you're ripping 300lbs off the deck it helps big time. Or just suck it up and bleed all over the bar.


i usually catch the bar on my junk. would the 2l bottle help there also ?


Yeah, same here. Most of my gym socks have red blood stains on the front. I have found that with less than max loads I can slide my hands on my shins and keep the bar off me. When I go heavy though, the knurling gets me. Something to live with I guess.


Sometimes when I don't feel like banging the bar into my legs when I'm deadlifting I drape a small hand towel or two over the bar so when it bangs into me it doesn't cause bleeding so much as bruising. Sometimes this works and sometimes it doesn't.


you'll still get the scars but try putting some athletic tape on the bar, also if your gym is cool about shit then you can put some baby powder on your shins to let the bar slide, with the tape it allows me to pull heavy and not notice the slight bleeding. both of these approaches make the bar move a little easier so technically you might be able to pull more or just better with these, I know I got mine a little better in the groove.



Hmm, what I do is position myself a little further from the bar. From time to time I'll get a scrape on the shin, but it isn't like it is every lift or even every lifting session.

Maybe it is just me, but I don't see how scraping the bar up your legs is making it any easy to lift the weight to lockout.


Actually vroom ole buddy you might rethink this. Take a read at MR and EC's latest series on leverages and such. By getting the bar out further you are actually making it harder/moving less weight. You want the bar as close to your center as possible.

Think of a sledge hammer. hold it with one hand near the head. then hold it at the end. Damn thing is HEAVY when the weight is further away from your hand.

But if your less worried about the amount of weight than you are scraping and bloodying your shins by all means. Just might also be putting unnecessary, pressure on your lower back.

Just trying to lend a hand.


Agreed. I guess it depends largely on your biomechanics, but in order to move the weight in a straight path, I personally don't start with the bar touching my shins but rather a few inches away. That way, I can pull it slightly towards me on the ascent.


Taken from 'The Dead Zone - The Top 10 Deadlifting Mistakes and How to Fix Them' by Dave Tate:


[i]Mistake #5: Not pulling the bar back

The deadlift is all about leverage and positioning. Visualize a teeter totter. What happens when the weight on one end is coming down? The other end goes up. So if your body is falling backward, what happens to the bar? It goes up! If your weight is falling forward the bar will want to stay down. So if you weigh 250 pounds and you can get your bodyweight to work for you, it would be much like taking 250 pounds off the bar. For many natural deadlifters this is a very instinctive action. For others it has to be trained.

Proper positioning is important here. If you're standing too close to the bar it'll have to come over the knee before you can pull back, thus going forward before it goes backward. If your shoulders are in front of the bar at the start of the pull, then the bar will want to go forward, not backward. If your back isn't arched the bar will also want to drift forward.

For some lifters, not being able to pull back can be a muscular thing. If you're like myself, I tend to end up with the weight on the front of my feet instead of my heels. This is a function of my quads trying to overpower the glutes and hamstrings, or the glutes and hamstrings not being able to finish the weight and shifting to the quads to complete the lift. What will happen many times is you'll begin shaking or miss the weight. To fix this problem you need to add in more glute ham raises, pull-throughs and reverse hypers.

Mistake #6: Keeping the shins too close to the bar

I'm not too sure where this started but I have a pretty good idea. Many times the taller, thinner lifters are the best pullers and they do start with the bar very close to their shins. But if you look at them from the sides they still have their shoulders behind the bar when they pull. This is just not possible to achieve with a thicker lifter.

If a thicker lifter with a large amount of body mass ? be it muscle or fat ? were to line the bar up with his shins, you'd see he would have an impossible time getting the shoulders behind the bar. Remember you need to pull the bar back toward you, not out and away from you. So what I believe happens is many lifters look to those who have great deadlifts to see how they pull, then try to do the same themselves. What they need to do is look to those who are built the same way they are and have great deadlifts and follow their lead.[/i]


Pulling into your legs is a good indicator that you are pulling backwards. If you lean further over the bar, you stand a greater chance of rounding your back. I use some unscented baby powder on my shins when I go heavy. It does help the bar slide up my shins better.

Might try controlling the descent a little better as well. That way you can guide the bar by your knees.

I have some bloody socks as well. Fun



Phill, I have problems with grip and locking out at the top when I go maximal, not with getting the bar moving...


dont have the problem but try putting the wrap around squat pads on the bar it should roll on the bar as you come up


I've always worn sweats to DL no matter how hot it was because of this very problem. This prevented bleeding but it still hurts the shins.

The cut-up 2L bottle is a good idea. I've tried soccer shin guards, which work very well on the way up, but the bar tended to catch the top of the guard on the way down. I've also heard of guys wearing long socks and then wrapping duct tape arounf their shins. This proves that duct tape is indeed good for just about everything.

After reading the Lousy Leverages article I decided to try sumo style, which I hadn't done in a long time. Since I am a natural squatter, I basically used my squat stance, maybe a hair wider. The bar didn't touch my shins or knee at all on the way up. Instead, my arms dragged just along the inside of my thigh just above the knee joint. This, IMO, created less friction than the bar dragging on my shin when I pulled conventional. I was able to wear shorts to DL, and sweat actually decreased friction. For any of you sumo pullers, does this sound like decent sumo form? It felt very strong.


thanks all.

thanks michael2507, the article is (essentially) some good info the trainers had already. (They're mostly HIT-ites at my gym).

Thanks biggieben, I'm going to try the tape. Although, I may try putting it directly on my shins too. It usually stops blisters from rippining apart and the such.

But gee, I sure am going to miss the way everybody looks at me walking around with a blood and sweat mixture running down my shins.


Congrats! You're doing your DL's correctly.


What bleeds once a month for four days?

What bleeds four times a month for a day?

What bleeds eight days a month?