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Terrible Deadlift Form (VIDEO incl.) Help?


Hi. I am 6'4,215 lbs. My deadlift max is 500 lbs, I dont exactly remember how much is in the video, but it is significally less, it was after a busy day of non eating, but whatever. This was my worst form ever, but it is the best for you to decide where the problem is. I can see my back is bent even before starting the lift.

I saw Jonnie Candito's video where he said there is no need to drop so low when my biggest strength apparently comes when my butt is raised. But I cant keep my back straight and reach the bar from that height??? Its even worse with conventional. Are my hanstrings tight??? (Yes they are as hell, but I dont feel them stretching while deadlifting so thats probably not the reason???).

I will aprecciate any help! Ive been training for 2 years and never figured this problem out. Despite the form, I ve never had a single problem with my back, it never hurt either (not even slightly).


Ok I wont get too in depth here because there are so many problems:

-stop jerking the bar
-don’t pull sumo, you aren’t ready for it and dont have the proprioception levels
-learn how to hip hinge
-probably work on your squat too

You really just need to overhaul this, my best advice is don’t pull that way ever again. Start with a moderate conventional stance and learn how to create full body tension and brace properly.


I was thinking a bit. It might really be the tight hamstring. When pulling heavy weight, you automatically straigten your shins in vertical positiion, right? Ale having them vertical and keeping back sstraight is something i cannot do. I can handle lower weight with no problem, but the thing might be that i dont keep shins vertical. Idea? The rreason i pull sumo because it requires less hamstring.mobility for me.


[quote]cparker wrote:
learn how to create full body tension and brace properly.[/quote]
That looks like the most obvious problem. Your body moved at least 6 inches before the bar left the ground.


[quote]cparker wrote:
Ok I wont get too in depth here because there are so many problems:

-stop jerking the bar
-don’t pull sumo, you aren’t ready for it and dont have the proprioception levels
-learn how to hip hinge
-probably work on your squat too

You really just need to overhaul this, my best advice is don’t pull that way ever again. Start with a moderate conventional stance and learn how to create full body tension and brace properly.[/quote]

This. You were never in a good position to pull at any point in the vid.
I would suggest learning to pull conventional first as well. Strip the weight and work on your form. There are a lot of good videos out there : Mark Bell, Rippetoe, Dave Tate etc.


You’re not at a meet. If you’re not reasonably sure you’re going to hit the lift, don’t lift it.

As for your issues, we can’t give you advice beyond your initial setup because it was heavy enough for you to fail in numerous ways. Post videos where your form begins to break down.


There are way too many issues with your technique. From the very beginning, you didn’t set your lats, erectors or abs. There is practically zero tightness in your upper body when you initiate the lift. It looks like what you perceive as tightness is when all of your muscles are fully extended - entire back rounded and lats extended because your elbows are far from your body. But really you should be squeezing your muscles even before you start the lift, not reacting to it when you get pulled out of position.

It’s going to be difficult to unlearn a lot of this if you keep thinking that your true max is 500. You need to put your ego aside. Pretend that your max is 400 or something a lot lower than 500. If you keep thinking you should deadlift a certain weight, you’re not going to improve. Focus on how everything should feel instead of how much weight is on the bar and the strength will come with time.

The quickest way to learn to set your upper body is to start your deadlift session days with chinups or underhand pulldowns. At the very beginning of each rep, take a deep breath and brace your abs. Pull the bar to your sternum, keeping your chest up, and pull your shoulder blades down while getting your ENTIRE back tight. Keep the weight light enough that you get a pump in your entire back and especially lats. Either do this work before you deadlift or superset it with your deadlift so you remember how it feels. When you set up for the deadlift, get your chest, lats and entire back tight before and while you pull. Make sure your entire upper body remains rigid and don’t let anything get pulled out of position. The weight should not be heavy enough to pull you out of position so reduce your training max enough to allow yourself to build the mind-muscle connection. Do this for a couple months until everything becomes automatic. The setup and tightness should be the same regardless if you’re lifting 135 lbs or 405 lbs.

Don’t worry about tight hamstrings or how vertical your shins are. Learn how the lift should feel and everything will take care of itself. In the future you can round your upper back if it’s a stronger position but right now is not the time for that. Put your ego aside and invest in technique development for the next few months and it will pay off down the road.

It doesn’t really matter to me if you use sumo or conventional. Just work on upper body tightness and choose the style that allows you to keep your upper body tight. That should fix most of the problems. Post some progress videos or another one in a couple months if you still have any other problems.


From one tall guy to another (I’m also 6’4"), you will be better served to pull conventional and take advantage of your leverages. Early on I tried pulling sumo and wasn’t getting anywhere until after some reading, I realized I was not using my leverages to my advantage. As said above learn to tighten your back, abs, and also learn to finish with your hips and glutes. Kettlebell Swings really taught me how to bring my hips through and finish with my glutes at lockout.

Any type of squat will strengthen your legs to help off of the floor, especially front squats. Once you lower the weight and get your setup down, you will be pulling more weight than before. There are a lot of great articles on this site about deadlifting so no excuse not to do your homework and find cues that speak to you. Good luck!


Thank you all for your help and advice! I switched to conventional and stretched hamstrings a little bit, so the position is way better than before, but still the back is slightly rounded. When I watch people pull conventional deadlift, their set up looks like they grab the bar and before the lift they fall backwards like I tried in the video, but my butt shot up although the bar was touching the shin. I also tried to brace my core and pull the lats back, but there must be something else that doesn’t allow me to keep my back netural. I put a video of my squat (I was stretching seriouly for the first time in my life so I was experimenting what my body is capable of lol) so you can see that I am not that unflexible. Thing is I can barely touch the ground with my legs stiff on cold muscles, so my hamstrings might still be the issue, but I am working on it.


Comparatively speaking that looked a hell of a lot better, still things to work on but nothing that more practice and reps can’t fix.


Thanks, I will definitely switch to conventional. I pulled sumo because of my poor flexibility and because it feel kinda easier to grind up with rounded back, but the thing is my back rounds even at lighter weights… Just wondering, would the squat pass IPF standards? :smiley:


Strengthen your hams and make an concerted effort to keep your hips from shooting up

The squat is FAR below parallel, no need to go that deep in the hole (in a meet, you can do it if you prefer squatting deep)


That looks better. In addition to setting up tight with your upper body, make an effort to get your hips tight before you pull too. The reason why people pull their hips down just before initiating the lift is to create tension throughout the body and especially in the hips.

Working on your mobility may help. It might also be related to opening up your hips.


learn how to tighten more in your back, the start of your dl should have looked like the end of the conventional pull but with the hips a little lower. I think your arms are too long for your sumo stance. and strengthen your hammies as you aren’t getting low enough. credit on that deep ass squat though lol


Hey man, I see that you are pretty tall like me. I am 21, 6’4 about 230-240. Deadlift is my best lift, and 6 months ago I was pulling 365 for a ROUGH max, and just last weekend I pulled 545 at my first meet.

First off, I only pull conventional. I feel like I just can’t do sumo as well, especially with the bars/equipment at my gym. I would recommend trying conventional, as I feel like the leverages are better for some reason for people with our build. The things I focused on was being able to touch my toes, then touch my palms on the ground, then do that from a raised platform, and also work on trying to do the splits. I also made an adjustment to my form. Cues were bar sits directly over where the foot gets cut in half, feet are directly under where the legs come out of the hips, and arms grab the bar where I stand naturally with lats flared. I do this every time I deadlift, and I can set up anywhere, anytime, even if there is no bar. As far as rep schemes, I started at 315x5 for 3 sets, and increased by 10lbs each week until I stalled to the point where my 1st set could not get 5 reps. *I also did a heavy single (about 20lbs over working set) after the 3 sets. Then I dropped weight about 60lbs, and went for volume. 10 reps, 3 sets (maybe I’d get 10 on 1st set, 8 2nd, and like 6 3rd). I got to where I could do 405x10, then started deficits. Man I also did rack pulls from knee height, heavy as hell, and a lot of rows and lat work. I finished deadlift day/ back day with stiff legs, and that just seemed to shoot my deadlift through the roof.

I should add most of the training philosophy I got was based off of George Leeman videos, and his old posts on this website and some of bodybuilding dot com, but that website sucks anyway.