T Nation

The Tall Deadlift?

Maybe this post doesn’t belong here, but i’m trying to figure out what other people do in regards to deadlifting when you’re tall.

I’m 6’3 and I feel like no matter what I do my knees are over/past the bar. I’ve looked at what Brian Shaw does and he just goes really wide. I stand right outside shoulder length. I’ve been doing that stance for a decent amount of time, so it feels right to me. I’m trying to get better torque on the bar and have my shoulders more behind the bar so I can pull it in instead of like up an over my knee type of thing.

Suggestions or tips to help better positioning please.

Awsome name very stealthy , some of best deads were done tall guys, if you are not competitive try trap bar deads, otherwise you are tall but not super tall ,deadlift is one lift where tall guys can do well .
Are your knees distended?

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Yea I definitely feel stronger doing deadlifts than anything else. My knees aren’t distended and I stay away from the trap bar and sumo deadlifts. Rolling the bar in before I lift seems to help my positioning. I’ve tried Goerge Leemans way where you keep the bar on your shins, but that didn’t seem to change much.

In terms of being tall, it really doesn’t make as much of a difference as most people make out. As already mentioned, some of the heaviest deadlifts in history are by guys around 6ft upwards. The amount of mechanical work you have to do is greater, but taller people also tend to have better leverage and can possess more muscle mass, so don’t let it hinder you!
I would do progressive range of motion training, in which you will assume your position from a block (start from the knees) and gradually work your way towards the floor. I know several lifters who are quite tall (6ft 5" and upwards) who have done well deadlifting like this.
It sounds to me like it’s not your height that’s the issue, so much as your overall deadlift positioning.
Shoulders directly above the bar, if you externally rotate your shoulders (bend the bar around your shins) it helps lock your lats in position.
Start with your hips slightly higher. The up and over type of lifting sounds like you’re attempting to squat the weight up. Maybe do some stiff legged deadlifts to reinforce the high hip position.

Hope this helps.

Turn your toes out, and bring your heals together slightly.

See if this allows you to get your knees “back” but your hips closer to the bar. Almost more between your legs than on top of folded legs.

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I’m not freakishly tall (a fraction over 6’0"), but I have had that problem before. Counterintuitively, what eventually worked for me was actually moving the bar further away from my ankles when I set up (not a huge shift - over the midfoot vs right up against the shin).

Part of my problem was that I was trying to turn the movement into a squat, so that made my knees shoot forward anyway. So the bar position shift gave me more space to avoid my knees, but it also taught me to straighten my knees somewhat, and actually use back/glutes as opposed to quads. Also eliminated the instinct to round the back in the bottom position.


Great feedback here. Really appreciate all the comments.

I’ll definitely try to start deadlifting off a box and work my way down, as well as pointing my toes out a bit.

For the most part, i’m activating the right muscle groups. I’m just trying to refine my position to create more leverage and to have my shins be more straight. Mobility is something I really need to focus on and work harder at.

Someone did mention to start with my hips slightly higher, and then I see Eddie Hall deadlift and he starts off with a very low hip position. I’m a little torn on the aspect.