T Nation

What Do You Think When Deadlifting?

Hey guys

Just a quick question about activating muscles during deadlifts. For me I have always found that deadlifts hits my lower back, just recently I found out my hamstrings should be doing a lot of the work. I find deadlifts don’t hit my legs at all!

Are they even supposed to work your legs? Is there something that people consciously think about when deadlifting that makes it hit their hamstrings?

Are you going heavy enough?

As people near their 1RM, their deadlifts become more and more stiff-legged, which in turn, will hit your hamstrings more.

Another thing that may help is to make sure you’re lifting with your heels planted firmly on the ground and not letting them rise up. Some people wiggle their toes, or even lift their big toe during the lift, to make sure their heels stay down.

Honestly, it could be a lot of things, and this doesn’t necessarily mean you are deadlifting “wrong”.

yes it works my legs and its supposed too

if you honestly concerned post a video of your form people can tell you what your doing wrong easier that way.

Or just look up the technique and try to see if you can correct anything yourself.

I usually focus on having most of the pressure in my feet coming from the arch and back. I also visualize my feet busting through the floor. I usually also try to hump(STS) the mirror which helps me bring my hips up and through.

I too, find that deads don’t work my legs too much, or that i don’t notice it. I do heavy deads, usually 4-5 rep sets and I don’t feel it in my legs.

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What do I think when I’m deadlifting?

“URRRGGH!”

I think about the most infuriating shit I can think of at that moment.

I guess muscle memory does the rest.

This is the reason why CT doesn’t do conventional deadlifts. They’re lower back movements in his experience. For leg development, he’d rather his clients do other deadlift variations. For hamstrings, he recommends stiff-legged and romanian deadlifts. For glutes, he recommends snatch-grip and sumo deadlifts.

In my experience though, I feel deadlifts equally in my lower back, glutes and hamstrings.

I don’t “think” when I deadlift. practice it enough and all the components become second nature sort of like a baseball player taking a swing or a boxer getting his hips into a left hook. Once you get to maximal weights “thinking through” those steps robs you of precious moments in what is very much an explosive lift…one deadlifters opinion.

I usually say to myself “Please let my lower back hold together!” because that’s normally where I feel strain during heavy deadlifts. This is with keeping my head and shoulders up and doing a lot of lifting with my legs. I just have a problematic lower back–always have.

But…

Two unexpected things in a row (bad cold; then abscessed tooth and oral surgery) kept me out of the gym for a week. I went back yesterday, and the first thing I wanted to do was deadlift “because it would get the blood pumping through my whole body.” I had been pretty sedentary for a week, so I think I was pretty “loose” all over. I put enough on the bar to feel it, and was kind of surprised to feel it in my hamstrings.

As I said, I’m usually pulling hard and concentrating on keeping my back tight and in proper position. This time the weight was light enough so that I wasn’t worried about that, and the effort was clearly being felt in the hamstrings. I just never really noticed it as prominently before this.

YMMV.

I usually think of someone that irritates the hell out of me and that I’m reaching down and ripping their face off on the way up. I’ve hit several PRs with this. No joke.

While proper technique is vital for DLs, it’s good to keep in mind the advice of Jim Wendler: At some point you have to stop worrying about every detail and just lift!

But hey, that’s just me. Plenty of other good advice here, too. Good luck.

I had trouble figuring out what to do until I tried pull-throughs.

Maybe your lower back is weak relative to your hamstrings and glutes.

[quote]Garage_Gorilla wrote:
I don’t “think” when I deadlift. practice it enough and all the components become second nature sort of like a baseball player taking a swing or a boxer getting his hips into a left hook. Once you get to maximal weights “thinking through” those steps robs you of precious moments in what is very much an explosive lift…one deadlifters opinion.[/quote]

I fully agree with this.

It seems that those times I “don’t think” are the time I set new PR’s and those times that I do think are times I fail in PR’s.

“Too many mind. Mind the weight, mind those watching, mind the super hot girls watching…”

“no mind.” :stuck_out_tongue:

AD

I just remind myself to ‘get tight’ throughout the body. dont want to be half way up and start buckling because of lazy prep. Once in it the best days are when it happens without thinking much during the lifts themselves.

[quote]AlphaDragon wrote:
Garage_Gorilla wrote:
I don’t “think” when I deadlift. practice it enough and all the components become second nature sort of like a baseball player taking a swing or a boxer getting his hips into a left hook. Once you get to maximal weights “thinking through” those steps robs you of precious moments in what is very much an explosive lift…one deadlifters opinion.

I fully agree with this.

It seems that those times I “don’t think” are the time I set new PR’s and those times that I do think are times I fail in PR’s.

“Too many mind. Mind the weight, mind those watching, mind the super hot girls watching…”

“no mind.” :stuck_out_tongue:

AD

[/quote]

good point. I agree–for most advanced or at least somewhat experienced lifters this is true. Also no coincidence that their form is solid. (Same thing as a rookie baseball player vs a pro, the pro just does it, good form from muscle memory)

For motivational purposes I like to think…
“F***! Grab this bar and rip it off the ground, NOW, Sally!”

What do I think?

“PullPullPullPullPull!”

I think of the calases I’m tearing off
The pain in my lower back, fuck you deadlifts! I like to be able to walk up straight think you very much

The blood rushing in my face- yeah your supposed to keep it in your stomach but a lot of times it just doesn’t happen on heavy lifts- and the feeling of passing out.
The muscles in my leg and back cramping up

Pretty much think of all the hell deadlifting causes me, yet in the back of my mind know that each one of those things is going to make me stronger and that is why I love deadlifts.

I honestly can’t tell what muscles are working when I deadlift, but then again I haven’t done over 3 reps in a long ass time. When I deadlifted 595 a little bit ago, I couldn’t tell you which muscle was pulling, all I know was I was pushing my stomach into my belt and the weight felt heavy as hell on my whole body. Oh, and my face wanted to burst like a cherry.

Before I pull, I think “I need to get X amount of reps”.

I find if I let my mind wander right before I go for it, I lose concentration, so I try not to think of anything when I’m actually doing the lift.