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Why is My Conventional Deadlift Weak Off Floor?

Can anyone tell me why my conventional deadlift (which I primarily use) is weak off the floor? I thought it was ab strength, but I have been doing more ab work and taking a break from using a belt and I still am weak off the floor. I thought sumo is the one you are weak off the floor? Not a complaint, but a question and if I could get some advice how to fix that it would be appreciated. Thanks.

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My conventional dradlift has always been weaker off the floor. Seems to be pretty common.

That’s great to know. Thanks.

Yeah it’s very common.

To fix it, improve quad strength and size, and do accessories like Deficit Deadlift and Snatch-grip Deadlift.

If your abs were weak, you would most likely have a hard time at the end of the lift (for rounding) or not making the bar bulge at all


How can you tell its a weakness vs the weight simply being too heavy?


how can we tell without a video?

@tlifter get us some videos and we can help a lot better, just saying you’re slow off the floor could be for a myriad of things.

Such as:
Weak quads
Weak upper back
Weak positioning
Not using your hamstrings
The weight is too heavy
You’re just not a fast person
so on and such


Once I get passed knee level my hip extension is strong and any weight I’ve lifted for a long time have been moving like butter.

Without a video this is next to impossible.
A guess: maybe the bar is too far out in front of you until it gets past your knees, when it is very easy to have the bar in its best bar position.

I have a video. No clue why I can’t add it.

You have to host the video on another site (YouTube, IG etc… ) and then post a link.

Sadly I don’t have any good videos. I will record one the next time I deadlift.

I have been watching more videos and I think the “problem” is that my butt is higher than most people. I’m still able to keep a flat back and my chest is still up. My butt is just higher and that’s probably why I’m weak off the floor, but lockout feels like nothing. I don’t think it’s a problem. Is it? It seems like a good thing. Btw, happy New Year!

Everyone is built differently. Some (shorter thighs) need their hips lower to get more leg drive, and some (longer thighs) do more weight with their hips higher and require less quad involvement.

Could be a few things.
If you are pulling with excessive arch it will make you weaker off the floor and stronger at lockout. (I’m not recommending you round over more, but it would change the strength curve to be stronger off the floor)
The other thing I notice (especially if you are a flatter back guy) is that if you aren’t an explosive person it can take a few seconds to build force. You may literally need to hold position and keep pulling longer to reach max force output.
Look at Stefi Cohen pulling 520x3 (53 seconds in). It takes her forever to break the bar off the floor, then she does 3 smooth reps…

Conventional Deadlift Types

There two typed of Conventional Deadlifts…

1) Olympic Lift Conventional Deadlifts

This consider the First Pull in an Olympic Movement.

This type of Conventional Training’s focus is on positioning the Bar in the correct position for the Second Pull.

The back need to be in a neutral position with a little arch. This position allows lifter to produce the greatest amount of Power in the Second Pull.

Thus, in an Olympic Lift Deadlift First Pull Training Program, the bar needs to be drive off the floor with the legs.

2) Powerlifting Conventional Deadlift

Research by Dr. Tom McLaughlin (PhD Exercise Biomechanics, Former Powerlifter) determine that the muscle firing sequence in breaking the weight off the floor is, Back > Legs.

That means the back initiates the drive off the floor, then the leg kick in. It is a “Bang-Bang Effect”. So, most individual do not see it.

With that said, some good Powerlfiting Deadlift Exercises are…

1) Stiff Leg (Slight Bend in the Knees).

Deficit Stiff Leg Deadlift are a good movement, as well.

2) Deficit Deadlifts

As aldebaran noted, this is a great exercise. It work the lower back and the legs.

3) Good Mornings

This amount to being Deadlift with the bar on your back rather than the floor.

The muscle involvement and Ascending Strength Curve (hard at the bottom, easier at the top) are the same.

4) Back/Hip Extensions

This engages the muscle for the Deadlift and Good Morning.

Essentially, it is a Good Morning from a different postion.

5) Halting Deadlifts

This exercise specifically builds and increases strength off the floor.

It is a Partial Deadlift off the floor. It is stopped in just below the knees.

Once pulled to the knees, the bar goes down to the floor and is repeated for additional reps.


Powerlifting Conventional Deadlifters usually blow the weight off the floor.

The sticking point is usually in the knee area. How to address the knee sticking point is another topic for another time.

Kenny Croxdale