T Nation

Wondering About My Body Type/Leverages


Hi there,

I’m just a beginner in powerlifting and have been training for 2 years. My deadlifts have never felt right. I believe my knees keep coming forward so I don’t maintain vertical chins, but also I find it impossible to get the optimal back position. If I try to get my back at 45 degrees then my hips will be way to low and I lose tightness, if I keep it higher my back rounds. I never get pain from deadlifting, and a physio I’ve seen said I’m ok to deadlift with a rounded back based on my joint structure and whatnot.

What can I do to improve my technique? I’ve tried stretching hamstrings numerous times already. I do Stiff legged deadlifts and romanian deadlifts.

I would also like to know what you think my body structure is? (length of torso, legs, arm) based on the form I’m using, so perhaps I can use that knowledge to adjust based on my leverages. I would say I have pretty shit or average at best leverages for deadlift though.


Deadlift video:


You’re rounding your back throughout the deadlift because you start with it rounded. You never get into a good position before you initiate the pull, and it’s very concerning. Think about tightness when you set up. You’re very, very loose here. You CAN start with a neutral spine when your hips are high, you’re just not doing it. Once you set your hip height, force your spin into a more neutral, flat position.

As a side note, your second deadlift in the video was not locked out at the top. Knees still looked bent, would have gotten red lighted in my opinion. Stand up straighter to finish the lift.


Thanks for the feedback! It does feel that way. I never seem to feel tight when conventional deadlifting. In what specific way can I get tighter? If I pull the slack out of the bar? turn my elbows in? The second rep definitely wasn’t locked out at the knees but it locked like my lower back was tighter initially when I was pulling. It’s easier for me to stay tight when the sumo deadlift, but I just don’t have that hip/groin flexibility to do it long term. And I lift more with conventional. Thanks though!


I suspect you need to learn how to get and stay tight. Start by breathing into your lower back. That’ll help you breathe into your whole lower trunk. Squeeze down on that. It’s easier to do when standing up, so do it before you grip the bar. Keep that squeeze throughout the rep. For multiple reps it’s up to you where you get your air.

Also, you need to fix your setup. Personally, these are the cues I’ve been given that work best for either style.

  • shoulders behind the bar at all times
  • point your ribs at the floor
  • bend the bar around your shins
  • use the bar to scrape the skin off your legs

Also, if you stay tight better pulling sumo, pull sumo and be patient while it catches up.


I don’t have any idea what point your ribs at the floor or bend the bar around your shins mean. And I REALLY don’t know how to implement those as cues, lol.

I’ll also say that I see ‘scrape the skin off your legs’ advocated regularly on message boards, but I know that many high level lifters don’t actually advocate this cue, or technique. It works for some people, but not all setups are conducive to making this work. Mine, for instance, does not. For me, my bar position is mid-foot to start, and the bar never touches my shins. That part is dependent on when and how your hips hinge, and that will be dependent on what muscles are the most active at different positions in the deadlift.


It isn’t the easiest cue to visualise, I’ll admit that much. I usually think of pointing the bottom of my ribcage at the floor, which might make more sense. With bending the bar around my shins, once I’ve gripped the bar I just pull it back into my shins and try to bend it around them like you would a soft rod around a hard post.

I agree the shin scraping might not be applicable to everyone, but I like it because it helps keep the bar close, shoulders behind the bar and hips lower. For someone whose hips are too low at the start, absolutely it won’t help.