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  1. #1
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    Default Deadlift Form Check

    I struggle greatly with the deadlift and it really upsets me. I see and read about how awesome a muscle builder this exercise is and I can't seem to nail the form. I am too scared of damaging my back to add any serious weight. My current form doesn't feel right but after reading a little on here and opening a few links others have suggested, I recorded myself this morning attempting to apply that advice. I still think I have major problems but really hope this video will help someone help me.

    I apprecaite the advice and suggestions in advance.

    Thank you.


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    Its hard to tell from the video but from what I can make out it appears as when you grab hold of the bar you bring your knees infront of the bar, instead what you want to be doing is keeping them on the inside. My next point relates to my first, you should lower your hips more once you have your knees in the correct position. Finally your back is very curved, try to keep it straighter by pushing your chest out.
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    Quote Originally Posted by will27 View Post
    Its hard to tell from the video but from what I can make out it appears as when you grab hold of the bar you bring your knees infront of the bar, instead what you want to be doing is keeping them on the inside. My next point relates to my first, you should lower your hips more once you have your knees in the correct position. Finally your back is very curved, try to keep it straighter by pushing your chest out.
    Thanks a lot for the response.

    I had read that I wanted to place my feet in the center of the bar, reach down and take hold of the bar, bend my knees until my shins touch the bar, chest out and stand up. That's what I was attempting but I knew it wasn't very good. It sounds like maybe my feet were not exactly in the middle of the bar. I don't understand how my knees would stay behind the bar unless that were the case. I will keep practicing and posting. Again, I appreciate the advice.

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    Seasoned M&S Veteran fenrisulfr's Avatar
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    Default Re: Deadlift Form Check

    Have you watched the rippetoe deadlift videos on you tube? You are right about foot placement. The bar should cut your foot in half. As far as cues like knee placement don't worry. The only universal cue is that your scapula should be directly over the bar. Lower back solid tight and spine is neutral. Watch rippetoe.

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    Your knees are fine, like fenrisulfr said, you know have it all right with that part. I'm NO deadlift expert, but yes you do need to tighten up and flatten your lower back a little more, it's not horribly bad though. Your upper back curve I've learned is something that looks very wrong but is actually extremely RIGHT. It's your lower back that is important. I think you could lower your hips a little more too, to make the first part of the motion more legs and less lower back. Other than that, refer to more experienced people for advice (and if a powerlifter for example contradicts anything I say, listen to them).

    EDIT: Your DL form is actually better than a LOT of people's, myself included in my personal opinion. I know what to do, making my body respond and DO it is a different story.
    Last edited by AToE; 01-19-2013 at 10:20 PM.
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    How close is that to a 1RM? Anything under 80% is really hard to see if there are form issues. With that weight, you look ok so far.

    Try to get your lower back a little tighter, and focus on standing up with the bar. Don't try to pull it. Don't imagine it's a leg press. Just grab the bastard and stand up. Keep your lats tight, keep the bar close to your body, and focus on driving your hips through at the top.

    I also notice you're lowering the bar very slowly. This is probably something your gym wants to you do. It's something i have been kicked out of gyms because I won't do, but it isn't worth my back to make their geriatric health club quiet. Not saying to drop it, but as the weight gets heavy, lowering it slowly can get very awkward.
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    Quote Originally Posted by beatdiabetes View Post
    How close is that to a 1RM? Anything under 80% is really hard to see if there are form issues. With that weight, you look ok so far.

    Try to get your lower back a little tighter, and focus on standing up with the bar. Don't try to pull it. Don't imagine it's a leg press. Just grab the bastard and stand up. Keep your lats tight, keep the bar close to your body, and focus on driving your hips through at the top.

    I also notice you're lowering the bar very slowly. This is probably something your gym wants to you do. It's something i have been kicked out of gyms because I won't do, but it isn't worth my back to make their geriatric health club quiet. Not saying to drop it, but as the weight gets heavy, lowering it slowly can get very awkward.
    Thanks a lot for the response.

    I just threw a plate on each side for the video but to be honest I just recently started incorporating this exercise into my routine and didn't want to go heavy until I got some feedback on my form. My back day is Friday and I will post another video with heavier weight. I would greatly appreciate if you checked back for it and added your comments.

    Any suggestions on HOW TO get my lower back tighter? This is a comment a few have had and I understand the importance but I'm having a hard time visualizing how to do this.

    Again, thanks for taking the time to comment.

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    Quote Originally Posted by fenrisulfr View Post
    Have you watched the rippetoe deadlift videos on you tube? You are right about foot placement. The bar should cut your foot in half. As far as cues like knee placement don't worry. The only universal cue is that your scapula should be directly over the bar. Lower back solid tight and spine is neutral. Watch rippetoe.
    Thanks a lot for the response.

    Yes, I was incouraged by another member here to watch the Mark Rippetoe videos and that's where I got the information I used to attempt my first pull.

    Any advice for how to get my lower back tight or how to know that my lower back IS tight? I understand the importance of a tight lower back but I am having some difficulty understanding how to make it happen for me.

    Thanks again.

  9. #9
    Seasoned M&S Veteran fenrisulfr's Avatar
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    Default Re: Deadlift Form Check

    Stand up and arch your back backwards. Then straighten up and puff out your chest. Pull your ribs in and down. Flex your core. Arms by your side as low as you can get them. This is how you should end a deadlift. Now imagine an iron rod is through your back. Bend over like this to start your deadlift.

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    Default

    I may not be an internationally recognized deadlifter, but here's my fat ass doing a quick deadlift session to burn off some steam. One thing to notice is that they get less pretty as the weight gets higher, but don't stray into being dangerous. I'd still like to have my lower back a little tighter, but so it goes. Form is always a work in progress.


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    You should try sumo deadlifts and compare the two to see how your body reacts different. I always felt deadlifts put too much pressure on my back, it would hurt but not get the burn of a muscle that was being worked. Just recently tried sumo deadlifts because I would like to incorporate some sort of lower back lift, and it felt much better. Seemed like a much natural range of motion, and I could feel my lower back actually working doing a deadlift for once.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Corey952911 View Post
    You should try sumo deadlifts and compare the two to see how your body reacts different. I always felt deadlifts put too much pressure on my back, it would hurt but not get the burn of a muscle that was being worked. Just recently tried sumo deadlifts because I would like to incorporate some sort of lower back lift, and it felt much better. Seemed like a much natural range of motion, and I could feel my lower back actually working doing a deadlift for once.
    I have been reading a little about the sumo deadlift and will definitely be attempting the lift for the first time on Friday.

    I appreciate the response.

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    Definitely should. Sumo deadlifts make it much easier to keep you back straight and torso upright, which seems to be your problem. Also will help a lot with glutes/hamstrings more so than conventional.
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    To try to keep your back straight you should attempt a lower hip placement and, as others have said, push your chest out. Also, actively engage the core to keep your spine neutral. Just my two cents!

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    I am going to disagree with the lowering of the hips comments here.

    If you lower your hips you will push the bar away from you and wont be pulling from the centre of your feet.

    All you need to do is raise your chest better. Dont' push it out. Raise it. this will cure the rounding of your lower back.

    And obviously, dont stand up between every rep.

    Put the bar down. Then reset..ie..raise your chest. Take as long as you need to get into that position, then pull.

    Your form is good otherwise

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tassotti View Post
    I am going to disagree with the lowering of the hips comments here.

    If you lower your hips you will push the bar away from you and wont be pulling from the centre of your feet.

    All you need to do is raise your chest better. Dont' push it out. Raise it. this will cure the rounding of your lower back.

    And obviously, dont stand up between every rep.

    Put the bar down. Then reset..ie..raise your chest. Take as long as you need to get into that position, then pull.

    Your form is good otherwise
    Thanks for your input. I plan to post again this Friday. I would appreciate if you kept an eye out for it.

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    **UPDATE**

    It's been several weeks since my original post which means several more weeks of deadlift practice. I am posting a short video of my lifting session today. Have I improved? Gotten worse? No change?

    For those who asked previously, this video is taken with what I am currently maxing at 5 reps.

    Again, thanks in advance for all the advise.


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    Coming Up The Ranks Tassotti's Avatar
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    It's definitely improved.

    Your set up is now good. You get into the correct position for the lift.

    However, you lose the tightness as soon as you start to lift (look at your back starting to round)

    Keep the tightness throughout the lift (even on the descent)

    This will also help when you reset for the next rep and you wont have to let go of the bar.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tassotti View Post
    It's definitely improved.

    Your set up is now good. You get into the correct position for the lift.

    However, you lose the tightness as soon as you start to lift (look at your back starting to round)

    Keep the tightness throughout the lift (even on the descent)

    This will also help when you reset for the next rep and you wont have to let go of the bar.

    You are ALMOST there. Good work bud
    Thank you for the encouragement and advise. I really appreciate the advice.

    When I watched it back the first time I noticed the rounding of my back at the start of the lift. Is it just too much weight on the bar for my current strength or it simply a form issue that can be fixed with more reps?

  20. #20
    VENI VIDI VICI Gabro's Avatar
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    maybe your tightness would improve if you make the lift more explosive and not so in slowmotion

    do not overthink it, aproach to the bar, grip the bar, stay tight and rip the bar from the floor

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gabro View Post
    maybe your tightness would improve if you make the lift more explosive and not so in slowmotion

    do not overthink it, aproach to the bar, grip the bar, stay tight and rip the bar from the floor
    I think you are onto something here. I am so afraid of injuring my back that I am over thinking the lift. I will try to be more explosive and "natural" on my next attempt.

    Thanks for your thoughts.

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    Seasoned M&S Veteran fenrisulfr's Avatar
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    Default Re: Deadlift Form Check

    Keep at it. Practice makes perfect. Maybe incorporate rack pulls to strengthen top half of the lift and give you confidence.

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    Quote Originally Posted by fenrisulfr View Post
    Keep at it. Practice makes perfect. Maybe incorporate rack pulls to strengthen top half of the lift and give you confidence.
    Good idea. I may start next back day with some rack pulls then move into the full dead.

  24. #24
    M&S Elite Member Stevo985's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FergN8R View Post
    Any advice for how to get my lower back tight or how to know that my lower back IS tight? I understand the importance of a tight lower back but I am having some difficulty understanding how to make it happen for me.

    Thanks again.
    Had the same problem when I started. This helped me a lot:

    Lie on the floor face down, so on your front. Arms by your sides and legs out straight. Your knees will obviously be touchign the floor.

    Now, without bending your legs, lift them off the floor until your knees aren't touching the ground, then lower them again.

    Do that movement 10-15 times (until it gets difficult)

    Now stand back up. You'll be able to feel in your lower back the muscles that you were using for that movement, and those are the same muscles you need to engage to keep your lower back straight (for DLs and squats by the way)

    If you can't pinpoint those muscles and tense them to get that lower back arch before you lift, do the exercise above as a warmup and it'll make tightening those muscles much easier. You'll soon get the hang of it without having to use that exercise.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stevo985 View Post
    Had the same problem when I started. This helped me a lot:

    Lie on the floor face down, so on your front. Arms by your sides and legs out straight. Your knees will obviously be touchign the floor.

    Now, without bending your legs, lift them off the floor until your knees aren't touching the ground, then lower them again.

    Do that movement 10-15 times (until it gets difficult)

    Now stand back up. You'll be able to feel in your lower back the muscles that you were using for that movement, and those are the same muscles you need to engage to keep your lower back straight (for DLs and squats by the way)

    If you can't pinpoint those muscles and tense them to get that lower back arch before you lift, do the exercise above as a warmup and it'll make tightening those muscles much easier. You'll soon get the hang of it without having to use that exercise.
    Excellent tip there
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