Deadlift Back Angle

Anna C

More than 5000 posts
Elite Certified Instructor
But I still don't fully understand. Is the basic idea to bring my chest up and create tension throughout my body?
I think that description works, yes. Let's take it too far in either direction to describe "un-wedged" and it may make more sense. If you're leaned over too far over the bar (think stiff-leg deadlift, or bar is just too far forward of your body), you won't be getting leverage under it, and you won't feel wedged and you'd have to do much of the lift with your back. Conversely, if you're squatted down too much to "lift with the legs" and/or leaning back trying to pull the bar backwards, you also won't be wedged under the weight. The "equally loaded between your feet and hands" is useful to a degree, but I'm not sure it would clue you into these position errors. Personally I think wedging is more of spreading the load to all the muscles in your legs, hips, and back. You feel them all loaded, then you initiate movement to get the weight up. Cues for doing that will vary with the method.

Wedging is accomplishing basically what the SS Step 4 is doing, but coming at it a totally different way. Both ways can work. Overall for deadlifting I'm partial to the SS method myself, but as @Steve Freides rightly pointed out, this forum isn't here for teaching another method. In my defense, one of the reasons I love the SS method is there are so many great resources out there to support it, such as the video @Alan Mackey provided above. While I truly appreciate articles and videos such as the one linked in this thread by @Brett Jones, they are few and far between, and I feel there's still a lot of room for improvement in StrongFirst's teaching this critically important lift. But this is only my opinion... offered with a genuine love and appreciation of StrongFirst.

Also, do you feel I'm bringing the bar down too slowly?
Personally I would bring it down a little faster, but I don't see a problem with how you're doing it.
 

SuperGirevik

More than 300 posts
@Anna C, thanks for that great description on "wedging". It makes more sense to me now. Also, I appreciate the unbiased comments on the different styles of deadlift. I understand that this is a StrongFirst forum but it would be nice to have a place where we could discuss strength without having to be biased towards a particular style.
 

Steve Freides

Forum Administrator
Senior Certified Instructor
@Anna C, thanks for that great description on "wedging". It makes more sense to me now. Also, I appreciate the unbiased comments on the different styles of deadlift. I understand that this is a StrongFirst forum but it would be nice to have a place where we could discuss strength without having to be biased towards a particular style.
@SuperGirevik, I'm not sure what a "style" of strength is. Either you can pick up the heavy thing in front of you or you can't. We do discuss different styles of performing certain lifts, e.g., whether or not someone's deadlift relies heavily on a hip hinge or not.

But I think you are referring to what might be better described as different schools of strength training, which represent different approaches to teaching strength. We don't say you're wrong, only that we know what we do works. Comparisons of the sort you're talking about almost invariably become "which is better?" discussions, and those have no place here.

-S-
 

SuperGirevik

More than 300 posts
@Steve Freides, perhaps "style" was a poor choice of words but I was referring to different styles or methods of training. I didn't want to know if one method was better than the other. To be fair, this thread is about the back angle on the loaded deadlift, not StrongFirst vs Starting Strength.

Maybe it was a mistake in judgement listing out the Starting Strength procedure.
 

LightningFast

Double-Digit Post Count
I am not interested in a point-by-point comparison. The technique we teach is based on our principles. If anyone wishes to learn to deadlift in another way, I recommend they look elsewhere. This is not a place to discuss a point-by-point difference in our approaches - they are entitled to theirs as we are entitled to ours.

By no means do I mean to suggest that our way is the only way, but we have chosen our way carefully.

.....to StrongFirst, those differences are significant.

-S-
No disrespect, but this is a lazy reply, don't you think? What are those principles? What are those significant differences?

Alternatively, is there a place where one can get these answers? Except live seminars?
 

Steve Freides

Forum Administrator
Senior Certified Instructor
No disrespect,
Your post is disrespectful.

but this is a lazy reply, don't you think?
No. For this conversation and future ones, you may rest assured that I have put thought into what I post. I am a senior member of our school of strength and I take that responsibility seriously in everything I do, which includes everything I post here and elsewhere.

What are those significant differences? Alternatively, is there a place where one can get these answers? Except live seminars?
You have answered your own question. If you wish to understand what we do, study - read a book, work with a certified instructor, attend a one-day course, attend a weekend instructor certification, attend a special event.

I have no interest in making understanding StrongFirst easy for you.

-S-
 

Tarzan

More than 500 posts
I have no interest in making understanding StrongFirst easy for you.
I've never seen a reply like that from you Steve, I've been reading your posts for the best part of 15 years, right back to the old DD days and you've always been the been the ultimate statesman who wouldn't be baited into any form of discord that didn't become you.

I'm only guessing but I think the guy you quoted is a younger guy and he could have presented his perspective in more diplomatic terms but that's the way people speak to others on social media these days, they just want answers fast and their dealings with each other can seem quite crass to our generation. I really don't think he was trying to be disrespectful.

Sorry if I'm out of line, I hope all is well mate.
 

SuperGirevik

More than 300 posts
@Tarzan, I don't think that @LightningFast wanted fast (no pun intended) answers but he just wanted @Steve Freides to explain his answer.

On a side note...

I personally feel that we should help others understand the principles and differences behind StrongFirst, especially as a SF community. Understanding the basic principles or reasons why things are done a certain way will increase a trainee's confidence in a program or method.

Sometimes it seems like we are not allowed to talk about anything outside of SF (ex. talking about kettlebell sport style lifting usually raises a red flag), perhaps for fear that we might encourage others to leave this community. But think about it, if we truly believe in our principles, material and training methods, then what is there to fear?

For example, I've seen quite a few members here who have done the Starting Strength program... but they are still here, right? So why not allow users to openly talk and compare programs?

That was just my 2 cents.

DISCLAIMER: I'm not responsible for these forums and I respect the decisions of those who are. I also understand that SF is a commercial business. I was just giving my opinion.
 

Steve Freides

Forum Administrator
Senior Certified Instructor
@Tarzan, StrongFirst is not the place for everyone. We are OK with that. If how @LightningFast expressed himself is "the way people speak to others on social media these days," it is not OK here. If "they just want answers fast," they should look elsewhere.

@SuperGirevik, it is fine to talk about Girevoy Sport here; we admire high achievers in all areas of endeavor. But it's not what we teach, and this is not the place for a discussion that begins, "What's so bad about Girevoy Sport?" because while there is nothing bad about it, neither will we stoop to comparing it to what we do.

In my mind, StrongFirst is comparable to a martial arts school - we choose one for ourselves or for our children for many reasons The person who says Bagua is better or worse than Tai Kwon Do - or otherwise compares two different martial arts - is making a choice that needn't be made and shouldn't be made. Both are honorable, long-standing traditions that will benefit anyone _not_ looking for "answers fast" and who understands that speaking to their teacher "the way people speak to others on social media these days" will likely earn them a few hundred pushups or a very long time holding a horse stance position.

There is a history here, and if that shows in my earlier response on this thread, I apologize. @LightningFast and I have had several PM's about his/her posts in the recent past, and I felt this one warranted a public response.

If I have not posted in keeping with StrongFirst's high standards, I apologize - I post a lot here and elsewhere on StrongFirst's social media and have ample opportunities to put my foot in my mouth and, no doubt, I will do that from time to time. If I have communicated that we are not the place for easy answers but rather place to bring your mind, body and spirit as you strive to become the best, strongest person you can be, I'm OK with that.

I will bow out of this one here - anyone who wishes to continue the conversation is welcomed to PM me.

-S-
 

SuperGirevik

More than 300 posts
@Steve Freides Thank you very much for that response. Comparing StrongFirst to a martial arts school is definitely something I had not thought about before. My first encounter with Pavel was with Power to the People and Enter the Kettlebell. For me, and perhaps this was not the proper way to view it, I felt that Pavel was teaching me the right way to perform these exercises. After reading his material, I was left thinking that other methods (like high rep barbell training, training to failure, etc) were to be considered wrong and possibly dangerous.

it is fine to talk about Girevoy Sport here; we admire high achievers in all areas of endeavor. But it's not what we teach, and this is not the place for a discussion that begins, "What's so bad about Girevoy Sport?" because while there is nothing bad about it, neither will we stoop to comparing it to what we do.
As for Girevoy Sport lifting, I do agree that asking why it's wrong or worse than hard-style will usually lead to a poor conversation. However for me, and this is a compliment to the SF community, I highly respect the comments/articles from this community. So while I understand the benefits of HS lifting, I also enjoy GS lifting. Unfortunately, I have yet to find a community for GS lifting that compares to SF and I know several people here have lifted GS (for health and competitively). So if it's allowed, I like to poke at times the community's brain and ask questions related to the health benefits and possible dangers of GS lifting.

Either way, thanks again @Steve Freides for the hard work you do here. I know it must not be easy to maintain a forum among other things.
 

MikeTheBear

Quadruple-Digit Post Count
Back angle will also depend on the bodily proportions (limb and torso length) of the lifter: A lifter with shorter femurs will be able to get their hips closer to the bar in either stance and will typically have a more upright back angle than a lifter with long femurs.
This is me. I tend to DL with low hips.

What you'll often see is a lifter start with the hips too low, but the hips rise as the bar actually leaves the ground... putting the hips where they should have been to start with.
Depends how then hips rise. If the hips rise while the bar is still on the ground, aka "shooting the hips," aka "stripper pull," then I agree. But if the hips rise while the back angle remains constant, this is different. In this situation, the quads are contributing to the initial pull. I tend to be "quad dominant" so this works for me. Once my quads have assisted in breaking the weight off the floor, I can then use my hips and lower back to finish the pull.

I've tried Rip's way of deadlifting and felt it strained my back. With my set-up I was able to pull the exact same amount of weight. I realize I have a weak back due to injury and other things and it is something I am trying to correct. Also, I don't necessarily "deadlift" so much as I clean pull - my deadlift looks exactly like the first pull of my clean. I do this intentionally to strengthen my clean.
 

MikeTheBear

Quadruple-Digit Post Count
So while I understand the benefits of HS lifting, I also enjoy GS lifting. Unfortunately, I have yet to find a community for GS lifting that compares to SF and I know several people here have lifted GS (for health and competitively). So if it's allowed, I like to poke at times the community's brain and ask questions related to the health benefits and possible dangers of GS lifting.
I also like to dabble in GS. I agree that there is a lack of a GS community but this forum is not that bad for GS discussions. For one, the folks here are mature enough to understand that HS is a training technique and GS is a sport. To compare the two would be like comparing pushing a weighted sled to training for a marathon.
 

SuperGirevik

More than 300 posts
I also like to dabble in GS. I agree that there is a lack of a GS community but this forum is not that bad for GS discussions. For one, the folks here are mature enough to understand that HS is a training technique and GS is a sport. To compare the two would be like comparing pushing a weighted sled to training for a marathon.
I've always been curious as to health and strength benefits of GS lifting. Especially since it revolves around lifting a weight several times for a duration of time.

But I have yet to find any meaningful articles on the internet that explain these benefits.
 

MikeTheBear

Quadruple-Digit Post Count
I've always been curious as to health and strength benefits of GS lifting. Especially since it revolves around lifting a weight several times for a duration of time.

But I have yet to find any meaningful articles on the internet that explain these benefits.
This is a review by Andrew Read of Kenneth Jay's Cardio Code book will give you some insight into how "lifting weights fast for high reps" impacts cardio. Hint: it does and it doesn't. The goal of training for GS is to make it is aerobic as possible. This is why every training plan I've seen uses what I call a "bottom up" approach: start with a very light KB (leave your ego at the door and use the pink 8 kg if you need to) and attempt to go the full 10 minutes. A "top down" approach would be to focus on increasing maximum strength. Way back I tried a "top down" method and it doesn't work. That's not to say that strength training is not important for GS - it's just not as important as one would think.

"The Cardio Code" (Book Review)

As for strength, I found a study (the link no longer works, unfortunately) where one group did a crazy workout doing 10 sets of 36 reps with 15.5% of there 1RM - I'm not joking, someone actually figured that it had to be 15 POINT 5%. They compared this group to one doing a more traditional workout, although the reps were still "high" at 8 reps with heavier weight - 70% 1RM if I remember correctly. Both groups trained 3 times per week. At 10x36 done 3x week I would have jumped out the window after the first week. Surprisingly, at least to me, was that the 10x36 gained some strength. Obviously, the 8rep group got stronger, but the fact that doing 10x36 actually resulted in some strength increase really surprised me. Their muscular endurance, not surprisingly, went through the roof. So, if you train for GS you'll probably see some small increases in strength. Then again, if you can do 200 snatches in 10 minutes with a 32 kg, I'd say you're pretty "strong."
 

Anna C

More than 5000 posts
Elite Certified Instructor
But if the hips rise while the back angle remains constant, this is different. In this situation, the quads are contributing to the initial pull. I tend to be "quad dominant" so this works for me. Once my quads have assisted in breaking the weight off the floor, I can then use my hips and lower back to finish the pull.
This makes some sense, logically... but why would you not want all the muscle mass you have available to contribute to every part of the pull?
 

SuperGirevik

More than 300 posts
if you can do 200 snatches in 10 minutes with a 32 kg, I'd say you're pretty "strong."
This is where I always get stumped. Some of these people are cleaning and jerking 2x 40kg kettlebells for many reps... that seems insanely strong to me. This reminds me of what Pavel stated in S&S. He said that there should be no rush in jumping to the next size kettlebell and that we should keep training until we "own" the weight. He then mentions that although the we are still using the same weight, we will be getting strong.

Then there is the deal with volume (which I don't fully understand). If a GS lifter is cleaning and pressing a 32kg for 60 reps, that's a total volume of 1,920kgs (4,200lbs) and a strength athlete is doing perhaps a 5 x 5 C&J program with the 48kg, that's a total of 1,200kgs (2,650lbs). The strength trainer is definitely pushing heavier weight but the GS lifter is doing more volume. So what does this mean in terms of actual strength gains? Also if a person could lift 32kg 60 times, what are his chances of lifting 48kg 5 x 5?

I struggle to understand how volume affects strength training.
 

Chrisdavisjr

Quadruple-Digit Post Count
Also, I don't necessarily "deadlift" so much as I clean pull - my deadlift looks exactly like the first pull of my clean. I do this intentionally to strengthen my clean.
Somewhat off-topic but I'm intrigued as to the technical differences between a deadlift and clean pull. When performing a max deadlift, the shape of the body will change and the back will have a tendency to round (at least minimally) due to the immense weights used whereas a lifter performing the first pull of a clean should be able to maintain a close to neutral spine if they're to stand any chance of getting the bar past the hips. They look different but the intent and the technique are the same, are they not (sumo deadlifts notwithstanding)?
 

Glen

Quadruple-Digit Post Count
Somewhat off-topic but I'm intrigued as to the technical differences between a deadlift and clean pull. When performing a max deadlift, the shape of the body will change and the back will have a tendency to round (at least minimally) due to the immense weights used whereas a lifter performing the first pull of a clean should be able to maintain a close to neutral spine if they're to stand any chance of getting the bar past the hips. They look different but the intent and the technique are the same, are they not (sumo deadlifts notwithstanding)?
Think the pull is definitely different, the aim of a clean pull is to mimic the clean, this means staying over the bar and maintaining the back angle as long as possible to set yourself up for the second pull - quite different from a Deadlift IMO
 

Steve Freides

Forum Administrator
Senior Certified Instructor
I'm intrigued as to the technical differences between a deadlift and clean pull.
A clean is much more technical. I haven't trained them and even cleaning 35% of my deadlift 1RM looks ugly and barely happens. Probably the more you know, the more different you'd find the two lifts.

JMO and based on only having tried a clean a few times.

-S-
 
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