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Barbell Help with deadlift form

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Gregory Kiser

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Hey guys, I am new to deadlifting and have only been pulling for about 6 months now. I am getting a lot of lower back pain throughout the week and just wanted to see if some more experienced lifters could help point out what I am doing wrong and how to correct it.


Thanks!
 
That's a good bit of weight on the bar, and a lengthy push-and-pull you go through before each rep. Your back doesn't look as flat as it could throughout the lift, although it doesn't seem to move during the lift, which is good.

I might go down by a couple of big wheels on each side and see if you could focus on a simpler form, a flatter back, and on getting tighter at the start of your pull.

-S-
 
I echo @ Steve Freides, lighten up a bit. From you video it looks like your hands are very wide. If you bring them in a bit you can lower your hips a bit, this would help to keep your back straighter. Good luck with your training!
 
Nice suggestions so far. I am working on my own form - one nice brief 5 step approach to the lift position is suggested by starting strength on YouTube. Also, some lifters with back pain shift to sumo technique form for heavier pulls, that accentuates different muscles but may be a consideration. Different body proportions may just be better suited to different approaches.
 
one nice brief 5 step approach to the lift position is suggested by starting strength on YouTube.
I echo this. Rippetoe's "step" program to the set-up is excellent. It really biomechanically places all the joints in the place they have to be at. Might be worth trying it out.
 
It's been a while since I read Starting Strength, but I remember thinking the DL setup was a little too much the same for all people, body types, strengths, limb lengths, etc. I'll have to see if I can find my copy here ...

-S-
 
It's been a while since I read Starting Strength, but I remember thinking the DL setup was a little too much the same for all people, body types, strengths, limb lengths, etc. I'll have to see if I can find my copy here ...

-S-
Steve, the set-up begins by placing the bar right in the middle of your feet, to align it with your COM. You then grip with by bending over however you want, and move the knees forward until the shins contact the bar. The last step is a forceful straightening of the lower back. This last part I believe accounts for most Bodytypes because some people will end up with hips higher, some with hips lower. He even shows pictures of two different lifters, with different proportions, correctly setting with his set-up.

I've certainly never pulled much or used the DL that much, but I always preferred this set-up to the "tight decent" one Pavel says in PTTP. Without much DL, I've pulled 2.7 times Bodyweight first time trying. I attribute it to the very tight, and mechanically-safe set-up. Rippetoe could have been a Mech Engineer for all I know, seeing all his talk of levers and positioning hehe!

Anyways, just a thought that the OP might want to visit. Good luck OP!
 
I have pulled successfully starting with the bar over the middle of my feet and pulling straight up, never moving the shins forward and never touching my shins with the bar. It's worked pretty well for me over the years, although it's not my current style/form. Pavel discusses this in some book, and I think (if memory serves) he calls it a Russian form as opposed to what you described which he calls an American form.

Can't find several of my books right now so I can't check, but for those with the requisite flexibility and posterior chain strength, you don't need to do it as you've described above.

I really think it just takes experimentation. My own preference is that people be able to deadlift from midfoot and straight up. This gives a very strong pull, and one can later add a bit of forward shin angle to help with the start.

I'm not claiming to be the last word on this, and things like this are part of why I recommend people compete or at least go for a real 1RM a few times a year - you just learn things you don't learn otherwise about what works and doesn't work for you.

Meet video can be very instructive. I got pretty harshly criticized by a number of my colleagues in the StrongFirst leadership a few years ago after they watched a meet pull of mine - they were all people who'd competed at powerlifting or Olympic lifting. That conversation, at a cert where we were all teaching, began the thinking that's culminated in some recent form changes for me. It was all good natured, of course, but they made their point that I wasn't lifting the best way possible for me, and it caused me to change my training to enable me to get strong enough to then change my form in the way they suggested.

It was pretty funny - after a few beers, they were all just looking at me telling me I was going to end up in the hospital if I kept lifting like that. Competition is competition, and you do what you need to make the lift, but it really did also start the wheels turning. And all this happened because I had a cheering section at the meet who was kind enough to take a good video on their phone. And that all happened because I decided to go to a meet and do the absolute best I had on that day.

-S-
 
i think the push and pull prior to the lift is detrimental, you seem to be in spinal flexion and for a long (ish) period before lifting. Also, if you miss the sweet spot to start your lift then your potentially controlling a swaying bar...

My other comment would be on the fact you don't seem very tall or long through the spine, some posture focus might help you in the long run...

Have you ever lifted without a belt?
 
i think the push and pull prior to the lift is detrimental, you seem to be in spinal flexion and for a long (ish) period before lifting. Also, if you miss the sweet spot to start your lift then your potentially controlling a swaying bar...

My other comment would be on the fact you don't seem very tall or long through the spine, some posture focus might help you in the long run...

Have you ever lifted without a belt?

I'll be honest I'm mimicking Brian Shaw with the Push/Pull to start the lift. MY interests lie with strongman in the long run. I am definitely working every day to correct my posture. It sucks big time, I work at a computer desk and have always slouched.

to everyone else, thanks so much for the helpful links and suggestions. I'll definitely post an updated video here in a couple weeks or so after I've had time to make any real changes.
 
Rolling start is a more advanced technique. Just focus on getting tight and generating tension. Pausing in your start position will help in building confidence, flexibility, and positional strength down there. Ditch the rolling start for now.
 
You've got a lot going on in your deadlift. I would like to see a lot less rolling the bar to get set up and much more tension generation before liftoff.

Here's a video of my boss, an SFL instructor, demonstrating the deadlift, that we send to all our new gym members. I realize you're pulling conventional and our video is sumo, but many of the principles will carry over. (Or, you could try sumo instead, as most new lifters will do better on sumo vs. conventional.)

 
Gregory,

Congrats on getting bit by the iron bug! Awesome isn't it?

For someone like yourself who is new to DLing, I suggest the following:

1. I concur with Steve's recommendation above about attending the SF Courses.
2. Drop the weight on the bar and focus on sharpening your technique first (see #1 above). The added weight will come later. The back pain is your body speaking back to you that something isn't right.
3. In addition to dropping the weight and working on your technique, lose the belt and get strong naturally first (again, take weight off the bar to practice this first).
4. Lose the rolling motion. Master the basics first. Then later add it back in if you think it is necessary.
5. Read this article:When Tension Is a Beautiful Thing

Good luck and have fun! Have a strong day!!

Dr. Michael Hartle
Chief SFL Barbell Instructor
 
@Gregory Kiser you have a strong start! You've got good guidance here! Looking forward to seeing updates :)

I echo this. Rippetoe's "step" program to the set-up is excellent. It really biomechanically places all the joints in the place they have to be at. Might be worth trying it out.

I've used this setup and it worked well for me. The things it has going for it is that it is repeatable and simple, straightforward, and easy to follow.

The last step is a forceful straightening of the lower back. This last part I believe accounts for most Bodytypes because some people will end up with hips higher, some with hips lower.

Makes sense that this would adjust itself to the individual's lever lengths. Although I have enough flexibility to keep the bar over my midfoot, make my shins more verticle, causing my hips to rest higher, all while still maintaining a neutral spine. The latter version feels a little bit more comfortable for me.

Here is a helpful, quick video discussing both types.
@Steve Freides if you don't mind sharing, what is your current style and what were the changes you made? What was your thought process/reasoning behind making the change?
 
It's pretty simple. My style was strictly a pull. If you let your knees come forward somewhat, and your hips get a little lower, you get some push to start your deadlift. This is how Ed Coan talks about the deadlift - a push at the start.

It was a new insight for me, and it's working well for me. My hips aren't much lower but, overall, it feels better to me. I'm well able to keep vertical shins and not touch them but this is letting me pull more weight.

-S-
 
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