Deadlift Help

Discussion in 'Basic Training Principles and Methods' started by beingisbeing, Aug 20, 2008.

  1. beingisbeing

    beingisbeing New Member

    I'm trying to learn how to deadlift. Keeping weight low, focusing on form, real slow movement, etc.

    It seems, keeping back straight, chest out, head up facing forward, I can't really get the weight up without:

    1) banging my knees/shins

    2) or hunching forward/slouching slightly.

    something is clearly wrong, but I'm too much of a mechanical idiot to figure it out.

    Help?
     
  2. mikeynov

    mikeynov Super Moderator Staff Member

  3. Wildman

    Wildman New Member

    It is not uncommon to slide the bar over the shins or the rest of the leg for that matter as you ascend. A little gym chalk on your shins, knees and quads can do wonders to reduce the friction. When you said bang I am assuming that you are addressing the bar while standing too far back in the start of the lift. That would cause the bar to swing in towards your legs to reach a neutral hanging position and bang happens. Step a little closer to the bar. When you get really heavy on these you will want to eliminate any extra movement of the bar except straight up.

    Maybe a mental checklist will help. I run through the steps in my mind and visualize the lift before addressing the bar (Yeah I talk to myself when I lift. Somebody has to be the coach!)

    Address the bar by standing with your shins almost touching the bar.

    Widen your stance to shoulders width or slightly inside before reaching down to grab the bar. Point your toes slightly outward as well. This will help prevent the old knock-kneed lift where the knees come in towards each other on the lift up.

    Squat down and grab the bar. Get a good solid, deep grip on the bar. Get a little palm under the bar and not just fingers. (Fingers alone aint going to hold the weights we really want to hoist now are they?)

    Your arms will track on the outside of your legs during the lift so dont go too wide. The arms should be close to your body without rubbing up against your thighs too much in the lower portion of the lift. The farther out your arms are the further you will have to lift the bar. i.e. A wide grip will force your torso closer to the bar than a narrow grip which equates to a further distance to lift.

    At this point I normally oxegenate (breathe deeply for a few breaths to prepare for the anarobic nightmare to come)

    Set your back nice and flat by stretching back against the bar. Your shoulders and traps should be stretched downward at this point. Your head should be looking straight ahead or slightly upwards. This will help to keep your back straight as the body typically follows the head.

    Take a deep breath.

    Start the lift by pushing your heels into the ground and pressing the weight upwards in a straight line. Keep your stomach and back tight and let the legs start the movement. As you press into your heels, tighten your shoulders into a shrug, gradually, as the bar raises. This will add some momentum to the bar for the sticking point on the lower end of the lift. Extend this slow shrug over the entire lift. Slowly release your deep breathe over the course of the lift. I typically hold the breathe until I get the bar close to my knees. I want a solid meat balloon supporting me during the lower portion of the lift.

    As the bar comes close to the knees or there abouts you will need to thrust forward with your hips. This will add the needed momentum and lift to finish the movement. Your legs will be at or past the parallel point.

    At the very top of the lift it all comes together to the lock out. The final portion of the shrug combined with the forward thrust of the hips will let you ride up and over the quads.

    Look! There you are standing tall and proud holding a big old honking barbell chock full of plates! I can see it now!
     
  4. Wildman

    Wildman New Member

    <div>
    (mikeynov @ Aug. 20 2008,2:09)</div><div id="QUOTEHEAD">QUOTE</div><div id="QUOTE">Take a look at this video by Rippetoe, see if it helps your setup.</div>
    That was a pretty good example right there. Too bad the fella wasnt pulling a big weight so that the finer points of the lift could be more visible. As you could see he came straight up and didnt pull back on the bar. Economy of motion. This kept him from touching his legs much at all. If he had a huge set wheels he would have touched though.
     
  5. bgates1654

    bgates1654 New Member

    Pretty good list, but I have a few comments:

    &quot;Address the bar by standing with your shins almost touching the bar.&quot;
    The main thing is that the bar should be touching your shins before you attempt the lift.

    &quot;Widen your stance to shoulders width or ... knees come in towards each other on the lift up.&quot;
    Jumping in place a few times will land you in the right stance which is typically what you have pointed out here.

    &quot;Squat down and grab the bar... we really want to hoist now are they?)&quot;
    This is a good time to practice form by unlocking the knees slightly and pressing with the hips back until the bar reaches the front of the knees. The rest of the motion is pretty much jsut squating with the legs. The back angle should be static below the knees. The best grip by far is the hook grip which is pretty much just fingers. My grip has never failed with the hook grip.

    &quot;Set your back nice and flat ... body typically follows the head.&quot;
    I am not sure I understand this. Personally if my neck isnt neutral I get exertion headaches from heavy deadlifts. I have to look down. I concnetrate on keeping the chest up. If the chest is up the back is not round.

    &quot;Start the lift by pushing your heels ... the lower portion of the lift.&quot;
    I am not sure I understand the shrug thing. Could you explain that a bit more? Typically I just Valsalva through the entire lift and release after I deload.
     
  6. Wildman

    Wildman New Member

    <div>
    (bgates1654 @ Aug. 20 2008,4:46)</div><div id="QUOTEHEAD">QUOTE</div><div id="QUOTE">Pretty good list, but I have a few comments:

    &quot;Address the bar by standing with your shins almost touching the bar.&quot;
    The main thing is that the bar should be touching your shins before you attempt the lift.

    &quot;Widen your stance to shoulders width or ... knees come in towards each other on the lift up.&quot;
    Jumping in place a few times will land you in the right stance which is typically what you have pointed out here.

    &quot;Squat down and grab the bar... we really want to hoist now are they?)&quot;
    This is a good time to practice form by unlocking the knees slightly and pressing with the hips back until the bar reaches the front of the knees. The rest of the motion is pretty much jsut squating with the legs. The back angle should be static below the knees. The best grip by far is the hook grip which is pretty much just fingers. My grip has never failed with the hook grip.

    &quot;Set your back nice and flat ... body typically follows the head.&quot;
    I am not sure I understand this. Personally if my neck isnt neutral I get exertion headaches from heavy deadlifts. I have to look down. I concnetrate on keeping the chest up. If the chest is up the back is not round.

    &quot;Start the lift by pushing your heels ... the lower portion of the lift.&quot;
    I am not sure I understand the shrug thing. Could you explain that a bit more? Typically I just Valsalva through the entire lift and release after I deload.</div>
    Hey thanks for the 2 cents bgates. Great comments. Looks like you had some questions in there for me so I snagged out those little gems and tried to reply.

    bgates1654:
    The best grip by far is the hook grip which is pretty much just fingers. My grip has never failed with the hook grip.

    Reply:
    I use different grips depending on the lift. I use an over / under for regular deadlifts and an overhand for sumo style lifts. The point is that if you are not using straps then you have to be sure to take a well seated grip to insure that you can hold the weight safely through the rep. A loose grip only using the two ending finger joints wont be enough to support big weight unless you got some sort of super sausage fingers or something. I hate to see a guy fail a lift just because he felt uncertain about his grip.


    bgates1654:
    I am not sure I understand this. Personally if my neck isnt neutral I get exertion headaches from heavy deadlifts. I have to look down. I concnetrate on keeping the chest up. If the chest is up the back is not round.

    Reply:
    I have seen a lot of guys starting out on this lift looking at there feet while trying to perform the lift. What tends to happen is that their shoulders become rounded forward and some even bow the back forward trying to see some magic something there on the floor. Of course there is no magic something to see during the lift but they look anyway. Instructing a lifter to keep the head up enough to look straight forward or slightly up tends to straighten them out. As I said the body tends to follow the head. I like your suggestion of concentrating on keeping your chest up. The goal is the same here. Keep that torso flat and rigid and dont start the lift slumped over.

    bgates1654:
    I am not sure I understand the shrug thing. Could you explain that a bit more? Typically I just Valsalva through the entire lift and release after I deload.

    Reply:
    Sure. This is a technique I was shown a long time ago for getting past a sticking point. Once the leg drive or hip drive stalls out you can get a little bit of momentum in the bar by shrugging the weight upwards. You dont have to do a full shrug, just a little movement upwards at the sticking point can get the whole chain moving again. This can sometimes get you past the sticking point. It doesnt count for much but every little bit can help when you are trying for big singles.
     
  7. bgates1654

    bgates1654 New Member

  8. beingisbeing

    beingisbeing New Member

    thanks for the big response guys!

    All points well taken.

    I think part of what I'm doing wrong is trying to lift from the shoulders/traps.

    It looks like the knees end up moving SLIGHTLY back, enough to clear the bar, in alot of these videos. I've been checking out this one as well...

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pjBI9qxibTc
     
  9. Wildman

    Wildman New Member

    Great to hear. Hopefully some of my rambling will be of use to you. Sorry it isnt more technically worded. Those videos should be very helpful to study for sure.

    BTW

    If your avatar is you then you are making great progress already. Great job man and good luck.
     
  10. beingisbeing

    beingisbeing New Member

    Wildman: thanks man

    Update:

    So it seems what happens is, I start with great form, than as I go, fatigue starts to set in (lower back) and thats when the slouch and knee banging starts.

    This is predictable.

    But there is considerable neural adaptation happening, and as I said, its getting better.

    Keep you posted!

    (98% of the guys deadlifting at my gym do it with horrible form. Its hilarious!)
     
  11. Wildman

    Wildman New Member

    I am such a huge fan of the deadlifts I really hope you get this worked out in short order. They really are the cat meow. I know that one of my biggest concerns when I competed was to keep my lower back as strong as I could. I did a lot of hyper-extension work back then to keep my poundages high for meets. Maybe a little work on the low back would do you some good as well. I truly believe that my best lifts were ones I focused on the mechanics and made the extra effort to isolate the weak points in the chains. Study your weaknesses and put a little extra effort into those areas. I am sure that you will come out of it a bigger better you.
     
  12. beingisbeing

    beingisbeing New Member

    still improving....:)
     
  13. <div>
    (Wildman @ Aug. 22 2008,3:06)</div><div id="QUOTEHEAD">QUOTE</div><div id="QUOTE">hyper-extension work</div>
    this is good advice
     
  14. beingisbeing

    beingisbeing New Member

    <div></div><div id="QUOTEHEAD">QUOTE</div><div id="QUOTE">this is good advice</div>

    makes sense. the limiting factor for me, when good form gives out, is lower back strength.

    Seems the second my lower back starts to give I can't keep my butt out any more and then I end up slouching a bit.
     
  15. beingisbeing

    beingisbeing New Member

    do you guys suggest I get a belt?

    I'm very anal about form, and this hasn't been a problem yet.

    ditto on the squats....
     
  16. I personally have chosen not to use a belt nor straps for the grip. This way I develop grip and core strength while working up on progressing my deadlift weight. When I get to the heavy weights I might reconsider. At the moment the grip is what is limiting my deadlift, but I am working on it.
     
  17. Lol

    Lol Super Moderator Staff Member

    I have become accustomed to not wearing a belt for any of my heavier lifts. I'm pretty pleased that I don't feel the need to wear one considering where my back was just a few short years ago. I feel confident in lifting heavy stuff away from the gym, when I don't have access to a belt. I'd like to experiment with using a decent PL belt for max singles though. For sets of 5 I really don't think a belt is necessary, although, for a 5RM, lift the last few reps might benefit. Dunno?

    Ditto for straps, except I do use straps for power shrugs so I don't have to think about the grip aspect and so I can use a regular grip. Hook grip is great but my thumbs really take a beating from a ballistic shrugging movement. Straps make them almost fun. I'm also using straps for my kipping pull-ups. I know it's a bit of a cheat but I can really focus on my back without thinking about my grip failing and calluses ripping off. I try not to do the straps too tight so I still feel my grip is really involved. Forearms always get a good pump.

    If you focus on grip strength training for a while you should be able to get to the point where you can hold onto a bar that is a fair bit heavier than your max deadlift. After some pretty intensive grip strength training, I managed a 600lb rack pull and held onto it for a good 10 seconds in the standing position. No way could I lift that off the floor (yet! [​IMG] )
     
  18. beingisbeing

    beingisbeing New Member

    600 lbs...woah....holy cow.

    Funny, the only time grip bothers me is on shrugs. Makes sense, as the weight is so heavy compared to other lifts.

    I love the hook grip as well.

    I'm gonna ride it out without the belt for now then. Like I said I'm so anal about form, I never really &quot;go for it&quot; at the expense of form or safety.

    Being so weak you're always lifting girl weights helps! Leave the ego at the door and go for hypertrophy and gene expression

    I get the biggest kick out of seeing the steroid users lift at my gym. Their form is absolutely HORRID.

    Actually, 98% of everyone's form at my gym is terrible. I cringe watching the deadlifting, to say nothing of the barbell curls A.K.A weighted hyperextensions! lol

    As natties, form is all we have it seems. Increases the challenge, and the pay off.
     
  19. TunnelRat

    TunnelRat Active Member

    I don't wear a belt for most of my cycle.  I think it helps me to develop strength in my lower back and abs by deadlifting without one.
    However, I choose to wear a belt when I get up past 90% of my 1RM.
    <div>
    (beingisbeing @ Aug. 27 2008,12:44)</div><div id="QUOTEHEAD">QUOTE</div><div id="QUOTE">Funny, the only time grip bothers me is on shrugs.
    </div>
    I use a pair of Versa-Grips for shrugs. They're faster and easier than straps, and they let me concentrate on the shrug rather than on my grip.
    <div>
    (beingisbeing @ Aug. 27 2008,12:44)</div><div id="QUOTEHEAD">QUOTE</div><div id="QUOTE"> I cringe watching the deadlifting
    </div>
    I dunno, maybe you should be pleased that at least somebody is trying to do deads. Where I workout, I am usually the only one doing deadlifts. I've only ever seen one or two other guys try them.
     
  20. <div>
    (beingisbeing @ Aug. 21 2008,10:50)</div><div id="QUOTEHEAD">QUOTE</div><div id="QUOTE">. I've been checking out this one as well...

                        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pjBI9qxibTc</div>
    I don´t like that they are rolling the shoulders in these examples. The extreme of this habit can result in some bad shoulder injury and slipped discs. Also, one should never look up as that tall blond girl does. I keep my head straight with my back.
     

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