When deadlifting, do you keep the butt low or high? I've heard and seen many people do it differently - lots of conflicting sources (lots of threads say to keep butt low, Rippetoe and other coaches say to keep butt high). I personally feel I can pull more if my butt sinks low right before I pull.
Butt low => feels like driving up with feet to stand up.
Butt high => feels like pulling back to to a standing position.
Just want to know what others do.
Thread: Deadlifting - low or high
12-26-2012, 11:28 PM #1
Deadlifting - low or high
12-26-2012, 11:31 PM #2
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12-26-2012, 11:34 PM #3
12-27-2012, 12:14 AM #4
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The starting position should be whatever position allows for the right placement of the bar over the feet. From standing up straight, this is usually about an inch in front of the shins, which usually means a fairly high starting position for the bum. The lower your bum at the start, the further forward you'll have to set your knees, which pushes the bar forward, making for dodgy lifting mechanics. But whether your bum is high or low or in between when you start shouldn't be something you're really thinking about. Just set your feet at the appropriate place under the bar, bring your knees forward until they touch the bar (without pushing the bar forward), reach down until your fingers are around the bar, and set your back into neutral, abs and lumbar tight, chest up. If the bar's placed right, your shins and hands are placed right, and your back is in correct extension, your bum will be wherever it needs to be for your body's mechanics. During the deadlift, drive down with your legs, drive your hips forward and pull the bar back. So it should generally feel both like driving with your feet and pulling back, not one or the other.SQ 172.5kg. BP 105kg. DL 200kg. OHP 62.5kg @ 67.3kg
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12-27-2012, 12:25 AM #5
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If your back is straight across / parallel to the floor it takes the leg drive out of the deadlift. What angle your back is when pulling is largely dependent on your body composition. Someone with long legs will have a much harder time keeping his ass low while keeping a straight back for example.
The bar being over the middle of your foot dictates your leg angle touching the bar which dictates how low your hips go.
12-27-2012, 01:30 AM #6
You always ALWAYS try to keep your butt high. Deadlifting is primarily a back exercise. The lower your butt goes, the more your shins lean forward over the bar and you end up activating your quads more as part of the movement will now resemble a form of squat.
Also, if you keep your butt low, there will be a moment where you move your hips up before the bar actually moves. This is wasted effort.
You have to keep your shins straight and vertical during the whole movement to say you've correctly performed a deadlift.
Watch the top powerlifters in action. On the way up, their shins are always as close to vertical as can be. This requires your ass to be higher up.Triple your gains with my FREE report over at:
12-27-2012, 01:57 AM #7
Last edited by HulkingBrute; 12-27-2012 at 02:14 AM.
12-27-2012, 02:09 AM #8
I'm not suggesting he performs the lift by pulling with his back alone. Keeping your shins straight ensures there's the correct amount of quad and ham involvement and focuses on the muscles intended to be used with the deadlift. ie the posterior chain.
The foundation of the deadlift is not leg development. Its primary role is developing your posterior chain. If you want to develop legs, do squats.Triple your gains with my FREE report over at:
12-27-2012, 02:24 AM #9
12-27-2012, 02:30 AM #10
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i would like some clarity on this as well. i feel that deadlifting with your butt high puts your back in a vulnerable position, however, i have also heard to keep it up, and that the first place you should feel a deadlift is at the glute/ham tie in. a slightly straighter-leg stance would ensure this... but i cant help but feel like this is what straight leg deadlifts are for.
i have always kept my butt low, back straight, and i have a very developed back for a female, am injury-free, and feel that i am using appropriate form and body mechanics during my lifts. honestly, im afraid to try it the other way.
12-27-2012, 02:36 AM #11
12-27-2012, 02:38 AM #12
Do have a look, these are youtube links. (can't post links yet)
/watch?v=eOu5d7ZvmmQ - deadlift starts at 1:00
The hips are always in a high position well above the knees. Hope that makes what I'm trying to say clearer.Triple your gains with my FREE report over at:
12-27-2012, 03:09 AM #13
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You do not want butt low to mean that you get down as far as you can to squat the weight.
If your butt is too high for YOUR structure, your legs are "athletically straight", ie knees just unlocked. So you are doing a stiff leg dead from the floor. You can't use any leg drive at all, because they are already so straight, and locking knees before the bar passes knees is asking for a round LOW back when the leverage on your lumbar spine is maximum. Bummer.
I have to pull stiff leg deads because of knee issues. That limits poundage potential.Beginners:
Beyond novice, 5 3 1 or see above:)
Unless it is obvious to anyone who isn't blind that you lift weights, you might still benefit from a little more attention to big basic barbell exercises for enough reps:).
12-27-2012, 11:34 AM #14
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There really isn't going to be a "right" answer here. As King put it, how you are built (specifically lever lengths in the thigh and spine, "long legs" or "long torso") will really dictate how you pull. In order to figure out where your hips should start, the best test is to get set up to pull like you normally do, and then see where your hips end up when you actually break the bar from the ground. If you start your pull by dropping/raising your hips, then try to get in a position where that initial "easter egging" doesn't happen. Hunting for that sweet spot is a good indicator that you aren't as tight as you could be. Here is a great example of a deadlifter that knows where his hips should be. I competed against Orlando in a strongman comp in WV a few years back and he destroyed everyone on the deadlift event.
As far as pulling with your hips high being bad for your lower back, that is completely false. Some of the best pullers in the world (including Mr. Green above) pull this way completely injury free.GoRuck Challenge Journal: http://forum.bodybuilding.com/showthread.php?t=150446113
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12-27-2012, 12:09 PM #16
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As far as pulling with your hips high being bad for your lower back, that is completely false. Some of the best pullers in the world (including Mr. Green above) pull this way completely injury free.
It's incorrect to state absolutely that a certain form variance is wrong for everyone. Some guys are just naturally going to be high-hip pullers and they'll probably never change, nor should they.
What's more important is to not allow the lower back to round over.No brain, no gain.
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12-27-2012, 12:19 PM #17
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12-27-2012, 01:48 PM #18
It's been mentioned a few times already, but this is really something that seems more dependent on body composition and height than anything else. I'm 6'4 and I have to get my butt down pretty damned low in order to avoid bending at the waist to grab the bar and rounding my lower back. I imagine taller people like myself end up dropping their butts down in order to keep their backs safe and avoid taking that trip to snap city.
12-27-2012, 02:05 PM #19
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