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  1. #1
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    Deadlift-Form questions that only your guys can help with...

    First off, I am putting this question here because the instructional videos and things I read int he Exercise thread said to do things opposite of what Dave Tate says, and though he isn't the end all source of information, he can lift a lot, and from the looks of the other video in the Deadlift sticky, I think I am deadlift more than that guy...

    So, I took a few years off lifting and I have been recently trying to work my way back in. Yesterday I tried pulling some deads for the first time in a long time. I worked up to 420, and called it quits there for now. It was hard, but I noticed that my form was not good. After watching a lot of record setting deadlift videos the night before, I had in my mind what good form should be. I think I was straightening my legs out really early, letting my back round, and then just using lower back to get it up.

    Two rules that Dave has that other people say opposite is to start with shins away from the bar and shoulders behind. I know my shins were too close, I don't know about shoulders. But he said that shins too close will cause you to use more back.

    Lastly, the more I think about it, I think I may have always used this bad form. My high school PE teacher used to get on my case about using too much back, but I also set the school deadlift record. 600lbs (using the trap bar, school policy) and I weighed 170 at the time. So back then I think I just did what worked for me... Now I wonder, if I had been using better form, could I have done more...

    I am beginning to ramble, so I'll try to finish, but I think my struggle is, trying to focus on good form, even if it temporarily means I lift less, while I am adjusting to the movements... I know when I switched to a wider stance squat I had troubles at first, but eventually could lift way more.
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    Registered User Boridi's Avatar
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    shoulders behind the bar is either a good thing or physically impossible depending on how you define shoulders

    shins depends on sumo or conventional... and depends on limb proportions
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    Registered User gjlpmc's Avatar
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    I used to have the bar very close to my shins when deadlifting conventional and I noticed in all my competition videos I was always over the bar. I did not think anything of it until I hurt my lower back then I really focused on my form. I have the bar in the middle of my shoe and have a closer stance with my heels in and toes pointed out. Instead of bending over to the bar I squat to the bar and try to pull myself into it, focusing on sitting back as hard as I can before I pull. I have experimented with pulling sumo also and that has helped alleviate a lot of my back issues and puts most of the focus in my glutes/hips/hamstrings...always food for thought to try
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    Originally Posted by gjlpmc View Post
    I used to have the bar very close to my shins when deadlifting conventional and I noticed in all my competition videos I was always over the bar. I did not think anything of it until I hurt my lower back then I really focused on my form. I have the bar in the middle of my shoe and have a closer stance with my heels in and toes pointed out. Instead of bending over to the bar I squat to the bar and try to pull myself into it, focusing on sitting back as hard as I can before I pull. I have experimented with pulling sumo also and that has helped alleviate a lot of my back issues and puts most of the focus in my glutes/hips/hamstrings...always food for thought to try
    I thought that the further the bar goes out the more the lower back muscles would have be activated.? It seems to me the closer the bar at the initiation of the lift the legs drive the bar up first until it hits right before the knee then the back starts pulling. No?
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    shoulders behind the bar? it depends on your proportions really, i could be far behind the bar and seated back, but i choose not to be becuase i struggle off the ground. because i have proportional* legs and long arms and a short torso i can setup much higher than the average person increasing my leg and hip leverage without rounding my back.

    its all about proportions with deadlift. like rip says " you have to accomodate your body to the bar". if you have short arms and long legs it would be a totally different setup.
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    I have shorter legs and a longer torso and arms. How does that play in then?
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    Originally Posted by gjlpmc View Post
    I used to have the bar very close to my shins when deadlifting conventional and I noticed in all my competition videos I was always over the bar. I did not think anything of it until I hurt my lower back then I really focused on my form. I have the bar in the middle of my shoe and have a closer stance with my heels in and toes pointed out. Instead of bending over to the bar I squat to the bar and try to pull myself into it, focusing on sitting back as hard as I can before I pull. I have experimented with pulling sumo also and that has helped alleviate a lot of my back issues and puts most of the focus in my glutes/hips/hamstrings...always food for thought to try
    Your back looks gay.
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    Registered User G20C's Avatar
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    I don't know if this will help or not but i think a lot of folks think about lifting the bar or pickng it up. I imagine i am standing on a plank and my goal is to break the plank by pushing my legs through it while holding the bar.

    If you were actually trying to do his you wouldn't pick up on the bar but hold it while pushing your legs through the wood (floor). Works for me.
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  9. #9
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    Originally Posted by gijoe985 View Post
    First off, I am putting this question here because the instructional videos and things I read int he Exercise thread said to do things opposite of what Dave Tate says, and though he isn't the end all source of information, he can lift a lot, and from the looks of the other video in the Deadlift sticky, I think I am deadlift more than that guy...

    So, I took a few years off lifting and I have been recently trying to work my way back in. Yesterday I tried pulling some deads for the first time in a long time. I worked up to 420, and called it quits there for now. It was hard, but I noticed that my form was not good. After watching a lot of record setting deadlift videos the night before, I had in my mind what good form should be. I think I was straightening my legs out really early, letting my back round, and then just using lower back to get it up.

    Two rules that Dave has that other people say opposite is to start with shins away from the bar and shoulders behind. I know my shins were too close, I don't know about shoulders. But he said that shins too close will cause you to use more back.

    Lastly, the more I think about it, I think I may have always used this bad form. My high school PE teacher used to get on my case about using too much back, but I also set the school deadlift record. 600lbs (using the trap bar, school policy) and I weighed 170 at the time. So back then I think I just did what worked for me... Now I wonder, if I had been using better form, could I have done more...

    I am beginning to ramble, so I'll try to finish, but I think my struggle is, trying to focus on good form, even if it temporarily means I lift less, while I am adjusting to the movements... I know when I switched to a wider stance squat I had troubles at first, but eventually could lift way more.
    When switching from deadlifting 100% of the time in a sumo stance to 100% of the time in a conventional stance, one of the biggest things that has kept my form from degrading is wearing shirts with logos on them. If you happen to lift in front of a mirror like most commercial gyms will have set up, get your hips down and make sure you can see the logo on your shirt from start to finish of each rep.

    I have also found it helpful to use a closer stance then I originally thought was comfortable ( feet inside the knurling of the bar) and placing my feet under the bar so that the bar lies over the middle of my foot when I'm standing straight up. Don't be afraid to play around with things like that and even grip width until you find your sweet spot.
    Last edited by Retardo-pex; 03-08-2010 at 05:50 AM.
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  10. #10
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    You know... As soon as you mentioned grip width, it did make me realize that I was grabbing way too far out. I had my arms spread. Which of course makes me have to bend over more to reach the bar. That is so obvious. It's been so long, I don't even know why I was doing it. I could have been standing up a few more inches if I had just grabbed the bar with my arms naturally hanging down...

    Also, after watching more deadlift videos last night, it seems some guys lift with more back and others more of a squatting movement, regardless of foot width. So my form might not be as off as I thought... And I was only watching competitors. I ignore most informational videos because I figure watching the guys pulling 700+ should give me an idea of good form... Or at least, functional form...
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    Last thing, here is where I make my claim-

    I am going to set my state deadlift record... I want to say it on here, so that I have to put my money where my mouth is...
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    Originally Posted by gijoe985 View Post
    Last thing, here is where I make my claim-

    I am going to set my state deadlift record... I want to say it on here, so that I have to put my money where my mouth is...
    i dont know what that has to do with anything in this thread. fyi, state records dont mean much, national records on the other hand....

    anyway, what you need and most people who struggle with DL need, is a consistent proper setup.

    here is how i setup (taken from mark rippetoe and others)

    -stand with competition stance, with the middle of teh foot directly underneath the bar
    -bending at the waist ONLY, bend down and take your competition grip on the bar (arms should be hanging straight down)
    -bend your knees slowly until your shins come in contact with the bar
    -push your chest up, head up as hard as possible, and begin the pull
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    Originally Posted by LSU1 View Post
    i dont know what that has to do with anything in this thread. fyi, state records dont mean much, national records on the other hand....
    You've gotta start somewhere... Kinda like some people shoot for a 300lb bench... My new goal is to break the state record... I can focus on national records later. Anyway, I was just saying it because I'm getting kinda pumped about the idea of it...
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    Strength Enthusiast Retardo-pex's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by LSU1 View Post
    i dont know what that has to do with anything in this thread. fyi, state records dont mean much, national records on the other hand....

    anyway, what you need and most people who struggle with DL need, is a consistent proper setup.

    here is how i setup (taken from mark rippetoe and others)

    -stand with competition stance, with the middle of teh foot directly underneath the bar
    -bending at the waist ONLY, bend down and take your competition grip on the bar (arms should be hanging straight down)
    -bend your knees slowly until your shins come in contact with the bar
    -push your chest up, head up as hard as possible, and begin the pull
    That's crazy that I set up in almost this exact same way, I must have read this years ago and not realized I was doing it.
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    Originally Posted by LSU1 View Post

    -stand with competition stance, with the middle of teh foot directly underneath the bar
    -bending at the waist ONLY, bend down and take your competition grip on the bar (arms should be hanging straight down)
    -bend your knees slowly until your shins come in contact with the bar
    -push your chest up, head up as hard as possible, and begin the pull
    You know... I just watched the video you have of your 495x1 and my form isn't too off from that. You'd use a more back heavy approach, as I feel I use. I find it interesting because you can tell than some people use more back, while others use more glute and hams. So far, both seem "right" since I've seen records set using either approach. I guess this is partly where each persons body is different...
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    Originally Posted by gijoe985 View Post
    You know... I just watched the video you have of your 495x1 and my form isn't too off from that. You'd use a more back heavy approach, as I feel I use. I find it interesting because you can tell than some people use more back, while others use more glute and hams. So far, both seem "right" since I've seen records set using either approach. I guess this is partly where each persons body is different...
    that video sucked. that was with awful form.

    check the end of this video to see how i lift now.

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