Q&A Conventional Deadlift

Hey Mike,

I need some work on my deadlift. After reviewing this video I definitely see a few things I need to work on.

Would you care to take a look and let me know the biggest things you see that need work? Or feel free to pick it apart completely. I can handle it – ha.

Thanks,
Chase

Chase –

First off, you’re a strong bro so I don’t want to piss you off.  You only live a few hours from me and I’m sure you know where I live and train by now!

Regardless, the pull is strong but I think it could be even stronger.  Keep in mind at this point for you it’s more refining and dialing in versus totally over-hauling things.

Here are a few thoughts, in no particular order:

#1 – You’re a bit quad-dominant, as is evidenced by your set-up.  Pause the clip around 13 seconds and notice where your knees are in relation to your mid-foot. See how in front of the bar they are? It’s not horrible, but I think you’re losing some pounds because of this.

Here’s what you should try and do on your set-up – get your shins closer to the bar to start, and then “push” your hips back like you’re going to do an RDL. When you feel like you’re going to lose your neutral spine position, then bend your knees to finish getting down to the bar.

Setting up in this fashion will not only help you load the posterior chain more, but it will get your knees out of the way as well. When people are really quad dominant they have a tendency to let the bar “drift” forward to move around the knees.

You shift your hips back a bit to get them out of the way, but I think a small tweak in the set-up will translate to more weight on the bar.

#2 – Back position looks great overall.  A small change in your lordosis, but that’s totally normal on a PR pull.  Anyone that is pulling a max and doesn’t have a slight change in their lordosis isn’t pulling heavy enough.

#3 – Along with shifting the hips back, think about pulling the bar BACK into your body.  This will help improve your center of gravity overall, and shift the weight back towards your posterior chain.

#4 – You need to start pushing your hips through sooner.  Again, I think you want to hang on your quads a little bit too long, versus letting your hips/glutes finish the lift for you.

(Note to readers: Chase competes in strongman so his pull isn’t necessarily going to look like that of a powerlifter. Just food for thought.)

So drive the hips forward sooner, and really try and use the glutes to do this versus the lower back.

#5 – As far as assistance exercises go, I’d really be hammering the posterior chain.  A mix of glute-hams, RDL’s, pull-throughs, etc. should help.  On any kind of pulling (but especially on assistance work), really try and focus on driving the hips back as far as you can to strengthen those hammies.

Again, that’s a lot of nit-picking but I think a few tweaks in your set-up, performance and possibly your program design could you have pulling mid-5’s in no time.

Good luck and let’s see some updated vids here in the coming months!

Stay strong

MR

10 Comments

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  1. Love it! As I was reading this, I mimed each step, and it feels like coiling a spring! Can’t wait for deadlift day, and I know Chase will put this to good use. Great article.

  2. Hi Mike,

    those are really great posts, because they allow everybody to see the things you see. I think that’s very important to improve ones coaching abilities. Keep up the great work and write more of those posts.

    Mark

  3. Some great points here Mike. I pull sumo and I think that I have similar issues when I don’t open hips up and sit back. It’s the never ending struggle of sitting back and getting that “perpendicular shin angle”. It’s even worse/harder in gear!
    #4 is also a great point to remember for ANYONE pulling either style. Gravity is your enemy and is pulling those shoulders down. It’s funny how my misses are from lack of hip drive. When I was reading that point, I could just feel what you were talking about but never really thought of it’s importance as a coaching point. I coached and thought of it as “chest up”. “Hips through” will yield the same result of queuing the chest up, but verbalizing the hip drive is so much more valuable.
    Thanks Mike!

    • Just wanted to thank everyone for the kind words. If I continue to get videos to throw up, I’ll try and do them every week or so.

      Thanks again – much appreciated!

      MR

  4. Definitely like these posts! As Mark mentioned above you get to see how you diagnose their lift and technique while learning methods to fix your own technique as well as properly coach others.

  5. I love your website. I wonder what you would say to an occupational therapist who says that the deadlift is a non-functional movement that puts the lumbar spine in jeopardy when its a loaded movement? Thanks

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