A Day of Deadlifts

Greg Simmons

This past Saturday, I traveled down to Bloomington, Indiana to work with IPF Masters World Champion Greg Simmons on my deadlift technique.

Greg is not only a great coach, but more importantly, he’s a fresh set of eyes.  I’ve got some great friends and coaches in the area, but I wanted someone who was pretty unfamiliar with myself as a lifter to evaluate my technique and where I was going wrong.

Going in, I had an idea of my problem areas, and what I needed to do to address them.  Below are my thoughts from the training session, along with what I’m going to do to rectify the issue going forward.

Technique Thoughts

–  As is common in the deadlift, my hips were shooting up a little bit too fast.  I need to really set my arch, and attempt to lift everything at once.

–  Along these same lines, I need to focus on “easing” the bar off the ground a bit better.  Not necessarily trying to be slow, but instead of blowing it up off the floor and leaving myself in a terrible position to finish, I need to keep my hips underneath me more throughout the course of the lift.

–  The bottom should be the hardest part of the lift.  I remember reading this from Ricky Dale Crain years ago – the bottom should ALWAYS be the sticking point for non-geared lifters.  Bottom of the squat, bottom of the bench, and the initiation of the deadlift all hold true there.  By blowing the weight up off the floor I was altering my body mechanics and changing my sticking point (for the worse).

–  I need to set my shoulders behind and/or in line with the bar a bit more.  I was shifting forward a bit and this was altering my line of pull.  Jarmo Virtanen gives a great example of this below:

I don’t know about you, but I’d totally take a 748# deadlift at 181.  Just sayin’!

–  I was shocked at how much glute/hamstring/adductor engagement I really set myself appropriately.  Not suprisingly, it felt worse coming off the floor but extremely easy at the midpoint and lockout.  Once that inertia was broken, the bar picked up speed all the way to the top.

Now, how am I going to go about fixing it?

Training Thoughts

–  I’m going to shift away from doing heavy, high-rep sets for the time being.  For pulls, anything over triples is out of the question.  I’d rather invert my sets and reps, doing lower repetition sets and makign sure technique is flawless.

–  I’m going to videotape all my deadlift sets and reps.  Progress will gauged solely by technical efficiency, not weight.

– I’m definitely going to switch up to a block periodization routine after this deload is over.  I’ll chart that out in more depth later.

If you live in Bloomington or the surrounding areas, definitely check Greg out.  He’s a great guy and a great coach.

Simmons Performance

Stay strong



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  1. MIke,
    I have noticed that Sumo is “easier” for me to move the weight but since I am lifting to build good conditioning and strength, I have no asspirations to compete, do I get a better posterior chain result lifting conventional?
    Would you also address the “butt controversy”? I have read your articles as well as several others that differ slightly how high or low the butt is when in the position to begin the pull. If I run a stick from my butt to my head about what angle (degrees on a compass) is optimal?

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