the joy of strength training


November 28th, 2007 at 12:58 am

My deadlift: the quest for form continues

I’ve had some useful comments on my deadlift form, on this blog and elsewhere. Today was another deadlift day and I tried to put this advice into practice.

Here’s a clip of my first set today, lifting 60kg.

The issues I am addressing are:

  • Back angle – i.e. the angle my back makes with the floor. In previous clips, the angle has been very shallow, my back almost parallel with the floor. Here I have been successful at increasing that angle somewhat without rounding the lower back.
  • Hips – they have a tendency to rise first. The advice has been that I should maintain the same back angle until the bar has cleared the knees. I practiced this a bit with an empty olympic bar first. Looking at this clip, I still have a slight tendency to lead with the hips – it’s most obvious in the second rep I think.
  • Arms – I am trying to squeeze the bar up rather than yank it. I am also trying to stiffen up the arms a bit more by flexing my triceps. I think my arms are okay here.

After several more singles at 60kg, I was happy enough with my lift to bump the weight up to 70kg and see if I could maintain that form.

Here is a clip of my 70kg effort.

It appears that my back stays flat but I am more noticeably letting my hips rise quicker than my torso.

It’s interesting the difference between today and my previous session (I don’t normally leave it 2 weeks between deadlift sessions but I had a bit of a back twinge last week – not related to deadlifting, I might add). Initially I had thought that perhaps I had flexibility issues or biomechanical issues holding me back. But I’ve been able to make a significant difference simply by paying attention to the right areas, understanding what I’m doing wrong and trying hard to fix it.

I’m getting better at feeling when a lift is right. My body is slowly getting used to the improved form.

So that’s where I am. I would be very happy if anyone wants to comment further – I’m really keen to improve. Thanks for your comments so far.

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  • 1

    Go back to the 60kg lift and “freeze frame” at exactly 27 seconds, when you are readjusting. THAT should be your starting position – back flat, head inline with spine, hips above knees, shoulders slightly in front of bar (scapula over the bar). THAT is what is described in Rippetoe’s SS book. You need to flex your lats hard to lock your shoulders down and stabilize the bar.

    The other reps – your head is up, hips equal to knees, arms straight down over bar – you won’t be as strong. You have long legs and average arms, so you need to have the form like at the 27 second mark.

    Hope that helps,


    Tom Corrigan on November 28th, 2007
  • 2

    Interesting! Thanks, I’ll try that next time.

    gubernatrix on November 29th, 2007
  • 3

    Guber, I agree with Tom.

    Look in McRobert’s technique book if you have it.

    Page 66 – There are 3 photos.

    In this video you are doing the same as the photo on the left.

    In your original 90kg lift you posted, you were doing the same as the middle photo, if not worse.

    What Tom is directing you towards is what is happening in the photo on the right.

    This video is very good though. Massive improvement on the previous one.

    Gary on November 29th, 2007
  • 4

    Cheers, yeah looking at the book now!

    gubernatrix on November 29th, 2007
  • 5


    Was checking your blog, noticed this question 😉

    * Shoulder-blades must be over bar. That is as Tom wrote at 27sec. Shoulder-blades in front of bar, shoulders before, bar touching knees. Right now your squatting up & your shins/knees are in your way on the way up.

    * do them faster once you feel confident about technique.

    Mehdi on December 13th, 2007
  • 6

    Although the comments above have merit for a good, strong powerlifting squat, smile and be happy that your beginning stance might work well for the first pull of an Olympic lift.

    Here’s an article about techniques for deadlifting that you may find useful (or not):

    Chip Conrad on December 13th, 2007
  • 7

    @ Mehdi – thanks, yes I’ve noticed the difference in the last couple of weeks since sorting out the shoulders

    @ Chip – Cheers! You are spot on, I have been watching quite a few olympic lifting video clips recently. I think this technique was burned into my brain and was carrying over into my deadlift!

    gubernatrix on December 14th, 2007


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