today i deadlifted for the first time. i have been looking p the form for quite a while and looking at the 2 different styles. on the way to the college gym my roomate got on the campus shuttle bus. he asked where i was going. i told him i was going to the gym to do back and biceps. he said he was gonna do those parts today. i told him i was gonna try sumo deads today. he told me me he didnt like to do them cuz their bad for ur back. this got me fired up even more cuz i do wanna make excuses for being a pussy. seems alot of people who are anti deads prolly have not even attempted one before, it just scares them. i know the benefits of the movement so i didnt wanna shy away. i had done conventionals last week but i wanted to try sumos since ive heard they may be better for the tall lifter-im 6-2
when i got to the gym i had the manager/trainer check my form. he told me my form was really good. he wanted me to widen my stance even more than i had. he also corrected that i needed to keep my knees out during the bottom of the lift. even though i only used 115 for my highest set, 5 sets, i felt like an animal. a few people were looking at me wondering what i was doing. good feeling for sum reason. after lifting i had track workout too. my lower back feels awesome, its sore but in that "you just worked the hell out of it" soreness. my hip flexors felt a lil weird after sets but now they are fine. probably just because it was my first time performing. i have had sum lower back trouble cuz of poor posture when working and running alot but is better now and these seem like they will help prevent any more back problems. i just wanna know who the bastards are that have been keeping these a secret from me.
im looking forward to the track season with hopes of getting even more strength and speed after dropping 4 secs off my 400m time last yr. also have switched from back squats to front squats with the hang clean catch postion grip. i can get so much deeper and feels more natural. im still working up in weight in these too, i dont wanna slap sum weight on on then do crappy form. i def. recommend front squats to anyone. also have been doing hang cleans, the manager/trainer had been checking my form. the only thing i have left to fix is that i have a tendency to jump forward during the movement. im still only using the bar till im 100% comfortable. ive seen some horrible cleans in the schools gym. ie reverse curling the weight
well this is kinda long so im gonna go.
any comments welcome or letting me know your views on these lifts
Last edited by sprinterjumper; 10-30-2003 at 08:12 PM.
I have never tried a deadlift before, does anyone have a link to proper form?
Congrats on popping your cherry, Deadlifts rule.
Yeah it's a good feeling to turn heads in the gym when you're lifting.
Weight: Not Big Enough
“Take things as they are. Punch when you have to punch. Kick when you have to kick.” — Bruce Lee
You're right sprinterjumper, your friend was making an excuse not to do them. From personal experience they're only going to make your back better. I'm only 23 but I've suffered from 2 serious lower back injuries that took months to heal. And each time I've always been left with lower back pain and would have to visit a chiro. But since I started deads about 4-5 months ago I haven't had to visit a Dr. once. They strengthen you lower back so much and keep everything nice and in line. They're great and I live by them. It's good to see another lifter starting up.
Best way to cheat on deadlifts...
Stand there for a few minutes, then pace back and forth a lot, huff and puff, wait until everybody's looking. Approach the bar. Back off. Approach it again. Back off. Get some water. Chalk up. Approach the bar again. Then spray some more chalk around. Wait until people start losing interest. When nobody's looking, pick it a little off the floor, and slam it down. Jump up and yell "LIGHT WEIGHT BABY". Then give high fives all around. - Belial
Sup Tim,Originally Posted by Tim Nissen
Just out of curiosity, what were you doing to get you 2 serious lower back injuries?
where do you run?
you dropped 4 seconds in one year?
thats insane....was that a serious growth spurt or what?
sp: yeah def. a great thing, glad someone else appreciates it too.
geoff garcia:i run at salem st college d3. yeah i went from 55.7 to 51.5 in one yr. i had crappy training in high school, and it took my awhile to adapt to my training freshaman yr in college. coupled with the fact that it was my first full yr lifting. hoping for a few more seconds this year as i am doing alot more power movements. im running quite abit more miles this year too. 25 a week so i have to work at gaining my weight or even maintaining it. i am 6-2 173 which is small but its pretty decent for a 400m runner. but i got a complex now from being so skinny in junior high and high school. i used to be 5-3 and 76lbs and 5-11 111lbs. deadlifts and lifting make me forget those days.
tim: glad to hear they have helped your back i am also young (20) and have had taste of what lower pain is, definitely not fun. but witht he right training and heat it has cleared up. what was the extent of you injuries if i may ask? thanks for welcoming a new lifter.
Last edited by sprinterjumper; 10-31-2003 at 12:52 AM.
Hey thread starter ( to lazy to look @ the name :P ) but yeah. glad you like the deadlifts and here is sumthing you can tel your friend who do not do them.. my dad has degenerating disks in his back. his ciropractor ( spelling? ) said he should start doing low weight deadlifts, he started doing this about a month ago. before this he would complain every day about his back.. now he dose not complain at all, and says his back feels 20 years younger.
Rule of this story.. STFU and Deadlift and Squat
I really don't know how people can rule out deadlifts when they have so many benefits.
I started deadlifting back in May, and I think my max back then was 185@ 148, and now it's 350 @ 151. It builds so much explosive power and density into your frame, I don't know why people say it sucks. It's really beyond me. Depending on your body, I made pretty fast gains from the lift. Meaning I didn't have to wait long to start adding more weight. Its a good feeling doing 295 for reps.
Last edited by IronFist; 10-31-2003 at 01:29 PM.
my personal experience too says they are good for your back. i think many back complaints come actually from babying your back all its life and then suddenly you want to lift a crate or something and pop. they also teach you the right technique to pick heavy stuff up from the floor.
here is a great article on deadlift form:
keep in mind however that this is a powerlifting article and slight changes may be made in technique to give extra benefit to the bodybuilder.
Written by “Arioch” (member of www.elitefitnessforums.com)
The deadlift is a heavy compound movement that should be included in the exercise program of any lifter. As this lift will strengthen not only the entire back, but the musculature of the hips, abdominals, and legs, as well as work the grip, proficiency in this lift is a must. Like the squat, the deadlift will stimulate a growth response from the body that should carry over into strength and size gains in other areas.
There are two basic styles of deadlifting, conventional and sumo. Each style will be explained, and compared to the contrasting style. While certain aspects of deadlifting are similar, such as the fact that the lifter is basically picking a weight up off of the deck, and raising to the highest possible level without bending the arms, a great many differences in biomechanics occur as a result of the differing styles.
The conventional stance consists of the athlete standing with the feet approximately shoulder width apart, or slightly narrower. To position the feet properly, slide them forward as far as possible without moving the shoulders in front of the bar. The hips should be as close to the bar as possible as well, but the lower back must remain arched. The head should be elevated so that the athlete is looking forward and slightly upwards. The shoulders should be back, but slightly rounded. Retracting the shoulders causes the shoulder girdle to elevate, increasing the distance the lifter must pull the bar. The athlete must grip the bar tightly, and to ensure that the bar does not roll, a mixed grip (one hand supinated, one hand pronated) is often employed.
The true beginning of the deadlift is the set up, or the first phase (as it is known in Olympic lifting), which has already been described. The next step, before pulling the bar free from the deck is to fill the abdominal cavity with air. While drawing in as much air as possible, the goal is to push it down as far as possible, not fill the chest cavity. Filling the chest cavity with air elevates the shoulders, which will increase the distance the lifter must pull the bar.
The deadlift is initiated by simultaneously extending the knee and hip joints. The knee will extend due to the contraction of the quadriceps muscles (vastus lateralis, vastus medialis, vastus intermedius, and rectus femoris), and, during the extension, may move slightly to the rear. The hip joint will extend secondary to the contraction of the gluteus and the hamstrings (biceps femoris, semitendinosus, and semimembranosus). While the entire hamstring is active to a certain degree during the deadlift, the semitendinosus and semimembranosus are recruited to a much greater degree to extend the hip joint.
The bar should be pulled into the body, as well as up. This keeps the athlete from falling forward during the lift, as it helps maintain a far more stable combined center of gravity (CCOG). This is where the placement of the feet is a significant factor. If they are too far forward, causing the shins to be closer to the bar than necessary, the bar must be pulled around the knees, instead of past them. This shortens the lever arm distance and reduces the resistive torque.
During this period, and indeed, throughout the entire lift, the musculature of the upper back and shoulders (trapezius, latissimus dorsai, teres minor, subscapularis, infraspinatus, supraspinatus, as well as the anterior, medial and posterior deltoids) will be undergoing an isometric contraction to hold the bar in a stable position. In the arm, the biceps brachii, brachialis, and brachioradialis will also contract isometrically to stabilize the elbow joint. The forearm flexors are extremely active during the gripping of the bar.
The erector spinae (iliocostalis thoracis, iliocostalis lumborum, longissimus dorsai, and spinalis dorsai) will contract during the lift, along with the intertransversarii, interspinalis, rotores, and multifidus muscles to bring the spine into an erect position. These muscles become more active once the back is extended past a point that would be 60 degrees away from vertical. The inter-transversarii, interspinalis, rotors, and multifidus will also serve to stabilize the vertebrae and discs. In the conventional deadlift, the torso is inclined far more than in the sumo style, in direct contrast to recommendations for a more erect torso to reduce shear force on the lumbar vertebrae (4, 9, 12).
As the bar travels past the knees, and up the thighs, several key points must be noted. It is imperative that the knees not re-bend once they have begun to straighten. In addition to the extra strain this will put on the ligaments and tendons, secondary flexion of the knees (hitching) is cause for disqualification during a competition. Another mistake that is often made as the lift nears completion is the lifter will try to pull the torso back, when it is far easier to simply push the hips forward. This technique will allow the athlete to shift some of the strain from the erectors to the larger muscles of the hips, including the gluteus. At the top of the lift, the shoulders should be pulled back to indicate the completion of the lift. This is not necessary for routine training of the deadlift, but a powerlifter should practice this to avoid unnecessary red lights.
The major difference that occurs in the sumo deadlift is the placement of the feet. They are placed much wider, sometimes even twice shoulder width, although this is an extreme. The toes are turned outward, sometimes to the point where the angle of the feet approaches 160 degrees. There are several biomechanical advantages to this stance. The distance the bar must travel is greatly lessened as the hip angle is on average 12 degrees greater than the hip angles of conventional deadlifters, while the knee angle is approximately 13 degrees greater. (7, 12) The trunk angle is significantly closer to vertical, which, from a pure safety standpoint, the sumo stance decreases both L4/L5 moments as well as shear forces. (4) Furthermore, the sumo stance allows the lifter to keep the bar closer to the body, which shortens the movement arm to the lumbar spine. (12) This stance can reduce the total distance the bar travels by as much as 25 – 40%. (7)
The functional technique in the deadlift is different as well. The athlete pulling a conventional deadlift will push straight down with the feet, whereas in the sumo deadlift, the knees must be pushed out over the toes. This is important, to avoid lateral shear force on the knee, as well as the fact that it allows the lifter to engage the larger muscles of the hips earlier than in the conventional stance. As a function of the bar being closer to the lifter, it will contact the legs earlier. As the bar slides up the thighs, it is important to ensure that the fingers of the pronated hand are not torn open by the friction thus generated. A modest amount of baby powder or talcum may be applied to the legs to reduce the chance of this occurring.
One factor that has not been discussed that makes the deadlift unique among the three powerlifts is that unlike the squat and bench, there is no eccentric (lengthening, or lowering) portion prior to the concentric (shortening, or raising) of the bar. This has the function of negating the stretch reflex, a fact that is often overlooked by many athletes and coaches alike. There is a way of generating a small stretch reflex, which may help when initiating the lift, but nothing like the reflex that can be generated during the other two powerlifts. In the conventional stance, a slight rocking of the hips, which will cause the knees to flex as well, can be employed. The lift should be initiated when the hips are at the lowest point, and this movement must occur rapidly. Care must be taken when doing this, as if the hips descend too far, the lifter will be at a biomechanical disadvantage.
Unsurprisingly, there is a difference when using this technique when pulling sumo. This technique (often called ‘diving’) can allow the sumo lifter to generate a greater stretch reflex without moving out of position, unlike the conventional deadlift. Because the feet are father apart, instead of just raising and lowering the hips, the hips should be lowered rapidly then thrust forward at the bottom of the descent. This allows not only for a greater stretch reflex, but for an even more erect torso than lifters who pull from a static position.
Variations on the deadlift
There are several varieties of the deadlift, and can be used not only to assist in deadlift training, but can also significantly strengthen muscles that can be impeding progress in another lift. Some of these lifts can be used in place of the deadlift during training as well.
One of the most common variations of the deadlift is the partial deadlift, or rack lockout. These are usually performed in a power rack, with the pins set at a variety of heights. Pulls can be done from one inch above the deck to a couple of inches below lockout. As a general rule, the shorter the ROM, the more weight that can be handled. The primary function of the partial deadlift is to not only overload the muscles of the back, as well as increase motor recruitment. (5, 18) At times, the amount of weight that can be handled during the execution of a short range of motion rack pull can be so great that it surpasses the amount of weight the athlete can hold. In this case, it may be necessary to employ straps to secure the weight. (6)
Another common variation is the stiff-legged deadlift (SLDL) which will work the hamstrings to a much greater degree than the conventional deadlift. (2, 10) This lift should begin just like a conventional deadlift, and should be pulled to the top in the same manner. The knees will be stiff, but not locked, as the bar is lowered as far as possible without allowing the back to round. The lower back should remain arched throughout the entire lift, and if the back begins to round despite the best attempts of the athlete, it is necessary at this point to begin the concentric portion of the lift and raise the bar. The bar will travel away from the lifter as the hips are flexed progressively. There is greater torque on the hips and lumbar areas because of the greater horizontal distance from the bar to the base of the support than in the conventional deadlift. (3, 4, 17)
Despite the fact that numerous “muscle mags” often illustrate a lifter performing this exercise while elevated, this should be avoided by all at first and most athletes for the duration of their career. The greater the range of motion, the greater the chance of lifting with a kyphotic (round back) posture. (10) Artificially increasing the ROM will serve only to increase the chances of this occurring. It must also be noted that a comprehensive stretching program is essential to not only athletes, but everyone wishing to improve the ROM of this exercise.
The Romanian Deadlift (RDL) is used primarily to strengthen the hamstrings, gluteus, and lower back, although this technique causes less stress to the lumbar area. Unlike the SLDL, the RDL is initiated from the floor, although the set up is roughly in-between that of the conventional deadlift and the SLDL. (23) During the ascension, the knees should begin to straighten in advance of the hips, with the goal of keep the torso at the same angle as in the beginning of the lift for as long as possible. This should occur while maintaining normal spinal curvature. Pulling in such a manner allows the athlete to keep the bar closer to the base of support, decreasing the strain on the lumbar area when compared to the SLDL. As the knees fully straighten, the hips shall travel toward the rear slightly, then the hips are then powerfully flexed, fully utilizing the hamstrings and erectors to complete the lift. This lift is often performed by Olympic style weightlifters to increase the strength of the clean pull.
Another variation that is not often performed is the Snatch Grip Deadlift (SGL). This version of the deadlift is similar to a conventional deadlift, with the only difference occurring in the placement of the hands upon the bar. The grip is at least one and a half times shoulder width, while larger lifters will often grip collar to collar. A good general guide to novices is to extended the arms out to the sides, then bend only at the elbow. The bar should be held at approximately the width of the elbows. The difficulty of maintaining the grip in such a position, as the mixed grip cannot be used, will require the used of straps for those not very experienced in utilizing the hook grip. This lift will further stress the musculature of the upper back, particularly the trapezius. (19) This lift is often performed by Olympic style weightlifters to increase power of the first pull, making it easier for the athlete to raise weights from the deck.
A simple method of increasing the ROM of a deadlift is for the athlete to stand on a block. Once again, care must be taken to avoid kyphotic lifting posture. The increase in ROM will necessitate a decrease in weight.
There are far too many methods of training to improve the deadlift to list here. A few will be briefly discussed.
Periodization. This is a simple yet effective method of decreasing the volume while increasing the weight. This process occurs over a period of weeks or months. It is by far the most common method of training, although lifters are branching out in new directions daily. This method has been discussed in great detail in numerous other works, and will not be discussed further here.
Conjugate Training. This is a system of training the musculature of the lift without overtraining the CNS with respect to a single lift. The deadlift is not trained heavy throughout the cycle, and in some training cycles, may be trained only rarely. This method was first used in Olympic weightlifting by the incredibly successful Soviet Dynamo Club.(24) It was later used by the original Westside Barbell Club in the 1960’s and 1970’s, as well as some lifters on the East coast, including Bill Starr, a former Olympic weightlifter turned coach. (21). It is currently the system employed by the new Westside Barbell Club, of Columbus, Ohio, under the coaching of Louie Simmons, the most successful coach in powerlifting history.(20) This method will involve heavy assistance work for the lift itself, such as partial deadlifts, good mornings, etc. A list of assistance exercises can be found at: www.elitefts.com
An interesting variation for training the deadlift was employed by the great Don Rheinholdt, the first man to squat 900 lbs. in competition as well as being one of the first to deadlift over 800 lbs. He would set up with his opener in the power rack eight inches off of the deck, and pull it. He would then drop the pins one inch every week until the week before the meet, when the plates were just a single inch off of the floor. This allowed him to preserve his lower back while maintaining proper form.
A final word on a couple of myths. Numerous “experts” have cautioned against utilizing the deadlift, incorrectly stating that it is hazardous to perform. This is true, if the above cautions are not employed. While there can be a place for round back lifting in the program of the highly advanced lifter, this is a mistake for most and will not be discussed further. Other self proclaimed authorities state that you must wear a belt when deadlifting. A belt can help increase intra-abdominal pressure, as well as increase the force generated when deadlifting. However, the majority of the deadlifting done by any athlete should be performed without a belt to further recruit the core muscles (abdominals, obliques, etc.).
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2. Baker, G. Exercise of the month. Strength Cond. J. 16:54-55.1994.
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4. Cholewicki, J., McGill, S.M., and R.W. Norman. Lumbar spine loads during the lifting of extremely heavy weights. Med. Sci. Sports Exerc. 23:1179-1186. 1986.
5. Daniels, D. Partial lifts, partial results. Powerlifting USA. 17:27 1993.
6. Daniels, D. Lifting straps. Powerlifting USA. 19:17 1996.
7. Escamilla, R.F. et al. A three-dimensional biomechanical analysis of sumo and conventional style deadlifts. Med. Sci. Sports Exerc., 32(7): 1265-1275. 2000.
8. Enoka, R.M. Neuromechanical Basis of Kinesiology. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics, 988.
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10. Gardner, P.J. and Cole, D. The stiff-legged deadlift. Strength Cond. J. 21:7-14. 1999.
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13. Horn, T.S. A biomechanical comparison of sumo and conventional deadlifting techniques. Int. J. Sports Med. 9:150. 1988.
14. Jones, L. USWF Club Coach Accreditation Course: Club Coach Manual. Colorado Springs, CO: U.S. Weightlifting Federation. 1991
15. Kraemer, W.J. and Fleck, S.J. Strength Training for Young Athletes. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics. 1993.
16. McLaughin, T.M., Dillman, C.J., and Lardner, T.J. A Kinematic model of performance in the parallel squat by champion powerlifters. Med. Sci. Sports Exerc. 9:128-133. 1977.
17. McGuigan, M.R.M., and B.D. Wilson. Biomechanical analysis of the deadlift. J. Strength Cond. Res. 10:250-255. 1996.
18. Piper, T.J. and Waller, M. Variations of the deadlift. Strength Cond. J. 23: (3) 66-73).
19. Rasch, P.J. Weight Training (2nd ed.). Dubuque, IA: Wm. C. Brown Company Publishers. 1975.
20. Simmons, L. So you want to deadlift. Powerlifting USA. 17:34-35. 1994.
21. Starr, B. Deadlift without deadlifting. Powerlifting USA. 18:10-11. 1995.
22. Tate, D. Top Ten deadlifting mistakes.
23. Whaley, O., and McClure, R. Another perspective on teaching the pulling movements. Strength Cond. J. 19:58-61. 1997.
24. Zatsiorsky, V.M. Science and Practice of Strength Training. Champaign IL. Human Kinetics. 1995.
25. Zinc, A. J., Whiting, W.C., Vincent, W.J., and McLaine, A.J. The effects of a weight belt on trunk and leg muscle activity and joint kinematics during the squat exercise. J. Strength Cond. Res. 15(2):235-240. 1994.
Last edited by Reinier; 01-12-2004 at 06:00 AM.
Good for you dude. Keep it up. Now go and squat too!
Stats: Age: 34 Weight: 205 Height: 5'6"
Gym PRs: Squat:635 Bench:560 Deadlift:495
Meet PRs: Squat:575 Bench:520 Deadlift:510 Total: 1605@220
deadlifts are superior! I've just started dling (4 weeks to be exact) and I can see advantages already. Keep up the good work! btw what weight are using now?
Past (4Jul05) | Present (22Nov05)
Weight - 205 | 217
BF - 26% | 22%
Max Bench - 230| 295
Max Dead - 240 | 275
Max Squat - 240 | 315
Total:  | 
What exactly does it mean to have your shoulders "back"? I've been trying to figure this out for a while now.
Originally Posted by METALASIAN
At the very end of the lift, you can see lifter roll their shoulders back. Almost like like you are squeezing you shoulder blades together.
Muchas gracias.Originally Posted by Max-Mex
One thing, be sure that at the top of the motion your arms are not beant at the elbow. Turning it into a shrug at the top like that will just weaken your forearms and thus your grip, therefore limiting your reps.Originally Posted by Max-Mex
"Remember not only to say the right thing in the right place, but far more difficult still, to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment."
07-31-09 - 6'4" 220 lb.
Originally Posted by pfc3rex
i usually do 135x6 to warmup with a snatch grip, then 185x5 or 6 with wide grip too. then i move to 225x6 with a little close grip. i usually finish off with either 265x3 or 275 x 2. and my max now is 300x1 with a belt.
I injured my back stupidly once, and it hurt for eight months. Ever since then, little things, such as slipping on a bit of water or ice, or taking out the trash will aggravate it, and cause me serious pan for weeks. I'm only 25, so it was disheartening to say the least to think that my back was F'd for life at such a young age.
I started deadlifting in January, and I've never felt so good. I started VERY LIGHT. I can lift anything I want, and never get pain. I even hurt my back squatting about 6 weeks ago, and that night I could barely get off of the floor. Just 4 days later, I felt good enough to dealift 300lbs, which was a PR. My back is not only stronger, but more duarable, and heals more quickly. Deadlifts, and all the back movements I do are the reason..I'm sure of it.
Keep doing deadlifts, its a good thing.
You're gonna like the way you look. I guarantee it.