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Jeff Oldham 01-27-2006 01:51 PM

I generally work out by myself but recently I had an opportunity to have someone check my form on deadlift. Apparently, I'm really rounding my lower back. I've always had really tight hamstrings so I'm sure that's the problem. And, I'm working on it. However, my deadlift is really improving and I hate to drop the weight back down. My question is: should I drop the weight until I can get my lower back flat?, stay at the current weight and try to fight through it?, or punt on deadlifts until I can get more flexibility in my hamstrings? {The last may be a lifetime venture.} Any input is appreciated. Thanks.

Yoon Sohn 01-27-2006 02:22 PM

Hi Jeff,
I would say to definitely scale the weight back in order to work on form/flexibility. I completely understand the frustration of reducing weight, but I feel you'll benefit a lot more in the long run this way. Besides, you may be surprised at how fast you can rebound once you have the form/flexibility nailed down.

Hopefully a more experienced member here can offer you some specific tips.

Good luck!

Don Stevenson 01-27-2006 09:59 PM

Maximal deadlifts are not an exercise where i'd like to compromise form for weight.

I'd suggest backing off and working on your flexibility but don't give up deadlifts altogether.

If you can post some pics in the digital coaching forum then we can have a proper look at it and maybe diagnose the problem.

Butch White 01-28-2006 09:56 PM

Jeff - I'm in with Yoon and Don on this one. I've actually done exactly what you've described... cut back on the weight to focus on my DL form/technique, starting with the last 5-5-5-5-5 DL WOD. I got Rippetoe's book (Starting Strength) and learned quickly that my DL form was in need of some work. I videotaped the last DL workout (from the side) and that really helped me maintain a flat back back as the weight got heavier.

Mike Yukish 01-29-2006 06:30 AM

Use the point at which form breaks as your PR, not the point at which you can't lift the weight.

I found having a mirror in the gym helps me for this. I turn sideways to the mirror for deads, and take a good look at my starting position before starting the pull to verify my back is squared away. Turns out when I was going by feel alone, I'd almost always have a hint of rounding in it. I've pretty much got it calibrated now.

Neal Winkler 01-29-2006 07:52 AM

[i]Use the point at which form breaks as your PR, not the point at which you can't lift the weight. [/i]

I think this is a good point for any lift.

Michael Ernest Estrada 01-31-2006 10:18 PM

I hope I can shed some light on the DL. being a former state and national powerlifting champion in the 165lb class and now a crossfit junkie,Keep the weight light at first,form is everything in this lift.Keep your Butt low and stay on your heels, keep the back flat and do not round your shoulders. Drive with your legs and remember stay on your heels.The reason you are rounding your back is because you are shooting your butt up to soon and you are on your toes, NOT GOOD.the bar should rub your shins all the way up. you will get about 3/4 of the way up then shoot your hips forward and that will help you lock out the lift. hope this helps. Mike

Ryan Norman 01-31-2006 11:23 PM

Thats a great, concise description.

Rob McBee 02-01-2006 12:43 PM

Sept. '04 issue of MILO has a great article, among others, on the DL by Bill Starr. Covers all the bases. I just re-read it yesterday coincidentally.

Petr Ruzicka 02-02-2006 06:01 AM

Michael, you mentioned that bar should rub shins. I do have bloody shins all the time from deadlift...
Is it correct ?
I do not mind (well I do a little), but I do understand how others in my gym look at my bleeding skin :o(

Michael Ernest Estrada 02-02-2006 06:26 AM

Hello Peter, sounds like you are doing it right, bloody shins, man i remember those day.Now keep the butt low and drive with your legs and once the bar is over the knees start to push those hips forward and lock out.Do not train with a reverse grip on one hand, only with 3 reps and below.Keep the grip like you were doing a pull up.It makes the grip stronger and does not put a hitch in the back.Mike

Michael Ernest Estrada 02-02-2006 06:29 AM

Oh and by the way I am a crossfit junkie now. I mix it in with my brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. I do one day of crossfit and jiu-jitsu the next, so on and so on.I rest when my 49 year old body tells me too,LOL.Mike

Matthew Nielsen 02-02-2006 06:37 AM

What is a "hitch in the back"?

Petr Ruzicka 02-02-2006 08:23 AM

I understand it as muscle disbalance ?

Michael thanks, I do deads with grip as you described, it just feel better and I do not have problem with my grip (yet). My poundages are still low but I do improve in time :o)

Matt Cusack 02-02-2006 12:52 PM

I had the same issue then I started doing Romanian DL's which at first killed my hamstrings but I feel it has helped with my hamstrings and more so arching my back better.

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