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Old 01-02-2012, 06:17 PM   #1
Adam Shreim
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315# Deadlift form critique

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=axq5r2nYT7I (WFS)

Hey guys,

I am posting this as a response to another thread in the Exercises sections (List your deadlift 1RM and your bodyweight). In that thread I complained that I had been stuck at 315-335# deadlift for a while (Sept. 22, 2010 to be exact). [edit: I am M/26, 5' 6.5", 192# at a high body fat % (probably 23-24)]

However, I have been on and off due to underways, affiliate closings, ect. Now I have the time to workout everyday and have started doing a Starting Strength program. I am following the Novice program without any alterations except I am not doing GOMAD. My body weight has increased from 172# to 198# and it is all fat. [edit: I increased to 22 zone blocks on a paleo + light dairy diet]

So, for the lift in the video: I reached week 3, day 1 (today) and today was supposed to be 310X5, but I got lazy and decided I would just do 315 and try to get at least 3-4 reps. This was a terrible idea and I will never jump in weight before it is due, again. I warmed up with 135X5, 245X5, 285X3 and then put 315 on the bar. I hit 315 once - with very strict form - but there was just no way I could get another rep (at least it felt that way). I put the bar down, took a break and came back to it. Second try at 315 - the bar didn't even move. I got irritated, buckled down and did it again in 2 minutes. This video is the 3rd rep (but 5th attempt). I was not happy with the lift in this video, at all, but I figured there was no reason for me to post a video of a lift I felt was about as close to good form as my body/brain knows.

I usually do not even pull the bar from the ground if the lift starts out like this, but because I asked to wife (who was busy) to record it - I told myself I "will lift this no matter what it looks like."

From here, I would also lovingly accept any suggestions to help me try and target my deadlift to increase the max. I feel like my biggest struggle is the initial pull from the ground. I have been on and off so I understand my progression will not be as linear as somebody who can workout year-round.

Some things I have tried: 5/3/1, I did 3 cycles of 5/3/1 with deadlift on Monday. I would do this before mainsite WODs, every week (Press on Tues, Squat on Thurs, Bench on Fri, ect.) I worked up to 345 as my plugged-in max and I was hitting 305X5, which calculated out to 356.

I have been doing SS, which I clearly over-estimated the weight I could lift on it. I did do 305X5 last Wednesday and it was pretty solid. I hit a total wall at 315 for anything more than a single, today.

I have worked with former strongmen and power lifters and studied the crap out of SS. I have researched coaching point videos from Rippetoe, Dave Tate and Louie Simmons.

I absolutely dread doing deadlifts, now. I have read that "Good Mornings" may help me out. I may try doing lighter deadlifts with chains or something, but I really just can't figure it out. It feels weird at the base of my spine/back whenever I do 315# or more.

Looking back at the Sept 22, 2010 blog entry from my CFT my totals were 150# Press, 245# Squat and 335# Deadlift. I currently have a 168.5# Press, I just did 245X5X3 today on my Back Squat and my deadlift still sucks. My bench press has increased to 235 and my power clean went from 185 to 215.

Last edited by Adam Shreim : 01-02-2012 at 06:27 PM.
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Old 01-02-2012, 06:59 PM   #2
Robert Fabsik
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Re: 315# Deadlift form critique

Looks like as you started to pull the bar started to go forward and your back started to round. Keep the bar as close to you as possible and keep the chest up so that the back doesn't round.
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Old 01-02-2012, 08:43 PM   #3
Robert Walsh
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Re: 315# Deadlift form critique

here's an out-of-left-field comment:

I've struggled with deadlifts and always dreaded bending over to pick-up a heavy barbell. One thing that really changed this and allowed me to get into really good position was to take a lacrosse ball and get deep in my hamstrings (back of leg). There are a couple different muscles back there that were all knotted up. Now, especially before DL or cleans, I make sure to really dig in and work on my business.
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Old 01-03-2012, 03:17 PM   #4
Adam Shreim
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Re: 315# Deadlift form critique

I think I am misunderstanding my body during the lift. I went a revisited the lift at 135# and I believe I am "over-thinking" keeping my back flat to a point where I kind of 'mute' my chest. Once it gets heavy I let my chest lower "trying to keep my back straight" - on accident - which is definitely causing the failure in the first place.

I'll take both suggestions and put them to use.
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Old 01-03-2012, 07:56 PM   #5
Robert Walsh
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Re: 315# Deadlift form critique

this is how i go..

1. address the bar, standing straight with it over mid-foot
2. take a breathe and set the core
3. bend over (very important to have hamstrings/hips mobile so you can get into good position)
4. grip the bar, load the hamstrings, pull
5. squeeze glutes after bar passes your knee

generally your back+core has to be tight in order for the hamstrings to load properly
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Old 01-04-2012, 09:46 PM   #6
Jeff Binek
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Re: 315# Deadlift form critique

Lift heavy, lift often and learn to tighten up your entire body. Eat plenty of protein. Do auxiliary lifts - For the deadlift you need to do:
Heavy Back Squats (In my opinion more important than deadlifting)
Glute-Ham Raises
Good Mornings
Kroc Rows
Heavy Weighted Planks
Heavy Weighted Ab Work (Sit-Ups, GHD Sit-Ups, Weighted T2B, Overhead Squats)
Weighted Pull-Ups
Power Cleans
Atlas Stones
Farmers Carries

Again, in my opinion if you just deadlift heavy once a week (and on top of that don't follow the program properly on that once a week) you will see minimal gains. If you Deadlift heavy 2-3 times a month, and do the rest of these lifts heavy and for weight the rest of the time you will see your deadlift jump up. Personally I stopped deadlifting heavy in August (outside of maybe once a month in a metcon) - Did all of the above plenty (read: a ton) - My deadlift jumped from 455 to 505 in November, then from 505 to 525 in December, and got 500 x 3 a few weeks later in December.

Your lift does not look bad, it doesn't appear to be a mechanics issue to me, just need to get stronger.
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My Numbers: 6'2" 225lbs: DL 565, BS 455, FS 400, Clean 330, Jerk 325, C&J 325, Snatch 250, Fran: 2:27, Helen: 6:43

Last edited by Jeff Binek : 01-04-2012 at 09:50 PM.
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Old 01-04-2012, 10:12 PM   #7
Adam Shreim
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Re: 315# Deadlift form critique

Thanks - I will incorporate those heavy lifts into my program. I am already back squatting 3 times a week, at this point. Increasing 5 pounds per day at a steady pace.
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Old 01-05-2012, 01:31 AM   #8
Dustin Wintczak
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Re: 315# Deadlift form critique

Don't discount the mental aspect of pulling a heavy deadlift. Especially if you're going for a 1RM. Before I step up to the bar I visualize myself pulling the weight, I think about how it's going to feel and how I'm going to accelerate past my knees and not let the bar get stuck. When you step up to the bar, you know you're going to lift it.
It sounds like you've done a lot of reading and studying programs, form etc. but you maybe it's the old analysis paralysis when you're getting ready to lift. Keep it simple and believe you can do it. Just my two cents. Good luck!
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Old 01-07-2012, 05:56 PM   #9
Adam Shreim
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Re: 315# Deadlift form critique

Today I haven't even been able to pull 295# off the floor. I will probably end up breaking something pretty soon. It feels like I have some sort of fear or mental block with the deadlift, now. I kept the warm-up small (135X5, 225X5, 275X3) before this final set. I took it back from 305 to 295 to be on the safer side - the same weight I used on the very first day of the very first week I started this program and now I can't even get a single rep. Looking back at the past few weeks I did 295X5, 297X5, 300X5 all just fine, too. At least my back squat has increased by 45#...

Looks like I have a date with a high ceiling, some strong rope and very unstable chair if this keeps up

[edit] Now 275# won't budge. I will probably try subbing out DLs for some of the exercises Jeff mentioned and won't touch a deadlift for at least 3 or 4 weeks.

Last edited by Adam Shreim : 01-07-2012 at 06:06 PM.
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Old 01-07-2012, 06:24 PM   #10
Adam Carlson
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Re: 315# Deadlift form critique

Sometimes analyzing the movement, what your body is doing, proper loading of the system, etc, is great and beneficial.

Other times, it will majorly get in the way. This might be one of those times.

Are your feet set with weight on the heels consistently?
Is your back set and tight consistently?
Are you visualizing pressing the ground away (instead of picking the bar up) consistently?
Is the bar traveling against your body (instead of moving away from the body) consistently?

Those are just some of the main points, but if you have the major points right, then stop overthinking, and pick it up. Find 2 or 3 cues that work for you, and just think about those things.

One other thing: try deadlifting bear foot. I know Inov-8s are great, but they aren't lifting shoes, and they won't give you a mechanical advantage for heavy lifting of any kind. Being bear foot might help, since you won't have a squishy heal diverting some of the force your trying to use.
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