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  1. #1
    Registered User jerseyjuice's Avatar
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    Seems I can’t nail down proper deadlift form. Help me prevent slipping a disk.

    I’ve deadlifted on and off for years and, no matter what, it seems I cannot perfect my form.

    I feel like I know the proper form, I’ve watched videos from the likes of Alan Thrall and Joe DeFranco.

    I understand the cues and placements. And yet, even after relatively light lifts, I feel some slight discomfort in my mid and lower back.

    Remove spaces below to see video.


    htt ps://youtu.be/8nK hME4UfnA
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  2. #2
    Registered User nissan2's Avatar
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    I can't seem to get the video to work, but one thing that helped my deadlifts exponentially, was learning how to fill my stomach up with a deep breath and holding my breath throughout the lift, whilst tensing my abs as hard as i can. It helps keep me tight and makes my lifts feel a lot easier.
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  3. #3
    Han shot first! TolerantLactose's Avatar
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    I'm not seeing you brace your back or engaging your lats. You're also not pulling the slack out of the bar.
    I can tell time. Time cannot tell me.

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    Registered User BromanianDL's Avatar
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    It looks like you don't have the flexibility to properly deadlift. I would switch to RDL's or sumo. If you RDL and pause and stretch at the bottom, you can slowly build your mobility and maybe one day you can properly deadlift.
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    Registered User jerseyjuice's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by TolerantLactose View Post
    I'm not seeing you brace your back or engaging your lats. You're also not pulling the slack out of the bar.
    I feel like I am doing both of those things though.
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  6. #6
    Registered User jerseyjuice's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by BromanianDL View Post
    It looks like you don't have the flexibility to properly deadlift. I would switch to RDL's or sumo. If you RDL and pause and stretch at the bottom, you can slowly build your mobility and maybe one day you can properly deadlift.
    Wait, really? I had no idea my flexibility could be an issue. What in the video brings that to light?
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    Han shot first! TolerantLactose's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by jerseyjuice View Post
    I feel like I am doing both of those things though.
    Your back is flexed when you're set up and at the end of the reps.
    I can tell time. Time cannot tell me.

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  8. #8
    Registered User WolfRose7's Avatar
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    Back is fine, you can pull more rounded than that. (it's a common and very unsupported trend that people have jumped on that round back pulling is inherently more injurious than flat, this is not justified)

    flexibility is not an issue, that's just BS.

    You can breath and brace better, try breathing at the top before you set up if you struggle to get enough air at the bottom,
    You can crank your pits harder to get your lats on
    You need to stop looking in the mirror, it's just a distraction
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    Originally Posted by WolfRose7 View Post
    Back is fine, you can pull more rounded than that. (it's a common and very unsupported trend that people have jumped on that round back pulling is inherently more injurious than flat, this is not justified)
    Most cases I would agree but OP has discomfort in his back when he pulls.
    I can tell time. Time cannot tell me.

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  10. #10
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    Originally Posted by jerseyjuice View Post
    I’ve deadlifted on and off for years and, no matter what, it seems I cannot perfect my form.

    I feel like I know the proper form, I’ve watched videos from the likes of Alan Thrall and Joe DeFranco.

    I understand the cues and placements. And yet, even after relatively light lifts, I feel some slight discomfort in my mid and lower back...
    You can disagree with the approach to the bar and you can disagree with the breathing method, but if you initiate the actual concentric and eccentric as per the video, you have automatically engaged the right muscles:

    It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.

    It's easy to not be afraid of tigers when you're sitting in your living room watching a television program about tigers. When you're in the jungle where the tigers are, it's quite a different story.
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  11. #11
    Registered User ncsuLuke's Avatar
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    Have you thought of just not deadlifting? It might seem like heresy but unless you are looking to compete you don't need to do the lift.
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  12. #12
    Registered User jerseyjuice's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by ncsuLuke View Post
    Have you thought of just not deadlifting? It might seem like heresy but unless you are looking to compete you don't need to do the lift.
    Trust me, I sure have. But after years of hearing how it’s the best exercise for size and strength, it seems like a bad idea to eliminate it. Certainly more so if my form isn’t far off from being proper.

    That said, I’m not opposed to eliminating it. The 531 program I’m running, however, calls for it and I’d need to supplant it with something else.

    Perhaps rack pulls?
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  13. #13
    Registered User vristang's Avatar
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    Do rack pulls not irritate your back?

    I would suggest going hard on hypers and RDL's. Go for volume/pump to build those low back muscles.
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    Registered User ncsuLuke's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by jerseyjuice View Post
    Trust me, I sure have. But after years of hearing how it’s the best exercise for size and strength, it seems like a bad idea to eliminate it. Certainly more so if my form isn’t far off from being proper.

    That said, I’m not opposed to eliminating it. The 531 program I’m running, however, calls for it and I’d need to supplant it with something else.

    Perhaps rack pulls?
    Don't get me wrong, I love deadlifts, it's my favorite lift. That said, it's not exactly important for hypertrophy. If that was the only back work you could do you would have a pretty poor looking back. I'd much rather do rows and rack pulls or RDLs.
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  15. #15
    Registered User jerseyjuice's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by vristang View Post
    Do rack pulls not irritate your back?

    I would suggest going hard on hypers and RDL's. Go for volume/pump to build those low back muscles.
    I haven’t done rack pulls with any type of consistency but I imagine they’d bother me less as the ROM is less.

    Worth trying? Can I sub those in for deadlifts in my 531 routine?
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  16. #16
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    Originally Posted by jerseyjuice View Post
    I haven’t done rack pulls with any type of consistency but I imagine they’d bother me less as the ROM is less.

    Worth trying? Can I sub those in for deadlifts in my 531 routine?
    Would strongly advise against it. Rack pulls done from a useful height, (mid shin) are a harder and hit your lower back more than deadlifts.

    Romanian deadlifts would be a better susbtitue
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    Registered User jerseyjuice's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by WolfRose7 View Post
    Would strongly advise against it. Rack pulls done from a useful height, (mid shin) are a harder and hit your lower back more than deadlifts.

    Romanian deadlifts would be a better susbtitue
    Aren’t RDL’s more of a leg exercise than traditional deadlifts?

    If I’m correct (and I may very well not be), then shouldn’t I sub DL’s with something more back-focused?
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    Originally Posted by jerseyjuice View Post
    Aren’t RDL’s more of a leg exercise than traditional deadlifts?

    If I’m correct (and I may very well not be), then shouldn’t I sub DL’s with something more back-focused?
    They are more of a hinge, less quad more ham n glute.
    Considering your bracing needs work no I wouldn't sub a harder lower back variation.
    If you are worried about lower back development and strength then do back extensions on a glute ham raise as a supplemental movement
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  19. #19
    Registered User jerseyjuice's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by WolfRose7 View Post
    They are more of a hinge, less quad more ham n glute.
    Considering your bracing needs work no I wouldn't sub a harder lower back variation.
    If you are worried about lower back development and strength then do back extensions on a glute ham raise as a supplemental movement
    Got it. So RDL + back extensions could be a worthy replacement until I am ready to move back to traditional DL?
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  20. #20
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    Originally Posted by jerseyjuice View Post
    Got it. So RDL + back extensions could be a worthy replacement until I am ready to move back to traditional DL?
    Definitely
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    Originally Posted by jerseyjuice View Post
    Got it. So RDL + back extensions could be a worthy replacement until I am ready to move back to traditional DL?
    Here's the back extension techniques. Hip placement is just about everthing.

    https://bodyrecomposition.com/traini...echnique.html/
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    I second RDL + back extensions. I think back extensions really helped me with my back issues. I have no scientific backup, just N=1 short term observation.

    Deadlift and RDL both hit my lower back hard, but isometrically. When the weight is too much, my lower back rounds and suddenly can't handle it. Spectacular failure ensues and back strains. Add back extensions through full range of motion (don't bend at the hips, keep glutes squeezes the whole time). I was WEAK AF on this a couple weeks ago - bodyweight was hard. Now I'm up to sets with 35 lbs and my back is much better equipped to handle slight deviations from flat.

    In addition, I believe my long torso makes conventional put more strain on my back than typical (just a guess, I could be wrong). I switched to sumo and I seem to be getting a much more even workout through legs and back vs only lower back.
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    Originally Posted by jademonkey View Post
    I second RDL + back extensions. I think back extensions really helped me with my back issues. I have no scientific backup, just N=1 short term observation.

    Deadlift and RDL both hit my lower back hard, but isometrically. When the weight is too much, my lower back rounds and suddenly can't handle it. Spectacular failure ensues and back strains. Add back extensions through full range of motion (don't bend at the hips, keep glutes squeezes the whole time). I was WEAK AF on this a couple weeks ago - bodyweight was hard. Now I'm up to sets with 35 lbs and my back is much better equipped to handle slight deviations from flat.

    In addition, I believe my long torso makes conventional put more strain on my back than typical (just a guess, I could be wrong). I switched to sumo and I seem to be getting a much more even workout through legs and back vs only lower back.
    Usually, I like 'full range of motion', but for hypers, the top half is the real benefit. Before I had a back extension apparatus, I improvised off a bench with my feet hooked under a weight stack. I started full ROM when I got the hyper chair, but never felt the same benefit. Then, I read Dan John talking about hypers and the top half and I went back to that ROM. My heavy set is 180 lbs and I can easily do it full ROM. I don't, though, because the bottom half is a waste of time.

    There are two hip placements; above or below the top of the pad. What does "don't bend at the hips" mean?
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    Sometimes deadlifting from the floor is too much of a range of motion. Try deadlifting off a low setting in the rack. If you start from a higher position it will be less likely to hurt your back.

    There are a lot of videos out there explaining how Romanian deadlifts help you be able to deadlift safely off the floor. Alan thrall, someone you mentioned, actually has a good video about the Romanian deadlift & there are lots of others too.

    What's Romanian deadlifts, you keep your lower back straight, and about a 20 degree Bend in your legs. When you go down far enough, you will feel a big stretch through your hamstrings. Then you come back up and repeat. Don't go down any further than you comfortably can. The point is to only go down to where your hamstrings want to go, not to make any extra range of motion with your lower back rounding.

    Once your hamstrings develop the mobility and strength, you will be able to safely deadlift from the floor again. There might be other factors too, but this will be a big help.
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    Originally Posted by supramax View Post
    Usually, I like 'full range of motion', but for hypers, the top half is the real benefit. Before I had a back extension apparatus, I improvised off a bench with my feet hooked under a weight stack. I started full ROM when I got the hyper chair, but never felt the same benefit. Then, I read Dan John talking about hypers and the top half and I went back to that ROM. My heavy set is 180 lbs and I can easily do it full ROM. I don't, though, because the bottom half is a waste of time.

    There are two hip placements; above or below the top of the pad. What does "don't bend at the hips" mean?
    Don't bend at the hips means move the back vs move the hips. Set the pad above hip bone so the hips are locked in place.

    When you say you don't like full ROM do you mean you don't like full lower back extension (bending forwards)? I have to check next time. I round my back til it feels "right" and then straighten it again.
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    Originally Posted by jademonkey View Post
    Don't bend at the hips means move the back vs move the hips. Set the pad above hip bone so the hips are locked in place.
    That's how I do it. I actually hate the hips above the pad way... it burns my hamstrings. I get enough work with swings and RDLs.

    Originally Posted by jademonkey View Post
    When you say you don't like full ROM do you mean you don't like full lower back extension (bending forwards)? I have to check next time. I round my back til it feels "right" and then straighten it again.
    I said the bottom half is useless. The top half is where you get the major benefit.
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    Some really awesome advice in here.

    What’s everyone’s favorite technique videos for both RDL and extensions?
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    Originally Posted by jerseyjuice View Post
    Some really awesome advice in here.

    What’s everyone’s favorite technique videos for both RDL and extensions?
    RDL:



    I don't have one for hypers. I just marry Dan Johns' advice to the specific technique I happen to be using as per: https://bodyrecomposition.com/traini...echnique.html/
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    Hyperextensions aren't a very complicated exercise, so there's probably a lot of less-technical videos on them compared to DL etc...
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