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  1. #1
    Registered User EliKoehn's Avatar
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    Conventional deadlift: is mid-foot *always* the best bar placement on setup?

    Here, I've got the bar directly over mid-foot on setup and have bent my knees forward until my shins are against the bar prior to initiating each rep. Yet I'm still told that the bar is too far in front of me, my hips are too high, I'm going to goof up my lower back, etc. I certainly feel the strongest with this setup, but that aside, mechanically, what could I even do differently to "correct" my form without either increasing the range of motion or making the bar path disadvantageous? Is there even anything wrong with how I'm doing this? It feels perfectly fine and I can pull at my maximum this way. I suspect a lot of the criticism comes from guys who are shorter than 6 feet and must lower hips significantly more to get into position.

    The only thing that comes to mind as a possible setup correction is starting with the bar closer to the base of the foot. Is this a better cue for taller lifters, or is mid-foot always the best setup position?



    Thoughts and a general form check appreciated, especially from people who are taller and have good experience with the conventional deadlift.

    If it helps to know:
    Height: 6'2"
    Wingspan: 70"
    Leg (from bottom of foot to crest of hip): 38"
    Arm (from clavical-shoulder intersection to center knuckle): 25"
    Bench: 320
    Squat: 375
    Deadlift: 495

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  2. #2
    Registered User coachcalande's Avatar
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    You’ll get a lot of opinions on this.

    When I teach this lift, I stress that a lifter should “make the number 4”……as you look at this…4 ….the arm is straight down, the thigh parallel to the ground and the back is flat at a 45 degree angle.

    Now examine your vid. Can you push your hips under you a bit more and bring your shoulders back a bit so they are not so far in front of the bar? Doing this WILL enable more quad usage and reduce the lever of the back and strain on your lower back.

    Now that I have said I’ll that, I eagerly await the “it’s not a squat” crew. 😂.
    "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. "By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another."

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    Registered User jaxqen's Avatar
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    I have less experience than you, but it seems fine to me.
    Some prefer a higher hip position with the shoulder blades above the bar.
    If your back is tight, why would you goof up your back?

    Originally Posted by coachcalande View Post
    Now that I have said I’ll that, I eagerly await the “it’s not a squat” crew. .
    Last edited by jaxqen; 11-26-2021 at 10:23 AM.
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    Registered User air2fakie's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by EliKoehn View Post
    It feels perfectly fine and I can pull at my maximum this way.
    Above is all that matters. If nitpicking, I’d suggest making sure you’re locking hips/knees at top and maintaining some form/tightness as you lower the bar.
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    Registered User BeginnerGainz's Avatar
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    There is no “best” anything, just what is “best” for you and “best” for what you’re trying to do.

    I really hate people like Rippetoe that try to shoehorn people into thinking something is “best” when sometimes it doesn’t fit their anatomy.
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    Looks like the leaning forward helps balance the support and tension between the top and bottom of the spine.
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    temporary illusion supramax's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by EliKoehn View Post
    Here, I've got the bar directly over mid-foot on setup and have bent my knees forward until my shins are against the bar prior to initiating each rep. Yet I'm still told that the bar is too far in front of me, my hips are too high, I'm going to goof up my lower back, etc. I certainly feel the strongest with this setup, but that aside, mechanically, what could I even do differently to "correct" my form without either increasing the range of motion or making the bar path disadvantageous? Is there even anything wrong with how I'm doing this? It feels perfectly fine and I can pull at my maximum this way. I suspect a lot of the criticism comes from guys who are shorter than 6 feet and must lower hips significantly more to get into position.

    The only thing that comes to mind as a possible setup correction is starting with the bar closer to the base of the foot. Is this a better cue for taller lifters, or is mid-foot always the best setup position?



    Thoughts and a general form check appreciated, especially from people who are taller and have good experience with the conventional deadlift.

    If it helps to know:
    Height: 6'2"
    Wingspan: 70"
    Leg (from bottom of foot to crest of hip): 38"
    Arm (from clavical-shoulder intersection to center knuckle): 25"
    You're doing a standing back extension.

    Heed this: https://youtu.be/0EiaGLFrhR0
    Now there are short and simple exercises which tire the body rapidly, and so save our time; and time is something of which we ought to keep strict account. These exercises are running, brandishing weights, and jumping…. Select for practice any one of these, and you will find it plain and easy. But whatever you do, come back soon from body to mind.

    Seneca, Moral Epistles
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  8. #8
    Registered User coachcalande's Avatar
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    As you raise and lower a deadlift….you never want to make a SEVEN…..7…..and you are definitely flat backed with high hips as u lower the bar. I would suggest trying to make a 4 as you pick the weight up, and set it down.

    Just try it with the camera….please!
    "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. "By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another."

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  9. #9
    Registered User EliKoehn's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by BeginnerGainz View Post
    There is no “best” anything, just what is “best” for you and “best” for what you’re trying to do.

    I really hate people like Rippetoe that try to shoehorn people into thinking something is “best” when sometimes it doesn’t fit their anatomy.
    Yeah, I actually don't know much of what he's said specifically. I know he has a reputation for the "one size fits all" form for every lift and dismisses everything that isn't conventional powerlifting exercises (not something I'd agree with or endorse, as valuable as they are in their own right), but in this case I'm trying to optimize the lift for maximum poundage. You have to work with your own leverages within the proper form, of course, so saying everyone should do it exactly the same way does strike me as silly.

    In fact, Nuckols wrote about this hip posture difference and said this is the strongest position for some builds.

    Originally Posted by air2fakie View Post
    Above is all that matters. If nitpicking, I’d suggest making sure you’re locking hips/knees at top and maintaining some form/tightness as you lower the bar.
    Good point - was not really thinking about more of a controlled lowering. I'll bear that in mind.

    Originally Posted by supramax View Post
    You're doing a standing back extension.

    Heed this: https://youtu.be/0EiaGLFrhR0
    I don't know of anyone who can sub maximally "back extend" 365 without seriously engaging their glutes and hamstrings. I get that the angle is severe but if the spinal erectors begin the lift nearly parallel to the floor and stay isometric and tight throughout the lift as you can see they do, it's literally impossible for them to be driving the pull concentrically.

    Originally Posted by coachcalande View Post
    As you raise and lower a deadlift….you never want to make a SEVEN…..7…..and you are definitely flat backed with high hips as u lower the bar. I would suggest trying to make a 4 as you pick the weight up, and set it down.

    Just try it with the camera….please!
    On a warmup soon, I'll try and then upload it here for comparison, but I actually cannot get my hips lower without completely blocking the bar path with my shins (such that I would be pulling against myself diagonally on the way up), or worsening the moment arms of the femurs and the spine.

    Did you ever coach a tall kid who could deadlift like that successfully at pretty heavy weight? I am aiming to improve however I need to; not trying to refuse the criticism. If it's a weak point that I simply need to train up, all well and good, but going about it that way truly seems like a sheer handicap.
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  10. #10
    Registered User coachcalande's Avatar
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    Yeah, 6 foot 4 kid pulled 405 with a few months of training.
    "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. "By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another."

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  11. #11
    Registered User coachcalande's Avatar
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    I think you can start with distance between your shins and the bar, grab the bar, roll it back and simultaneously drop your hips , raise head and shoulders,while trying to keep shins perpendicular to the floor, try to get thighs near parallel (you won’t) but definitely keep shoulders much higher than your hips up and down thru the movement….that’s what’s missing. You will probably add 90 lbs to your training weight just by using legs more with shoulders higher than hips.

    Don’t pull til that bar hits your shins, drag it up the shins.
    "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. "By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another."

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  12. #12
    Registered User EliKoehn's Avatar
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    Ok, I'll give it a try on a warm up and upload. Next deadlift day on the program is Tuesday. Thanks for the pointer - you don't know how happy I'd be to add 90 to my lift if it's a simple matter of form correction. That'd be a six plate pull, so I hope you're right lol.

    I have my doubts but am serious about improvement so will give it a college try.
    Last edited by EliKoehn; 11-26-2021 at 05:33 PM.
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    Time is Muscle ECGordyn's Avatar
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    Every build is different. Longer/shorter legs/arms/torso all make a difference in the pull.

    It's also hard to teach form through words only.

    If you have time, binge-watch the Form Check Fridays from Calgary Barbell. Find lifters who pull similar to you, and observe what Bryce tells them to fix. Think about his fixes and try them. FCF rotates the lifts squat-bench-DL, so you can find DL pretty easily in the long playlist.

    Record yourself from different angles and heights. 45 degree angle at hip height is pretty good.

    Nuckols has a long DL article on SBS website, if you haven't already read it.
    https://www.strongerbyscience.com/how-to-deadlift/
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  14. #14
    Registered User Xpiro's Avatar
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    I must be tired because I read all of Tom’s posts out loud and laughed my ass off. Leg day.

    But anyway regarding the mid foot thing, I don’t see how it can be universal when everyone has different sized feet relative to their own bodies? My shins won’t touch the bar when I go down if I try to “cut my foot in half,” it just needs to sit a little past my ankles.
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