Do not rush
It's going to be very important to be patient in the start. A lot of athletes tend to want to rush the start and jerk the bar off the floor, and when they do that sometimes they relax their arms and then pull and put their biceps in a compromised position.
I'm literally trying to think about wedging my body between the floor and the barbell, pulling that slack out [before] I explode.
We see a lot of people rush the bar off the ground... and they'll lock their knees too early. Be patient. If it takes a minute to come off... the ground that's okay. Stay in position. You'll finish.
Not being tight and trying to rip the bar off the floor is a recipe for injury. What I see happen every time is the lifter getting in position without getting tight. When they start the pull, they get pitched over the bar, round their back, and make the lockout much harder than it has to be.
Keep pulling until 'click'
A good wedge will cause you to feel like you’re trying to hold up a wall so it doesn’t fall on you, but will also cause the bar to pull up into the plates, and likely cause the weights to lift slightly off the floor if the weight is light enough.
If you listen to a bar when you go up to it, even if there's 135 on it, and you just slightly lift the bar, you're gonna hear a click. That's the bar clicking against the shaft, where the sleeve is.... You go up to the bar, you grab the bar, you [get tight] until you hear a click. Then when you hear the click, PULL... Tighten everything, and then pull.
You'll see the bar almost comes off the ground before I even pull it because I'm so tight. You want to get really tight through your lats, upper back, hamstrings and the bar will almost be pulling off the ground before you even try to pull... Rather than pull for speed, I try to ease the bar off the floor... otherwise you're going to get to your knees, it's going to whip hard and you'll miss your lockouts.
If a lifter doesn't pull the bar up so that it's making contact with the top of the rim in the hole of the plates, he's initially not going to be working against any resistance. By not working against any resistance, it's extremely difficult to produce an isometric contraction in the spinal erector musculature and the lats that's strong enough to lock the lumbar spine into extension during the movement.
You need to make sure your body is tight enough that your form won’t disintegrate as soon as you start lifting the bar. This is often called “pulling the slack out of the bar.” I prefer to think of it as “pulling tension into your body,” because there’s not really any “slack” in the bar.
Stronger By Science
Create as much tension throughout your body as humanly possible before adding the extra force required to start pulling the rep.
Stronger By Science
We're going to be relatively well-balanced by the time we find this tension... It's going to feel like the bar almost wants to float off the floor (especially with lighter weights)... This position is going to be highly individual... within a range of good positions. So play around a little bit but pay attention to the outcome of the changes that you make.
Push through the floor
Push your feet through the floor rather than just picking the bar up. Try creating separation between the floor and the barbell by driving your feet through the floor and trying to push the ground away from you.
Push the world away. Don't lift the bar. [People] thinking about lifting the bar end up rolling their back or they'll unravel and a cat back kind of motion... but if they keep their chest high and push the world away (almost like they're performing a leg press) things seem to go better.
I imagine that this bar here is completely bolted to the ground. That it's not going to be able to move. So what I think about is pulling myself through the floor, and this makes me keep keep pulling and keep my back as neutral as I can so I don't rush it. I used to think about lifting the weight... trying to actually pull it up... but [now] I think about putting myself down through the floor.
In my mind, I'm trying to drive my feet through the ground. I'm trying to wedge myself in between the bar and the ground and drive my heels through.
You want to think about putting force into ground and pushing away, rather than just pulling the bar off the floor. Another option is to think about "pushing the ground away from you."
When most people think about picking something up... they're thinking that they're initiating that movement at their hands...but that's not true. Instead, think about pushing the floor away. This will help you keep a much more stable and erect body position so your hips don't shoot first. Instead, you're going to be initiating your legs and your upper body is going to be trying to hold as stable as possible - almost like you're sitting in a leg press machine.
... think of the deadlift as a standing leg press. As I got tight, I only focused on pushing my feet through the floor. It took some practice with lighter weights, but my chest stayed up and I was able to use my legs more efficiently.
One explosive movement
In a conventional deadlift, the knees and hips should lock out at the same time and what we want to see is the knee action stays forward and never recedes until the bar needs to pass it. Whenever we see those knees recede early, that means the quads are shutting off...what you want to see is when you're pulling, those knees never shift back. They always stay forward until the bar clears and the hips and knees lock out at the same time.
You broke the inertia to get the bar off the ground, now you want to get in a hurry and speed it up... The faster that you're moving that bar, the less likely it is to get stuck at one of your sticking points. The momentum that you're creating by trying to accelerate the bar is going to continue throughout the entire lift. The absolute worst thing you can do is let that bar slow down.
It's critical that the shoulders and hips rise at the same rate, with the bar coming off the floor.
You always have to maintain contact with the bar on the shin, and where I really wedge my hips under the bar - I aggressively pull this bar into my shins and drag it up a little bit. I don't ramp it up my quads or my shins or anything but I really make sure it's always dug into my shins. You always want to ensure we have the best leverage and that bar is always maintaining position against the shins the entire way up.
Drive the hips
Remember to drive your hips as soon as it hits your knees. Don't wait. If you wait, you're gonna arch.
When you get to [your knees] pull it in and squeeze your butt. So you're keeping [the bar] closer [to your body] so it changes how long you got to pull it and it doesn't keep your hips high.
Squeeze your cheeks
Too often, I see someone standing up and locking their knees out, but failing to lock out their hips.... What I want you to do instead is squeeze your glutes together and get your hips through. Make love to the bar... Squeeze them booty cheeks and violently fire your hips forward.
One sign: if you're not engaging your glutes enough, you're probably going to know about it because you're not even really feeling them fire at all.
The cue that I like to tell someone to finish tall, finish with their hips through... The idea is you want them to finish tall - not over-extended or where their butt's sticking out.
One of the biggest changes I made in my deadlift was glute activation and the biggest, best thing ever for me was was this in particular: really really bring them through. When I say bring them through, you should be able to just hit your glutes - rock hard. Really really over-exaggeratedly squeeze them. Nice and rock hard there.
Pretend you are in prison and you were trying to send the message that you are not open for business.
As soon as that bar gets to the top of your kneecaps, you want to engage your butt. You want to start flexing and trying to drive your hips forward. That is going to help that bar go vertical... You'll be shocked at how it will help solve some of your lockout problems.
Ease the bar down.
First, you lower the bar from the finish position to just below the knees, exactly as if you were doing a Romanian deadlift. This means pushing your hips and knees back as the bar slides down your thighs. Getting the bar past the knees should be easy since, by the time the bar reaches the knees, they've been pushed back out of the way, and the tibias are perpendicular to the floor. Next, you switch to a squat. Simply keep bending the knees while your torso is at a fixed angle, then bring the bar to the floor.
Learning to control the bar path smooth and slow on the [way down] is crucial to building a strong deadlift. This will help teach you to brace your back tighter... and promotes a better bar path.