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Author Topic: The most frequent technique mistakes - Deadlift  (Read 7482 times)


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The most frequent technique mistakes - Deadlift
« on: November 27, 2016, 05:27:34 PM »
This is part 3 of the series of 'The most frequent technique mistakes' Boris experiences while doing his tour.

You can read “Squat. Part 1″ here:

and part 2 "Bench Press. Part 2" here:] [url][/url]

Part 3 will be dealing with 'the deadlift' mistakes:

1. Lowering of the head.
2. Suboptimal starting position.
3. Incorrect breathing.
4. Abruptly tearing the barbell off the platform – “grip and rip.”
5. Premature straightening of the legs.

1. Lowering of the head.

Holding the head in a lowered position often results in increased rounding of the back.


The head should always be raised. Select a point on a wall that you may comfortably fixate on with proper head position. Fixating your gaze will aid retaining your head in the correct position.

2. Suboptimal starting position.

Holding your hips overly low or overly high. An overly low hip position increases the difficulty of breaking the floor, an overly high hip position causes the majority of the load to be shifted to the back muscles. Optimal hip position is slightly above parallel.

Shoulder position in relation to the barbell:

  • Shoulders being positioned more than 2-3cm in front of the barbell results in system’s centre of mass being shifted towards the lifter’s toes.
  • Shoulders being positioned behind the barbell results in the system’s centre of mass being shifted towards the lifter’s heels. The centre of mass should be in line with the lifter’s midfoot.

3. Incorrect breathing.

Some athletes perform 3-4 deadlift repetitions on one large breath. Movements relating power and speed are most effective when the breath is held for a short period of time (i.e. “tightening”) (I.M. Seropegin, 1965). Furthermore, it was found that deadlift strength was maximized during the athlete tightening themselves with their lungs filled to ¾ of vital capacity.


In the starting position, prior to lifting the barbell, perform a shallow breath, and perform the movement while holding it. Release the air as the movement is being completed. A shallow breath is to be taken prior to every single repetition.

4. Abruptly tearing the barbell off the platform – “grip and rip.”

Breaking the floor with an abrupt jerk lead to a loss of control over the barbell. The barbell may lead the lifter forward, shifting the centre of mass of the system towards the lifter’s toes, resulting in relative relaxation of the back muscles which may lead to injury. On a deadlift bar this mistake may lead to more grievous effects.


The deadlift must be performed as a uniformly accelerated motion. The lifter should try to complete the movement as fast as possible, but without jerks or stalls, or variations in acceleration. The barbell should be accelerated, thus, initially it should be pulled slowly, then slowly accelerated towards the middle of its amplitude.

5. Premature straightening of the legs.

Premature straightening of the legs leads to the barbell moving forward away from the lifter, and shifting the system’s centre of mass towards the lifter’s toes.


To fix this mistake, Boris recommend the following two exercises:

  • Paused competition deadlift, with the pause 5-10cm below and above the knees.
  • Competition deadlift, with each repetition stopping several centimetres above the floor.

Remember not to bounce in deadlift. Why?
To quote Boris:
"Because during the moment when the bar is bouncing off the platform, the athlete momentarily looses control of the bar. And as mentioned earlier, the bar can bounce a few centimetres away from the athlete. This can shift the entire centre of balance towards the athletes toes. It is the purpose of every coach and athlete to train perfect form in a competitive movement to the point of automation. Because when the weight of the bar reaches 95% or greater, the athlete does not think about form but is solely focused on lifting the weight."

Read more about bouncing here:
Generally more about technique here (conventional):
and here (sumo):

"For one to press a lot, one must press a lot, comrade."