Deadlift Technique

by Lee Kim 

Set up in the deadlift position, looking up, back straight [for me,
about 45 degrees straight with respect to my thighs], in a 
quasi-squat position with thighs slightly above parallel, my 
arms outside my thighs [not too far outside -- just so that they 
would 'brush' the outer part of my thighs], feet shoulder width 
apart. I think that the optimum place to put the bar is where your 
arms are extended downwards, in a straight, vertical line [as 
straight as you can]. Whenever I have my arms bent too far 
forward or back [from having them straight], I don't get as enough 
of an explosive pull as with having them perfectly straight [which 
I think helps your forearms, triceps, and shoulders work 
optimally together in the pull]. By having your arms in a straight 
line, I mean having your arms parallel with the wall [straight up 
and down], by the way. 

All of this translates into having the bar about 2.5-3 inches away 
from the front of my shins. 

I like to have the bar as close as I need it to be so that when I 
pull it, it just goes in a straight line up until I'm standing erect. It 
has been suggested that I need to have the bar at my toes and 
then roll it close towards me [and then pull!], but this really, 
really takes away from the explosiveness of my lift [which I like 
to think as a one-step and not two-step deal!]. 

I arch my back when I'm trying to reach the bar with my hands
for set up -- and my back is only extended as far down as I 
need to in order to grab the bar with my arms straight, calves 
straight; with my legs bent, I keep my back straight [in a 
horizontal position, not upright of course...]. I then take a good 
breath in and while I'm trying to lift the bar up, I'm forcefully 
exhaling throughout the explosive movement. Do the movement 
from the setup position to the standing erect position in one 
explosive, very quick, movement -- I push with my legs [quads 
and hams] until my knees are just slightly bent, then I straighten 
myself [my back and my knees] out by thrusting my hips
 forward so that I'm perfectly straight -- butt, knees, and back -- 
completing the movement. When you're lifting the bar up, have 
the bar close to your legs, etc., but not totally riding up your 
legs -- maybe have the bar a half inch away from your body. 
You'll be able to be more explosive this way than brushing 
it against your body. 

When I lift, I use the conventional style of deadlifting. This 
works much better for me than sumo. 
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