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Deadlift 200.2lbs x 3 and 211.2lbs x 3

Few sets from my most recent deadlifting extravaganza. Pull baby pull!

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  • Currently 5/5 stars.

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Comment by Jesse Webber on June 30, 2012 at 11:06am

The pain on hyperextension is more common than you would expect.  I, too, have had to flatten my lumbar spine to avoid that pain.  It turn, I have had to tighten the upper back.  It was actually a great fix for what had been years of pain.

Comment by Mallory Benard on June 24, 2012 at 12:13pm

No need to apologize. I'm looking into graduate school right now, so I still consider myself a student. :)

I have thought about more of a sumo deadlift type of lift for the competition but for me personally, I find myself to feel a lot weaker in that position compared to a more conventional deadlift stance. I don't have the strongest adductor muscles so the further out my stance is the weaker I tend to get. I can't pull nearly as much weight in a sumo stance compared to conventional. Trust me, I'm huge on form and even I cringe when I rewatch my videos sometime. I see the same thing you're seeing and it's always been hammered into my brain FORM FORM FORM but I go back again to watching top powerlifters and keeping an open mind... a large handful of them lift insane weights with rounded upper backs... if it's THAT bad for you, wouldn't they all be crippled by now? Just food for thought. I always go into something looking at WHAT it is the person is training for and from there, you adapt things. As a strength coach coaching an athlete, I would probably keep them to weights that they can lift without an upper rounded back because their sport doesn't depend on how much weight they can lift but in a powerlifting aspect where that does matter... if it gets more weight up, I'm willing to give the rounded upper back a shot.

Comment by Jason Ashman on June 22, 2012 at 2:37pm

Mallory,

Sorry about the assumptions- I saw "student" on your profile and assumed you were a current athlete transitioning into S&C coaching. Between you and Clete, I could have really shortened the rationale for my opinions. :-)

I'm in a rush, but I'll look deeper a tad later. One question though: Since you're prepping for a meet, have you considered going to a wider stance on the deadlift, and shifting the grip inwards? Just a thought- the hybrid-sumo stance is popular with the power guys and gals, and it translates nicely into the wide-stance squat common in meets. Plus, the mechanics of the pull make the rounding of the upper back a tad easier for form-watchers like us to stomach. ;-)

Comment by Mallory Benard on June 22, 2012 at 2:18pm

The bar close to me topic... I'm very big on keeping myself as close to the bar as possible. Ever since I started lifting. But you have to remember to look at body types. I'm about 5'6". I don't rub my shins when I deadlift whether that's because I don't necessarily want to rip my skin off or if that's because when I keep the bar THAT close to me, my back tends to round over more in an attempt to bend over that far. That said, I will show you next time I deadlift where I am setting up. I really don't think I'm as far away from the bar as you may think I am. I do have to agree with you both though on what you're saying and from experience first hand in not just deadlifting but squatting too. Height and limb length play a big part of how the form looks and also the motivation or WHY the person is doing it. The general idea is keep the bar as close to you as you can. Slight imperfections for someone who isn't an elite competitor I think is fine if it means they can get the weight up and increase their strength as compared to keeping them back with lighter weight and hammering "perfect" form... which again, nobody really ever reaches. Thoughts there?

The 5 star thing... it's kind of like Youtube in my opinion. People will either rate 5 stars if it's relatively good or 1 star if they really don't like it. The inbetween is like limbo in Inception. Nobody rarely goes there haha The thought of critiquing from stars I don't take too seriously but definitely understand where you're coming from. This explanation is more what I care about.

Again, thank you both for taking the time to discuss! I really appreciate it and am open to any recommendations or tips you have. I'm deadlifting again today and will give them a try. :)

Comment by Mallory Benard on June 22, 2012 at 2:18pm

I suppose I should have been more specific in my video description. I apologize. I attempted to go back and edit that but couldn't find where to do it. ANYWAY, more important things....

I appreciate everyone's criticism, positive and negative! I love that you pointed out the things wrong. You don't get better by having people tell you everything's perfect and I definitely know my lifting hasn't reached perfection (who really does ever get there?) Plus, I wouldn't have thrown the video up here if I didn't want to hear some opinions from some of the top coaches out there. So, I really do appreciate your honesty!

Also, I just want to throw out first that I've done a lot of teaching myself what I know in the weight room. Reading, talking to coaches, trying things out in general and recording myself so I can be both the athlete and coach. I have a decent amount of experience under my belt but at the same time, I'm still learning and nowhere near the level of experience many of the coaches on here have. Especially when it comes down to the little things. I've been lifting seriously for about 4-5 years now. I use to play softball (stopped about 3 years ago), but really I'm training to expand my knowledge as a strength coach entering this field. Trying different things out, treating myself as a experiment so to say.

Onto the few issues mentioned... Right now, I'm currently training for my first powerlifting competition (dead/bench). I'm about 4 weeks out from it when this video was recorded. I'm also nursing a lower back issue I've had over that past few months thanks to excessive hyperextension/weaker glutes & abs which I'm working on strengthening. This has kept me to keep a slightly "softer" back in an attempt not to over arch my lower back which is when I would get pain from in the past. My upper back has also been a weak point in me. I've been working on it too for the past year or so... row, row, row! But if you watch top powerlifters and I even just read an article on this, rounding of the LOWER back is what you really do not want. Rounding of the UPPER back at 1RM weights can be beneficial and allows to get those heavy weights up which is what you want in powerlifting. Form isn't always the prettiest when you go for near maximal weights. It has not been shown to cause injury (at least the top powerlifters who have trained that way for their whole careers) because they don't allow full lumbar flexion to occur. Also, unless you're freakishly back strong (I am clearly not) it is hard to keep a neutral spine when lifting near max loads. Any thoughts on this from either of you? Here's the article...

http://www.t-nation.com/free_online_article/most_recent/a_strong_ca...

Deadlift extravaganza is misleading and far from Crossfit haha I'm not a huge Crossfit person. On this day I did 3 warm-up sets with relatively light weight. Then did 1x3 at 200lbs and 4x3 at 211lbs (I was using kg weights). It's slightly less weight than I normally use at 3 reps, but like I said... I don't want my back issue to return and keep me from competing. I also used a belt for my final 3 sets (not shown in vid). I gave myself about 2 minutes rest between each set. Followed by assistant exercises focusing on my weak areas.

Comment by Jason Ashman on June 22, 2012 at 12:19pm

Clete,

I believe for most of our critique, we're on the same page; what you see as an elevation of the traps, I describe as not drawing back the scapula/upper girdle, which I call being "tight" and which occurs after the basic setup but before the lift itself. This "looseness" in her upper body forces her, under higher load, to elevate the traps (upward, whereas the scapula would be drawn/squeezed backwards) to compensate, which creates the issue we're both discussing. Two sides of the same coin, two different approaches to the same problem, and two ways of explaining it, I expect. Blame my Maritime grasp of the King's English. :-P

I agree completely with the need to readdress, but question the reasoning behind the rush. Are we seeing the "norm" of her lifts, or is the failure to maintain consistency a product of the "deadlift extravaganza" workout? I've spent long enough playing in Crossfit-land to know its begun to pervade strength & conditioning, and to know that "slop" and "speed" have become "acceptable" in certain situations in certain circles. I don't agree with it, but I'm aware of its existence and invasion, as I'm sure you are, so the question must at least be posed. I figure the best way to understand/correct the rush is to find the motive for it, which I'm sure Mallory can provide.

As for "inches" and style, on this we're not going to agree, I expect. I concur wholly on the basic matter of physics- closer to body equals easier to lift, etc- but its often the individual's body type and mechanics that get overlooked, to the detriment of the lift. You're well aware that limb and torso length, frame, and multiple other factors play a role in form and mechanics, as well as center of gravity, and that trying to cookie-cutter every athlete into the same technical blueprint is futile. I have heavyweight and super-heavyweight athletes that only lift in powerlifting or sumo stances, because they're simply too large through the midsection for basic deadlifting. I myself grew up learning, shall we say "classical" deadlifting, and found my lifts improved with significance only when I moved away from the shin-dragging style, and got the bar out an inch or two. Concurrently, I have several (big/tall) clients in the same boat who PR with the bar slightly away from the shins, yet struggle when they attempt to force the bar back. My point in all of this is that if she lifts better without the shin dragging, more power to her- It is very well a matter of physics, but you have to take in all the contributing factors- like lever length- in order to consider the entire picture of said physics.

Lastly, I agree completely with the standards and professionalism. My point is simply that, as far as the sample vids on the site is concerned, I've seen far, far worse, and, in my opinion, the lift, in comparison to the others on the site, is worth a five-star tag. There is, on the whole, little wrong with it overall (despite the length we've written about it), and most is easily corrected. I'm well aware- and, I believe, in agreement with you- that, if standards befitting professionalism were upheld, only the technically perfect lifts/demos/publicity vids would receive a five-star rating. However, not everyone shares that belief, and I expect the votes are cast based on what people are exposed to rather than what they know. Perspective, if you will: If someone makes a few minor errors in their lift, and you've just spent an hour watching clips of folks butchering the same lift, then minor errors look like a perfect lift by comparison.

Regardless of all of this, I will say that its cool to find a place on the internet where discussions about S&C don't devolve into garbage, trolling and flame wars. When I followed the Westside link and joined here, I'd hoped this would be a place for professionals to rationally discuss like-minded topics- I'm glad that was correct.

Cheers.

Comment by CLETE MCLEOD on June 22, 2012 at 11:11am

Jason, I respectfully disagree.  I don't necessarily disagree with your assessment of the lift (her first rep is acceptable in my opinion, but it slips from there).  Agreed, In subsequent reps, she starts with the back and hips too early instead of patiently(?) "pushing with the legs", keeping the back “set”.  She elevates her traps which compromises the posture of her upper back (not a question of being "tighter", but in fact relaxing enough to "set up"?). As she fatigues, she does not exhibit a consistent strategy for lifting the weight.  My advice would be to simply step away from the bar, relax, and readdress the lift.  I struggle with reconciling your initial statements (regarding "matter of style" and "an inch or two won't make a difference).  In my personal opinion, when lifting well (and a LOT of weight), inches DO matter.  It becomes a question of simple physics.

In regards to it being "good" compared to many of the (garbage) lifts on here...well, “that don't make it right.”  We really do need to be better than that as professionals, which is why I posted in the first place.  A "5 star lift" (whatever that is) should be of instuctional quality.  I wanna know why so many thought this was so good.

Cheers, and thanks for the opportunity to discuss.  Again, thanks to Mallory for opening herself up to critique.

Thanks for keeping it real!   

Comment by Jason Ashman on June 22, 2012 at 10:28am

@Clete....

LOL- I would hope that here, in this place of professionals, people can have a mature internet discussion without devolving into stupidities.

Yes, there's a slight hitch in the front end of the lift (Mallory, you start the hips a tad early), and she could be a tad tighter through the back/upper girdle, but overall the lift is solid, especially comparatively to some of the stuff I've seen posted in the videos on here, especially some of the football and basketball ones; you'd think potential multi-million dollar athletes could be taught the basic mechanical/technical principles of lifting, but apparently not. She slides through nicely, the hips are explosive at the top, and she's stable all the way through.

As for weight, we have no idea her height/weight, BW, age, sport, etc. Hell, we don't even know WHY she's doing the deads; conditioning? Strength? Max Effort? As a demo for technical feedback? I'd expect "deadlifting extravaganza" means LOTS of deadlifts at low BW%, Crossfit-like, but I could be wrong. Put all of that into perspective, and things change: If she's 5'1", 115lbs, and playing field hockey or soccer, you're suddenly creeping into high-level physical markers for her sport. If she's 5'-9" 160lbs of rugby chick, then its a distinctly different story.

Point being, there's a ton of factors, but overall her deadlift is pretty clean, especially if she's only been doing it for a few years. I've not rated the video myself, but from my perspective I can see why its a highly rated one.

 

Comment by CLETE MCLEOD on June 22, 2012 at 6:40am

No offense to anyone (particularly Mallory,thanks for posting the video), but why is this a "five star" video to so many people on here?  In terms of mechanics, it is (all be it slight) technically flawed (if you are performing a clean dead lift).  In terms of load, its fairly light (for someone who appears to be pretty athletic).  Let the shelling begin...

-again, thanks for posting Mallory

Comment by Mallory Benard on June 21, 2012 at 8:37pm

Thank you Jason (I plan to!) and Rick! :)

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