Today’s post is about one of the most common cues I hear in the CF community in particular. While the idea behind the cue is good, it’s often used at random and on people it doesn’t apply to at all. Or even worse – on people who aren’t ready for it.
It’s one of the main reasons novices and intermediates get out of position in the beginning of the deadlift and it leads to rounded backs as well as tough lockouts.
Before I reveal the big secret, I’ll share a smaller secret.
A rounded back in the deadlift is often caused by the bar being too far forwards. To compensate and get it back in line (and/or because the upper back is too weak to stay straight with the bar way out in front) – the upper back rounds. This often happens when the hips get too high.
On to the big secret: a result of this cue is that the hips get way too high, the legs too straight and tension in the upper back is lost. But what is this cursed cue?
“Rip it off the floor” or similar cues that promote as much speed and ferocity off the floor are BAD. BAD BAD BAD. While the intention to pull explosively and finish strong is good, what happens 99% of the time with inexperienced lifters is that they lose tightness and positioning. They trade the good position and the easy lockout for a bad position and hard lockout. They stiff-leg it off the floor and burn all the power in the lower back and hamstrings before the lockout.
Most people will deadlift much better if they focus on “squeezing” the bar off the floor and THEN pulling as aggressively as possible. That’ll help you maintain good positioning throughout.
Oh and one last point – pulling fast and heavy is a) mutually exclusive for most people and b) wildly overrated compared to perfect positioning and correctly applied tension.