Deadlift technique advice for an older weights newbie

Awesome video, @KWcycling.

Thanks for posting that.

Thanks everybody for great responses to this. 2 days after the spinal snap in the gym I am feeling better and soon will be ready to go back. My conclusion for now is to use the hex/trap bar and use that for a few sessions to strengthen the posterior. Then I will decide whether just to stick to that or go back to normal deadlifts. If I decide for the latter I will use the 5 point video as guidance.


Here is a good instructional video: Deadlift Set-up and Body Shape - YouTube

It is a mistake to say that your hips need to be here or there, as this changes based on how you are build. The constant in all of this is that the bar starts over the middle of the foot and your shoulder blades are over the bar, hips start where ever they need to be to make that happen.

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Unless you’re into powerlifting, there is no need to stick to convential deadlifts. Romanian deadlifts are a lot safer and great for the posterior chain.

FWIW: I’ve deadlifted 300kg/661lbs in the USAPL at 85kg bodyweight.

If you don’t mind, would you consider uploading a video of your form?
(I’d be happy to give you some pointers)

From your description it sounds like your hips are shooting up as you initiate the pull.
This is something I corrected by pulling the slack out the bar upon setting up the deadlift. Make sure you create enough tension between you and the bar prior to pulling the bar off the ground. Once this becomes familiar, you can use the stretch reflex of getting into the deadlifting position. I’ve found this to be helpful for finding a comfortable and powerful position when performing conventional pulls.


I think a fundamental thing—and at least two posters have mentioned this—is that your correct form might not look identical to someone else’s correct form because every body is built differently. Like if someone has shorter legs than yours, why should your butt go as low as theirs?

Now take into account alllll of the levers in the system, and you get the idea

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That is very generous of you. Thank you. The GoPro footage is 4K at high FPS. I would need to mess with it to make it uploadable.

Rather, I would prefer to spend some time with the trap bar and when courage returns to try normal deadlifts I would record at lower resolution and without trying to mess around with starting hip height - as per forum advice. At that point your feedback would be appreciated because your approval of my form would probably help me return to standard deadlifts. Thanks again!

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How tall are you OP?

Depending on height you may need to vary your grip and foot width.

In another life I was all about BB and tossing around 5 plates for 5 was a regular.

Poster above has me beat for max but technique is technique it’s never about the weight until it’s time under tension.

I am 186cm. Ectomorph. I set my feet fairly close so that they do not push out my arms which are vertical from my shoulders. Toes pointing out very slightly.

Re your point about time under tension, I assume for deadlifts there is a weight floor as % of bodyweight below which tension isn’t productive…correct?

Okay yeah probably a little taller and longer than me as I’m meso.

The longer your legs are, especially if you have a relatively shorter torso, the more horizontal your back angle will be toward the floor.

IE, you’ll be more bent over compared with someone else. This is not necessarily a bad thing, it’s just something that you need to recognize.

I’d also look into sumo deadlift. Might feel more comfortable for you.

I think that probably answers why my attempts to lower the hips were just introducing a problem to the form that my PT said was good. I tried to fix something that wasn’t broken. I’ve learned my lesson now.

My mistakes above resulted in two sessions in the gym that caused trouble for my spine. The first time I needed a week off. The second time…well, I’m still recovering (it is day 3).

Now the question on my mind is whether returning to feeling no symptoms really means full recovery or whether there is cumulative damage done that I won’t be aware of until I try regular DLs again. Might I find out that I should have taken more time off? Is there any experience out there with this kind of thing?


A general question for the group - with something like deadlifts, how far does one need to progress in weight for if the goal is to help one’s cycling?

I intended to start weight training just before covid and then covid happened and I never went to a gym. I did body weight stuff and then got some dumbbells and was able to create plenty of DOMs with just those dumbbells.

Back to my question - so you get to half body weight, 75%, 100%, over 100% - is there a sweet spot end point for maintenance if you just want to be a good cyclist?

For cycling performance, I’d go by Chad’s strength benchmarks.


I’m a 53 year old cyclist. About 18 months ago, I injured the quadratus lumborum (QL) in my lower back through sloppy dead lift form. Foolishly, I sacrificed good form in pursuit of Coach Chad’s strength targets. Anyway, after several months of excruciating pain, I sought out a local trainer who helped me rehab and strengthen the affected area. Long story short, I don’t currently dead lift with a bar. My trainer set me up with a combination of single leg dumbbell deadlifts, squats, and Bulgarian split squats, none of which aggravate my lower back. I’m happy with the routine and don’t feel like strength is a limiter on the bike at all. Maybe similar alternate exercises would work for you too.


I’m 50 and started deadlifting a couple years ago. I also worked with a trainer for a few months to make sure my form was correct. Any time I would do heavier (for me) lifts of around 110% of my body weight, I would wind up with lingering lower back pain. I endlessly analyzed my form, but finally came to the conclusion that lighter weight (75% body weight) was good enough for what I was trying to achieve, and it didn’t leave me in pain. It also didn’t leave my legs too fried for hard efforts on the bike (much more important to me than heavier deadlifts).

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How long did it take you to fix the QL problem?

How to Deadlift by Stronger by Science

I’m not sure if it could cause the pain you are talking about. But the reason for the knees first and then hips is that by straightening the knees first you don’t need to move the bar around your knees because they are already out of the way. So if, from your videos, it doesn’t look like you are having to move the bar forward to clear the knees then I don’t think that is the cause of your problem.

I’m tempted to think that the pain you describe when trying to start with a lower hip position is caused by a lack of hip mobility that causes your back to round a bit and lose that tightness in you DL start position. If your previous position wasn’t causing pain then I would stick with it.

I’ve never heard of what you described as hips midway between your shoulders and knees as the ideal starting position. Start positions and the finer points of technique can be very individual and dependent on your limb proportions. So if you have a long upper body and short legs, or long arms, or long lower legs compared to your femur, etc. can all affect your start position and move you away from what some guy on youtube says is the best.

This is awesome!

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In addition to aps293’s recommendation, I’ll just add that I’ve found regular deadlifts to be the best tool in the toolbox to keep my hamstrings healthy and with proper range of motion, which in turns help with maintaining an aero position comfortably without any stress on the lower back. I found deadlifts more effective with maintaining ROM than yoga and other PT techniques.

All that to say that although I’m “Level 3”, I tend to give them a bit more attention that maintenance would call for, at least in terms of frequency. Otherwise, it’s not so much strength but form that’s going away.