How To Correct Deadlift Exercise Form

If you’re a Strength Camp Member or have been reading my website for some time, you know that I love dead lifts… not only for their strength and power building capacity but also for their ability to correct common muscular imbalances when performed correctly.

This video teaches an effective exercise that will strengthen the scapular adductors and mid back muscles while stretching the upper traps, pec minor and biceps.  Thus correcting the “thoracic kyphosis” posture (rounding of the shoulders) present in many young weaklings ;)

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44 Comments on How To Correct Deadlift Exercise Form

  1. James says:

    September 18, 2009

    Elliot, that’s exactly what happens when I do deads: my upper and mid back curls forward as soon as I get any weight on the bar. Really hard to maintain the extension. Thanks for the tip, I’m going to do this movement for a couple weeks and see how it works…

  2. Elliott says:

    September 18, 2009

    Awesome James, Keep me posted and comment back when you get some results! Thanks.

  3. Brad says:

    September 18, 2009

    great vid and I think that is really applicable for beginners to use. For advanced lifters or ones that lift heavy on deads bicep tendon issues are high with suppinated grip, just thought I would throw my 2 cents in. great vid for beginners to teach scap retraction. talk to you soon!!!

  4. Elliott says:

    September 18, 2009

    Thanks Brad — Yea you’re 100% correct… I never dead lift heavy weights with a supine grip, neither do and of our strong and balanced athletes.

    BTW, I’ll post your article next week ;) They always get great responses!

  5. thaddeus says:

    September 18, 2009

    Hi Elliot,

    I think that video is great. Every beginner should use it. I have a question that I hope you can answer. Is behind the neck shoulder press unhealthy for your shoulders? Cause some say they are while others say it is okay. I would like to hear what you have to say. Thannk you.

    Keep rockin

  6. Alias says:

    September 18, 2009

    First off, I have to say that Elliot has definately lowered his body fat. Keep up the hard work Elliot. Now in response to this video, I would have to say that what was depicted in this video is solid advice. I have indirectly done this at times. I think it should be considered at every level, from beginner to elite. It is always the small things that make the difference. Likewise, form is definately a key factor when training. Great vid! Keep them coming.

  7. Josh Hewett says:

    September 18, 2009

    Thanks Elliot… some of my MMA guys have this issue with deadlifting. I’ll throw this exercise into the mix!

  8. Brad Leshinske says:

    September 18, 2009

    No problem and I know, you know that about the suppine grip thought I would post that just for some guys that might not. Always a pleasure to write for ya man, and I cant wait to finish this product up and let you get your hands on it to read and watch it. talk to ya later bro….

  9. Michael says:

    September 18, 2009

    Great post, Elliot. Definetly makes sense and is info I will be incorporating into my future baseball programs. I’m currently a player myself and training baseball players is a niche I plan to focus on greatly in the next several months.

  10. chad says:

    September 19, 2009

    hey cool video but i have one problem i can not supernate my left wrist so i can’t do the deadlift with a underhand grip. also i was wondering at what age would you surgest that kids begin lifting weights i have an 11 year old football playing (saftey) son who wants to lift to get bigger stronger and faster. sincerely chad

  11. Elliott says:

    September 19, 2009


    As with most situations… it depends.

    If you have balanced, stable and healthy shoulders it should not pose a problem.

    But, if you have medial rotation, tight pec minor and lats (as discribed in the video) then I would avoid it.

  12. Elliott says:

    September 19, 2009

    Thanks Alias,

    Yea I’ve been getting lean to prove how the LHM systems works. Funny thing though.. I miss my big neck!

  13. Elliott says:

    September 19, 2009

    Let me know how it works!

  14. Elliott says:

    September 19, 2009

    I suggest gymnastic type training for kids under 14… mostly chin ups, push ups, sit ups, squats, lunges, step ups, etc.

    to add resistance you can use a small sand bag or med ball.

  15. brandon says:

    September 20, 2009

    so you’re saying – do the full deadlift with palms supinated/up/out…just do a very light weight to sort of stretch the muscles to get to the correct form?

  16. Elliott says:

    September 22, 2009

    Brad, the exercise that I am talking about in the video is a STATIC exercise… you dont actually do a dead lift, you just hold the weight while maintaining thoracic extension.

  17. brandon says:

    September 23, 2009

    Elliot, when you start a dead lift – initiate movement, do you just stand up using knees and hips thrusting? im concerned because i hurt my lower back squatting, and i just tried dead lifts for the first time and my trouble area is that little initial starting and returning point, i feel it in the lower back. I’m guessing i need to just work on getting low by putting my hips farther back, so my knees are also back, not hanging out over my toes, keeping back on the heels of my feet, then i can get my hands lower without bumping them into my knees so much also not feeling like im lowering and lifting with my lower back…but more my hips and knees moving, i just am having trouble picking up the weight and returning it without feeling i’m just using lower back, and i know im gonna hurt myself worse, so ive been trying light weight trying to get this form down!… thank you…

  18. vinnie says:

    September 25, 2009

    Thanks bro for all of your tips

  19. Rob Hudson says:

    October 9, 2009

    I like the way you explained the issues you note with the deadlift the exercise you designed and demonstrated is something I definately want to work into my deadlift routine. One other thing I really like is your enthusiam toward what you do, it comes out clearly. Excellent instruction.

  20. Elliott says:

    October 10, 2009

    Thanks Rob!

  21. Deep says:

    January 10, 2010

    Hey Elliot,
    I am a big follower of yours based in India. I have a rounded shoulders problem but its more like the tips are rotated forward. And one is more forward than the other. This is inspite of having far more muscle mass on my back than my front. What could be the problem? Could I send you a pic of mine? perhaps you could explain.


  22. Erik Hall says:

    January 14, 2010

    I think you’re doing a great job with helping folks prevent injury. Your tips are tips that most people do not think about. There’s no doubt that alot of carrier-ending injuries could be prevented if this kinda knowledge was spread out there! Keep up the good work!!!

  23. Elliott says:

    February 6, 2010

    It sounds like you’ve got really tight pec minors and biceps… you’ll need to stretch as well a strengthen the scapula adductors.

  24. Dillon says:

    February 6, 2010

    Hey Elliot,
    Would this be a good lift for a wrestler/football player?


  25. Deep says:

    February 7, 2010

    Thanks a lot. I’ll do the above exercise.

    And once again, I am a big fan of yours, your work and your kick-ass website.

    Regards from India,

  26. Leith says:

    February 8, 2010

    I suffer Sherman’s disease, that is my upper spine is all wedge shaped and stretches when I’m holding… anything! My 11 month old gives me a sore back when Ive been standing with him for more than 10 minutes.

    I used to suffer badly from Shermans, until I became a roadie and had to lug around over half a ton of sound equipment. The muscles in my back all strengthened and it did WAAAAAY more for me than any doctor could (they gave me pain killers!).

    Dead lifts? Not a problem!
    Calf raises? OUCH!
    Isn’t that weird?!

    Love my dead lifts….. find excuses not to do my calves. ;-)

  27. Will says:

    February 25, 2010

    Hey elliott just wanted to give you kudos for such a great website. It has helped me tremendously in my workouts. It’s awesome to have the knowledge to help other people and spread the wealth about exercising. You’re doing an awesome job, keep up the good work.

  28. Elliott says:

    February 26, 2010

    Thanks Will.

  29. Louie says:

    March 3, 2010

    Hey Elliot, what do you recommend for a golfer in terms of strength and conditioning?

  30. Sean says:

    March 4, 2010

    Thanks Elliott,

    Any suggestions for disc herniation, Pirifomis Syndrome or chronic tight hip flexors?

  31. Divya says:

    March 9, 2010

    Awesome Video! I have always heard how important Deadlifts are, but never gave them enough tries to see their effectiveness! But I must admit the demonstration and the anatomy of the back you explained has given me enough impetus to give them the deadlifts their due tries!
    Thank You so much

  32. nelson says:

    March 18, 2010

    how many reps and sets would you recommend to do for that simple exercise above??

  33. ryan says:

    March 20, 2010

    what do u think about a supplement company called prograde?

  34. bob says:

    March 20, 2010

    Have u ever tryed miracle whey protein powder,is it any good?

  35. mikel says:

    March 21, 2010

    Thanks Elliot. I have had tight traps and pecks for a long time and had a “tortoise shell” back… Not any more!! The technique you present here has fixed that. I’m standing straighter, more upright instead of hunching. my back is stronger and no more tightness or soreness in shoulders/traps/neck region. combined with stretches for the hip flexors, my posture has improved markedly, and I’m freely moving and am stronger. I FEEL more capable too.

  36. nelson says:

    March 22, 2010

    hello elliot how many reps and sets do you recommend for this

  37. Josephgoodnews says:

    March 26, 2010

    Is that for stretching or building muscles??

  38. josh Gonzalez says:

    May 8, 2010

    Hey Elliot, thanks for all the great info, always super excited to see your videos. I have been using your methods for imbalnces and I see the benifit in my clients already just after a few short weeks of proper strength and flexibility work. I have a client who exhibits the pink panther characteristics, but he also has seveal conditions that have me looking for more answers. This guy is a rancher and active horse rider. He has several issues that cause him to go to a chiropractor often. So far I have been able to strengthen him in areas so his visits are no as frequent. He complains of pain the the back of the neck primarily one side at the area near the skull and has tightnes that follows that down into his trapezius and scapula area. This causes him to experience pain and decrease ROM to one side. He says he has delt with this for many years. What would you recommend, I could do to possibly help with this problem.

    Thanks Josh Gonzalez,
    Athletic Performance Inc. TEXAS

  39. Elliott says:

    May 9, 2010

    Josh, It sounds like he may have an Atlas subluxation.

  40. Elliott says:

    May 9, 2010

    Foam roller!

  41. Elliott says:

    May 9, 2010

    Just do it for 2-3 sets of 60 seconds at the end of your workout… if you can.

  42. Elliott says:

    May 9, 2010

    building muscle.

  43. ken says:

    November 1, 2010

    Fantastic corrective technique! I have incorporated this into farmers walks with kettlebells and buckets of sand/water (since you mentioned it a couple months or so ago?) with some athletes and had really positive results! Btw, you were freakin great in the Dave, Mike and Elliott call!

  44. Elliott says:

    November 7, 2010

    Thanks Ken :)


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