Fix Back Rounding in Your Deadlift

Liz and I have started working together just before quarantine. So training was hit or miss for a bit, but one thing we both knew going into this is she would have to overhaul her deadlift technique. She had a naturally strong pull, but that created a lot of bad habits. So we threw the 'grip it and rip it' out the window and after some tinkering, settled on rack pulls as primary movement to address technique issues.

I chose rack pulls for two reasons:

  1. It takes away leg drive- something that came very naturally for her.
  2. The weight is on you immediately - so you really have to emphasize pulling the slack out of the bar - so forcing her to generate that tension was where we were looking for carry over to her deadlift.

You can see early on in training, Liz sets up, initiates the pull mostly with her hips, and once her hips rise to what should be their starting point, the bar and her upper body follow. The major problem being she's not holding tension in her low back and mid back/lats.

Liz - Deadlifts

So we backed off the weight and tried to work through technique from the floor, but this was one of those habits that didn't want to die easy. So I programmed some rack pulls with moderate weight - I believe 185 in the video. But since Liz was not accustom to generating tension in her back (aka pulling the slack out of the bar AS WELL AS her body), these look as bad as her pulls from the floor.

Liz - First Week of Rack Pulls

So we worked through cues, in order of how they should be executed:

  • Lengthen your lats (or long arms)
  • Brace and fill your belt with your obliques (effectively locking your lats into position)
  • Press your chest away from the bar (effectively engaging your mid back
  • Bring the bar with you when you pull (can't just hip drive, you have to stay tight and connect that hip drive to the bar)

Liz - About 8 Weeks into Rack Pulls

You can see these are a huge improvement from weeks prior. She can brace harder, and get her lats and mid back to stay tighter, but this is great progress. We'll transition back to the floor, but rack pulls will remain a staple in her programming.


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