"This is about my max right here."

"That’s good because I was getting tired of loading shit."

And so Ted Toalston’s deadlift coaching session begins: With a witty remark and admitting to shaving off his beard.

The first deadlift is, in a word, solid.

The second one? Not so much. Ted steps behind Lifter 2 and places his hands on Lifter 2’s shoulders. Ted instructs Lifter 2 to pull his shoulders back and then down, then to lock it in and keep it tight. Boom. Success.

Lifter 3 also has a solid deadlift — and a nice short pull, too. Ted notes that Lifter 3’s deadlift was particularly compact, which is impressive to see in a bigger guy.

Then enters Lifter 4. He describes his lift to Ted: When he goes down to grab the bar, he keeps his hips high as he tries to keep everything loaded... to which Ted says:

You’re breaking your back.”

Lifter 4 explains that when he gets in position, he tries to get all that tightness back, and getting that to lock in is a hit or miss.

Ted says when he sets up for the deadlift, he doesn’t even look at the bar. He lines his legs up with the rings on the bar, sets his back, and (in his words) drops his nuts on the bar. He keeps his head forward and lifts up. There’s no need to look down. In doing so, his arms will drop down where they need to be.

Ted then demonstrates his deadlift. He locks his muscles in where he needs it, and just as he said, he doesn’t look at the bar.

Lifter 4 informs Ted that he pulls hook grip, and asks if that makes any difference. He prefers hook grip because he ran into a problem with his switch grip windmilling, and he feels a lot of stress in his biceps or pecs, which could result in a potential injury. Hence the preference for hook grip.

Ted reassures him that even with pulling hook grip, it’s still possible to do a deadlift without looking down at the bar and keeping his back muscles tight and locked. It’ll just take a bit more time and effort, but it’s possible.

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