I received tons of advice from the Freak Critique: Adam Driggers’ Deadlift. The first time I read all the feedback, I was immediately consumed by the question of how to respond. Furthermore, how do I address all of this in my training. There is a lot of good stuff there, but I can’t just run to the gym and do it all at once. I need to have a plan. The following is my plan to address everything that was given to me. First, let me say that I appreciate all these guys critiquing my pull. Their time and expertise is very much appreciated. There were twelve who weighed in. They were:

Marc Bartley
Mick Manley
Mike Stuchiner
Eric Maroscher
CJ Murphy
Zane Getting
JL Holdsworth
AL Caslow
Scott Yard
Chad Aichs
Dave Tate
Brian Carroll

That’s an impressive list of advisors.

Before I go any further let me give you some background on the video that was submitted. I tore the ligament from the spine in my low back in March 2013. The pulls in the video were my first real attempts at pulling since the injury. It was July, just shy of four months from the injury. It was at the Mini UGSS in Orlando hosted by Brian Schwab at OBB. It was my first time in the suit and it followed my first geared squat since my injury. Also, my deadlift PR is 716. I only add that information as background information. I’m not sure if everyone had that information, but it shouldn’t matter as it wouldn’t change the advice I was given. I have compared the video to pulls prior to the injury and the form is the same. I have all the same issues. The only difference is that I am weaker at the time of the video than I was before the injury. My point: The advice is still relevant. The fact that I am so near an injury hasn’t changed my form.


A plan

My thought is to create a Spreadsheet that will include who and what. On the left will be the who and will be only important to the readers, not to me. In other words, I’m not choosing my order of, nor level of importance for, things to try by who gave it.

Across the top will be the what. What was I told to try? Hips down. Closer to the bar. Chest up. Each piece of advice I was given will be give its own column.

From there I’m just going to put an X next to each name and under what advice. My order will come from greatest to least. The more times something was suggested it will move up the priority list. The least number of times it was suggested will move it down. This was my best idea for prioritizing the suggestions.

The spreadsheet

The total breakdown

19 Total columns
6 Individual columns
8 Relating to starting position
3 Relating to glutes
2 Relating to shoulder position

Let me assure you that there were so many more than 19 separate suggestions, but some were so similar that for the ease of this article, and my own assessment, I grouped them together.


Arched back/Flat back
Ass again the suit/Load suit
Low butt/Sit back/Head back

Individual columns that couldn’t be grouped together, but dealt with the same thing, were grouped by color:

There are 8 columns dealing with the starting position. (Dark Gray)
There are 3 columns relating to glute activation (Light Grey)
There are 2 columns relating to shoulder position (Yellow)

These were different enough to be left in their own columns, but similar enough that they should be grouped with like columns.

Once everything was grouped I looked at each of the 20 columns to see what suggestion was most popular. Removing the slack from the bar had 6 suggestions. That’s 50 percent of the respondents. Next, look at the largest group of columns. The starting position columns was first with 8. The closest group of columns has only 3.

I hope you can see how I am assessing which suggestions should be applied to training first. At this point I know I need to address the slack in the bar. Next, I need to look at the 9 starting position columns to address the order of suggestion I will apply to my training.

Breakdown of my starting position

3 Low butt, Head back, Sit back
2 Flat/Arched back
2 Improve starting position by sitting back
1 Shins against the bar
1 Chest up
1 Shoulders back
1 Shins vertical
1 Back at 40-45 degrees
1 Tight upper back

Notice that some are similar. The ones that are similar were different enough that I felt I should leave them separate to address them differently in training if the first suggestion doesn’t improve my pull. Now it’s time to identify the next largest group of columns. Glutes had 3 columns.

Breakdown of my glutes

3 Squeeze glutes to lock out
1 Work front hip and hips range of motion
1 Do rack pulls using glutes

Breakdown of my shoulders

1 Droop shoulders and lock them in
1 Tighten everything but shoulders, rhomboids, and arms

Those two sound contradictory, but I believe they are choosing two different methods to accomplish the same thing, which is to shorten the distance of the pull by lengthening the arms.

My plan-of-attack

1. Take the slack out of the bar

2. Improve my starting position

  •  Low Butt
  • Head Back
  • Flat (arched low back)
  • Chest up
  • Shins vertical
  • Tight upper back
  • Shoulders low (Lats to the floor)
  • Glutes, Glutes, Glutes

3. Train

4. PR