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Deadlift Cues – Pull Yourself In

An important aspect to deadlifting (and any serious lift, really) is FULL BODY TIGHTNESS. There are a couple of things I look for when assessing a deadlift to tell whether a lifter is really tight as she starts the pull:

– Do the shoulders move: When she starts upward, do the shoulders move downward initially as the body rises, until she engages the weight?

– Is there an audible ‘clink’ as the bar engages with the weight before it breaks the floor?

Both of these things indicate the lifter’s body is not tight, and that the lifter is not tight against the bar.

Cue the cues.

My main cue used to be ‘hips down chest up’ as the lifter rocked back into the starting position. The problem with this cue is that there is no instruction to get tight. It leads a lifter to squat to the bar, which in the deadlift creates no tightness whatsoever in the body, nor tension against the bar.

Contrast that with ‘pull yourself in!’

Now you’re not thinking about squatting down to the bar, you’re thinking about gripping the bar and pulling yourself to it. It creates the mental image of tightness, and guides to a tight and powerful setup:

– Grab the bar and squeeze your shoulder blades downward, tightening your entire upper back

– Pull up on the bar, creating upward tension

– Maintain this upward tension and pull yourself in to the bar; if you do it right, you feel tension grow in your quads and your glutes, loading them like a spring.

Now you are tight and ready to explode off the floor!



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