Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Training - Tugs and a video covering some deadlift pointers

Bodyweight - 237

4" Block Deads -

Speed Pulls - 425 x 4 sets of 3

Elevated Stiff Legs - 315x10

Notes - Really good session.  Everything was super fast.

So I wanted to video something I haven't talked about a lot when it comes to pulling.  And that's hip height in relation to starting position.  I am covering this in RELOADED but I always want to help shitty deadlifters out as much as possible, because I am one.

So you hear a lot about getting the bar up against your shins to start the pull.

No matter what ANYONE tells you, this is not cut and dry.  Where the bar is in relation to your feet will/should dictate hip height.

For a guy with long arms, built to pull, he usually just walks right up and puts his shins against the bar, reaches down and pulls.  You know what I am talking about when you think about it.  Long armed guys just reach down and pull.  The hips naturally move into an almost perfectly leveraged position.  Look at this video of the great deadlifter Steve Goggins.  Bar almost right up against the shins from the start.  Steve was perfectly built for pulling.  So when he reaches down, he gets into an almost perfect position.

However if you're a shorter armed guy, more built for pressing and squatting like me, then this method doesn't seem to work as well because we are hip dominant, and it turns the pull into more of a stiff legged deadlift because a lack of hip extension to start the movement.

Now look at this video of Kirk Karwoski, who was not built for deadlifting but more for squatting.  What you will notice is, Kirk rolls the bar juuuuust a few inches away from his shins before he starts the pull in order to get his hip drops into position.

I'm not saying to squat the bar off the floor, but because guys that are more built for squatting tend to have big asses/hips/legs they should take advantage of this by getting more hip drop into the start of the pull.  The way you dictate hip height is by how far the bar is from your shins when you start the pull.

You can roll it away but to me that means you could be slightly out of position at the start of the pull.  So what I recommend is wear the same shoes for pulling and find a spot on the shoes that let you know the bar should be in position.  Grab, then drop the hips into the right leverage angle.

I hope this helps some guys out that have trouble pulling.


  1. your meet prep blogs and vids are pure fucking gold Paul. You dont recommend your strong/big 15 training for those leaning down and fight training 4x a week do you?

  2. Thanks for the deadlift tips! I'm a short squatty guy too with John McCain arms! 5'8" 200 lbs. Can't wait to try it out saturday! Thanks,


  3. Paul,

    Maybe a dumb question but as someone who IS built perfectly to pull, what do you recommend I focus on for assistance? I get no benefit out of mid-shin block pulls, it just makes the pull super easy for me because I am practically standing up.

    Also - I asked you awhile ago what gyms you recommend in KC (I live in midtown) and you offered me to come out to the place you go in Lenexa. Been super busy and never got the chance to respond but I'd love to if you're still up for it - I know you're doing your meet training at home now though so if not that's cool.


  4. Hey Paul Thanks for doing these tutorials! Little stuff like this can make a huge difference. Kind of an off topic question but I've been looking for a good pair(s) of deadlift/squat shoes as an alternative to converse as they are too damn thin width wise. What shoes do you train with?


  5. Personally, regardless of how I set up (and it varies, based on fatigue, tightness, hell even based off of whether or not I've had a burrito that day and how tight my belt fits [for those keeping score, 1 solid man size burrito is good for 1 notch]) I always end up pulling from a place where the bar, my mid-foot and my scapulas are in a straight line (I believe Rippetoe outlines this in SS. There are a lot of Deadlifting points that I disagree with Rippetoe on, but this is one that's held true in my experience). From there it's all about maximizing the length of my arms and minimizing the distance of the pull, while keeping the total weight (bar + body weight) right in that straight line.
    An article that helped a lot from a mental perspective was this one by Myles Kantor:

    Anyway, as usual, thanks for everything Paul, can't wait for the website to be up and running!


  6. Paul, have you ever experimented with sumo pulls? I made the switch earlier this month on a whim and pulled a ten pound PR (415; 405 conventional was a grind) that was much, much easier on my lower back. I'm wondering if you know if I need to take any special precautions in the way of muscle imbalances or whatever should I choose to continue pulling this way.

    I will experiment with different types of deadlift set-ups as per your video. I'm experiencing a little bit of discomfort in both knees lately and so I'm taking some time to go back to the drawing board and fix form issues in both the squat and deadlift. Looking forward to your book.

  7. Recently I've read an t-nation article from Rippetoe where he stated that the bar should be placed 1 inch away from your shin so the bar stay above your mid foot. Was a good insight to my form and worked fine for me. Can i post link?

  8. That's a lot of help Paul. I'm a 3 month newbie that works out in my basement with equipment I got from Craigslist. Since I'm by myself, this really helped me!

  9. Thanks for the post. I have not really heard that before, just the usual start with your shins. I have been doing cheating rows starting dead on the floor with each rep. It has slowly evolved into me dropping hips, getting tension in my hams, and shooting up. Yes, now more legs then back, and I will adjust.

    The point is that I feel more powerful in that low hip/back position. I never thought about trying it in deads. I guess there are no form police out there. Again, thank you for posting real world stuff.

  10. Unknown - You can use the strong-15 when you lean down just keep lifting to twice a week.

    Adam - Deficit pulls standing on a small box (no more than 2 inches). And LOTS of back work.

    If you would like to come out for some training I have only been going to the gym for squatting on Sat. mornings. Otherwise I have been training at home.

    Anonymous - Don't like sumo. I don't really even consider it a deadlift. It's a sumo lift.

    Bocca - That's kind of what I was addressing in this video. 1 inch from shins is not always going to be the best for everyone.

    1. Paul,

      I'm down for any upcoming Saturday. I usually pull on Friday nights so I can just push that back to the morning. Just let me know the time and details.

  11. 2 Deadlift ?'s.

    I notice your feet are a bit narrower than my current stance. I started thinking about it and thinking about where my feet would be if I jumped in the air, I'd say they'd be more narrow like yours. Will a move closer help? I'm not stalled or anything but if it works I'm switching.

    Lastly, I see some wear knee sleeves deadlifting and squatting. Good idea? I know you do not. I have no knee issues other than occasional soreness. No surguries. I'm not getting any younger either and if it would help them not to get hurt I'm in. If so any recomendations?

    Thanks as always! Sam

  12. 1. Yes. That's how you should determine where your feet should be.

    2. I don't use em. Up to you.

  13. Adam - Usually we are in there at 10:30 or so each Saturday morning. You're always more than welcome to join.

    1. Awesome man. I'll be there this Sat. It's Lifetime Fitness in Lenexa right? They cool with deadlifting and shit?

  14. Right.

    I don't deadlift there because no chalk allowed.

  15. Finally bought your ebook, a quick question about strong 15 template. Example of a 300 max lift, would you program 1st wave at 275, next wave 290, next 310? Like opener, 2nd 3rd?

  16. If 310 is the goal, program at 265 (85%) 290 (93%) then 310 for the final phase.

  17. I didn't see any %s in the pdf or spreadsheet, are they listed elsewhere?

  18. No, this is something I have developed more since those as a guideline. Although what you should program for in there is explained pretty well.

  19. Weeks 1-3 85%, weeks 4-6 93%, weeks 7-9 programmed max. I'm just dividing the samples in the excel spreadsheets to get my set numbers. Thanks a lot Paul.