Deadlift Cues

January 2nd, 2013 by Laura

These are the cues I use to pull. Luckily, this lift never takes a vacation on me, but I like to keep some notes just incase I do need to refer to them at some point.

  1. Crushed Can
    Take the slack out of myself before grabbing the barbell by pushing all joints down into each other. Bend knees a bit, it should feel like I just shrank a couple of inches and puts me closer to the bar. Contract everything hard lats, triceps, core, glutes, hams. Get all weight in heels and drive them through the ground. Raise toes if needed to help dig heels in deeper.
  2. Align and Visualize
    Look at the bar and line up in the position I would be in when locked out. Make sure hand positioning is correct. Keep condensing everything down by tensing. Go through a strong and speedy lift one time in my head and feel the lockout.
  3. Stake in the ground
    Drive down on heels and move as little as possible to get to the bar. Grab the barbell and remove slack, and barbell doesn’t move, I dig myself in under it and closer to it. Alternate cues for this are:
    – Heels To China (Dan John)
    – Unearthing Trees (pulling out trees by the root)
    – Teeter-totter / See-saw
  4. Tilt
    I am willing my hips closer to the bar throughout the lift. But on passing the knee, I’ve had to train myself to tilt harder and quicker than I naturally feel the need to. More on Pelvic Tilt
    Alternate: Stand up straight.
  5. By the time I am ready to take a max, I shouldn’t even have to think (or overthink) about anything; all the speed training seems to take care of that. I dive bomb and it looks like I just swoop in and grab the bar, but in my head I already grabbed it, before I grab it. Start with legs a bit bent and contract everything in them. Try to push myself into the ground like a spring to come up, and take the slack out of myself before I even touch the bar. Look at the bar and set my grip in my head, and drive heels into the ground as much as possible before gripping the bar.

    Before the pull, take the slack out of the bar. It happens very quickly, but the movement is strong and efficient. Kind of like hammering a stake into the ground. You take that first whack to get the thing centered and stuck in there, then start hammering in deeper.