4 of The Worst Deadlift Mistakes You Could Ever Make

by Jordan Syatt April 17, 2015

Having pulled 4x my bodyweight (530lbs at BW of 132lbs) and coached numerous lifters to 2-3x bodyweight deadlifts, I like to think I know a little bit about deadlifting.

And while deadlift articles are now unfortunately a dime a dozen, this is not your standard deadlift article.

So rather than talk about why Deadlifting is awesome or tell you to maintain a neutral spine for 87,453rd time, I’m going to outline 4 deadlift mistakes you’ve probably never considered.

Some of the most commonly overlooked deadlift mistakes I see made on a daily basis, each of the brief videos below will show you exactly what you’re doing wrong and, more importantly, precisely how to fix it.

In no particular order of importance, here are 4 of The Worst Deadlift Mistakes You Could Ever Make.


Deadlift Mistake #1: Bouncing the Bar Off the Floor

Remember, for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. 

Specific to the deadlift, every time the bar hits the floor, the floor is returning the exact same amount of force directly into the bar. 

So if you aren’t letting the bar come to a complete stop in between reps and are initiating the lift from a bounce, you’re essentially lifting less weight off the floor and missing numerous benefits.

Your Takeaway: If you want to reap all the benefits of a full range of motion (ROM) deadlift, let the bar come to a complete stop in between repetitions. Notably, if you find you’re weakest off the floor and lockout is relatively easy, you need to let the bar come to a complete stop because bouncing the bar is never going to help you get stronger from the floor.

Deadlift Mistake #2 : Gripping the Bar too High in Your Palms

Gripping the bar too high in the palm leads to a cascade of negative events that will drastically inhibit your deadlift performance. 

deadlift mistake
Bad grip. The bar is too high in my palm.

So rather than gripping it in the middle of your palm (shown above) place the bar at the juncture between the base of your fingers and the top of you palm (shown below). Placing the bar here will reduce the lifts ROM while simultaneously allowing you to use the most advantageous grip for a stronger deadlift.

deadlift mistake
Good grip. The bar is lower in my hand at the juncture between my fingers and palm.

Your Takeaway: Gripping the bar too high in your palm is one of the most common deadlift mistakes I see made on a daily basis. Lower the bar to the point where your palm meets the base of your fingers and your deadlift will dramatically improve.

Deadlift Mistake #3 : Forcefully Retracting Your Scapulae

One of the most common deadlift tips I hear from inexperienced strength coaches, forcefully retracting your scapulae is actually one of the worst things you could do while attempting a heavy deadlift.

Considering your scapulae will inevitably protract as the weight increases, trying to forcefully retract your scapulae is not only an exercise in futility…it will actually keep you from lifting heavier weight.

Your Takeaway: Rather than forcefully retracting your scapulae, think about keeping your arms as long as possible while maintaining a neutral spine throughout the entire lift. This will keep you in the strongest position from the very beginning and set you up for a safe and effective pull.

Deadlift Mistake #4: Not Resetting Between Reps

Specifically for competitive powerlifters, not resetting between repetitions is a huge mistake.

Think about it from a competition perspective: in a powerlifting meet you get 3 attempts and for each attempt you only get 1 shot.

Not 3. Not 4. Not 5.

Just 1.

1 rep and 1 shot to deadlift as efficiently as you possibly can.

My point?

By resetting every time, you get to practice that 1 chance on every single rep  rather than just one time per set which, needless to say, will have a huge carryover to your performance on the platform.

Your Takeaway: If you’re a competitive powerlifter, resetting between every repetition is one of the easiest ways to improve your competition performance with the least amount of time investment.

Have You Read The Deadlift Bible? (It’s Free)


Downloaded and read by thousands of lifters, The Deadlift Bible is my own creation complete with 4 instructional video tutorials and an entire manual outlining optimal deadlift technique, progressions, programming, and more.

Plug in your info below and I’ll send your free copy directly to your e-mail in less than 60-seconds.

Never Minimal. Never Maximal. Always Optimal.


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