4 Common Mistakes on the Deadlift Pull & How to Fix Them
Written by Michele Vieux

We often see people come into our gyms afraid of the deadlift. It can be a scary movement. It can also be one of the best barbell lifts out there if done properly. Here are some things to look out for on your pull – and once the barbell passes your knees – to make sure you are safely attacking your deadlifts.

If you’re unsure of whether or not you are committing one of these mistakes and you don’t have another set of eyes on you, shoot a video of your deadlift from a side angle, then go down the list and check them off.

Just like with the set-up (see common mistakes here), there are some important factors in the pull that help prevent injury and also put you in position to lift as efficiently as possible. Both the way we brace and whether we rotate our hip joints internally or externally help power our lift and both can be done incorrectly. Sometimes the mistake leads to a lower lift and sometimes an injury, like in the case of #3 and #4 on the list below.

Deadlift Pull Mistake #1 – Using the wrong chain of torque.

People are so used to hearing the “knees out” cue (external torque of the hips) that they tend to use it as a default in every movement. This is incorrect use when deadlifting. Instead, you should be in the “internal torque” chain – your hips should be screwing toward your midline and your lower abs, obliques, pecs and VMO should be squeezed tight.

Deadlift Pull Mistake #2 – Improper Bracing/Spine not neutral.


Most people think of not rounding their backs when they think about bracing and to avoid this, sometimes they over extend instead. Neither is a good brace position. In fact, the spine should be neutral throughout the movement so stop sticking your butt out!

Deadlift Pull Mistake #3 – Bar too far away from legs.

This usually happens as the legs begin to straighten and the athlete doesn’t pull the barbell into them as they move back. The bar should be touching your thighs the entire path from the knees to the hips. Focus on a tight and strong upper back and lats if you make this mistake.

Deadlift Pull Mistake #4 – Overextension at the finish.

Remember that we want to keep a neutral spine position throughout the entire lift – at the top of the deadlift, this means that we are standing straight up, pecs, obliques, lower abs and VMO all squeezed tight and NOT leaning back and overextending our lower back which can lead to injury.

So you see, there’s no need to fear the deadlift! You will figure out your “problem area(s)” with the lift by using this checklist and once you do, that becomes your cue to yourself every time you lift!

Do you love to deadlift already? Or maybe you’re looking to add some major weight to your major lifts? Check out our 8-Week Online Strength Program with the amazing, Coach Hunter Britt where you will work on Deadlifts, Squats, Presses and more!