Stronger in 60 Seconds: Flat vs. rounded back deadlift

Flat vs. rounded back deadlift.

Here are my thoughts after trying both:

A photo posted by Adam Pine (@adam_pine) on

Round back: My shoulders are dropped to shorten the ROM. I make my arms long and reach for the bar. This sets my lats down towards my front pockets, keeping my lats/upper back tight.

My lower back starts in a neutral position, while my upper back is slightly rounded.

With “longer” arms, I’m able to start with my hips closer to the bar. This improves the leverage and allows me to have a more aggressive push off the floor.

I prefer this technique. I think it can be advantageous for more advanced/competitive lifters looking to move the heaviest weight possible. I think it has potential to be riskier, although I don’t think it’s inherently dangerous if you know how to properly breathe, brace, and stay tight.

Flat back: I’m trying to bend the bar over my knee caps.This locks my lats down into my back pocket, keeping my lats/upper back tight.

I’m able to pull my chest upright and straighten my back for a safe starting position that allows me to lift heavy and maintain a neutral spine throughout the lift.

This technique will be safer for most and suites those looking to deadlift heavy, but maximum strength is not the number one goal.  I also like to coach this starting position for anyone learning to deadlift.

Use the technique that’s inline with your goals and works best for you.

Want a bigger deadlift?

Shoot me an email at with “Deadlift” in the subject line!

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