Gym Shorts: The Five Position Deadlift

New to the five position deadlift or looking for a quick technique tutorial? Learn correct form in one short video.

The Five Position Deadlift

Gym Shorts videos provide short video demonstrations of correct form for various exercises.

Follow these steps:

  • Set Up
    • Normal deadlift set up
    • Narrow stance
    • Shins 1″ from the bar
    • Grip outside your shins
    • Chest up
    • Big breath
    • Drag the bar up your legs
  • The intermediate positions (lower it to):
    • Just above your knees
    • Just below your knees
    • Mid shin
    • The floor again
  • Between reps:
    • Breathe
    • Reset your back
    • Push the floor away & begin again
  • Other form pointers:
    • Breathe at the top or when the bar is on the floor
    • Feel the weight in your full foot for the entire set
    • Allow your knees to come forward slightly
    • Stand tall at the top

The five position deadlift is a deadlift variant used primarily to help following low back tweaks. Because of the nature of the lift, it reinforces a perfectly flat back and good form while lowering the intensity.

The give position deadlift is usually done if someone has suffered a low back injury or back tweak. The intensity is lowered both because of the length of the rep and the long amount of time the lifter has to grip the barbell. Because the bar is lowered to higher positions on the leg for parts of each rep, it helps the lifter identify when the lower back hurts and when they struggle to maintain lumbar extension (keep the low back flat).

We recommend lower reps for this: 2 is a good number of reps, though 1-3 is the typical range.

Again, this is usually more of a light rehabilitative exercise as opposed to something that is added to an intermediate’s program.

One key note here on form: this is not a deadlift off the floor followed by partial and then a full RDL. The knees bend and the balance stays on midfoot whereas in an RDL the knees do not bend and the balance will typically move to the heel.

Click HERE to learn about the cocaine or floating deadlift, another exercise that’s great for low back pain, and HERE to learn about the muscled worked during the deadlift.

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