Squeeze the Slack Out of the Bar Before You Deadlift

Before you begin your deadlift, squeeze the slack out of the bar (or pull the slack out of the bar). This cue helps you stay in the proper position, maintain correct form, and ultimately lift more weight.

Why Squeeze the Slack Out?

Pulling the slack out of the bar helps you better move the bar and avoid the bar moving you out of position. Not pulling the slack out of the bar may cause you to round your back or shift forward onto your toes. It may also lead to the bar moving forward off your shins.

This also prevents jerking the bar off the floor or using your arms to yank the bar off the floor.

How Do I Squeeze the Slack Out?

You perform this step during step 4 of the 5 step deadlift set up. As you squeeze your chest up and flatten your back, squeeze the slack out of the bar before you push the floor away and drag the bar up your legs.

This should become a part of your deadlift set up and second nature to you after awhile.

Pulling the slack out of the bar means you begin to push against the floor and build tension in your arms, causing the barbell to bend without the barbell and plates coming fully off the floor. A deadlift bar or a barbell with more weight will bend more.

You are actually putting force into the barbell but not enough to lift the barbell and plates up off the floor.

Am I Doing It Right?

Some indications that you are doing this properly are that you will feel the weight in your hands. You may feel as if the bar is almost floating, and especially with a light warm up the bar may actually come up off the floor as you squeeze the slack out.

You should also feel the weight increasingly in your feet (and you should feel it on your midfoot, so not too much on the balls of your feet or your heels).

If you are watching someone else’s deadlift or a video of your own, you should look for the barbell to bend, the plates to begin to come up off the floor one at a time from the inside.

Lastly, if you lift with iron plates, you may hear the plates click or clang against the barbell as you do this properly.

Cue Variations

Some variations on this cue include the below:

  • pull the slack out of the bar
  • feel the weight “heavy in your hands”
  • peel the plates up from the inside
  • pull the bend out of the bar




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