The lockout in the deadlift can become problematic to a lot of lifters. In this post I’ll explore some faults that may lead to issues in the lockout and recommend a few exercises that might help you with it. Struggling with lockout makes people think that what they need is to isolate this particular portion of the lift by practicing supra maximal rack pulls. While this is not a bad idea, it’s important to identify some other areas that may be contributing to this.

EARLY KNEE LOCKOUT puts the bar too far away from your center of gravity, in order to counter act the weight of a heavy deadlift you need to keep the bar as close to you as possible. Ideally you want to lock out the knees when the bar is at the mid thigh to ensure your leverage is optimal. STANCE WIDTH too narrow or too wide will result in suboptimal length tension relationship of the hip extensor muscles. Avoid RUSHING when the bar is at the hip because you’re desperate to lock out. If the bar made it all the way to the top of the thigh, squeeze your glutes, lean back and relax. Don’t rush.


Finally, weak hip extension or over-reliance on the back to complete the movement. As you know after the bar passes the knees its up to the glutes to complete the job. Above are my favorite exercises to build explosive hip extension strength that will undoubtedly lead to a strong lockout in the deadlift.

By: Dr. Stefanie Cohen, DPT

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