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Learn How To Properly Lock Out A Deadlift, Squat, and Hip Thrust

2013 August 9

Bret Contreras is definitely a popular figure these days in the strength and conditioning world and for good reason.  He runs a great blog and puts out a monthly research review with Chris Beardsley that I highly recommend if you want to stay on top of research relevant to the strength and conditioning field.  Needless to say, I am a fan of Bret and his work and appreciate the efforts he puts into improving our field.

However, today, I want to discuss one of his ideas regarding finishing a hip thrust or deadlift.  Bret has suggested to posteriorly tilt the pelvis to really get maximum glute contraction during these movements and to help overcome anterior pelvic tilt (see THIS POST for his favorite exercises to posteriorly pelvic tilt).

While a properly performed posterior tilt will increase glute contraction, it is often very hard for people.  Many people simply lack the multisegmental flexion in their low back to achieve a good posterior tilt.  Therefore, when they attempt to do this they simply shove their hips forward versus lifting the front of the pelvis up.

This is what I see many people do when trying to lock out a deadlift or hip thrust.  This is an excessive sway of the hips - not a posterior pelvic tilt.

What I see many people do when trying to lock out a deadlift or hip thrust. This is an excessive sway of the hips – not a posterior pelvic tilt.

Now, don’t get me wrong.  This will still achieve great glute contraction, but is also places a lot of stress of the front of the hip.  I see many clients at IFAST, and among my distance clients who have instability and laxity in the front of their hip.  Basically, the ligaments and passive structures that are supposed to be keeping their femur in their socket are loose, and this can cause pain and irritation in the front of the hip with excessive stretching or pressure.

Therefore, teaching them to properly engage their glutes while also using their abs is very important.  And, even if you do not have laxity in the front of your hips, it is still beneficial to learn to use your abs and glutes together to finish a hip thrust or deadlift.

Good Finish - PPT

This is a better finish with the hips stacked over the ankles and the pelvis titled posteriorly.

Simply watch the video below for a detailed explanation of the difference and how to correct it.


Leave any questions or comments below.  Have a great week!

2 Responses leave one →
  1. August 9, 2013

    Great post! Unfortunately, I tend to ram forward even when I think I’m not. Do you have any cues for how to be more aware of my hyper-extensions? Thanks Zach!

    p.s. You rock.

    • August 10, 2013

      Hey Kirsten,

      As I explained in the post, you may not be able to fully get your hips straight at the top YET (this will come). However, you can still prevent yourself from ramming forward. One of my favorite cues for this is to think about tightening your butt, abs, AND thighs at the top of the lift. If you simply think about squeezing only your glutes you will most likely ram forward. Therefore, try to think about tightening those three together and finishing tall. Practice this during your symmetrical deadlift patterning as well (the one with the PVC pipe on your back). Hope that helps! And, you rock too!:)

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