Getting Your Weight Back on the Deadlift: A Simple Trick

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I woke up this morning struggling to come up with something to write about. Whenever that happens I tend to default to my wheelhouse…..



Well, it’s either that or I start breaking down plot points of some my favorite 90’s television shows like Melrose Place, Party of Five, or 90210.

For instance:

  • I’ll tell you right now, Billy and Allison were doomed to fail. Once you break the roommate-to-lovers barrier it’s all over and stuff starts getting weird. Plus when you throw Amanda (Heather Locklear) into the mix…well, shits bound to go down. (Melrose Place).
  • Sarah Merrin (Jennifer Love Hewitt): the greatest high-school girlfriend ever? (Party of Five).
  • Is this a scene from 90210 or an actual video from one of my high school dances?


These are all IMPORTANT QUESTIONS people.

Joking aside (but not really joking), one of the more prevalent snafus with regards to people’s deadlift technique is their inability to get their weight back. This can lead to a few issues:

  1. One’s weight shifting forward (anteriorly) resulting in pulling through the toes rather than the heels.
  2. The barbell, in this case, will often “get away” from the lifter.
  3. Both scenarios resulting in a poor line of pull where the axis of rotation is further away from the barbell oftentimes compromising low back (spinal) integrity.
  4. More to the point: the barbell feels like a goddamn magnet is attached to it.

One trick I often use is to cue people to use the barbell as a counterbalance to get their weight back, as if they’re trying to wedge themselves into the floor:


But Wait, There’s More

However, different people learn shit differently. How’s that for putting something eloquently? While some people are more visual or auditory learners (either showing or telling them what to do), others are more kinesthetic learners. Meaning, sometimes, in order to understand what their body is doing in space, they may need a little more feedback.

This is where using props comes in handy.

One trick I like to use to teach people what it means to get their weight back is to use a box.


The idea is to set a box underneath so that when they grab the barbell they have to “sit back” until they feel the box. It’s important to note it’s more of less a hover than it is actually sitting back onto the box entirely.The objective is to maintain tension throughout. I.e., no relaxing on the box.

I don’t know, I find it works well for some people and it’s always cool to witness the “ah-HA” moment when they finally get it.

Give it a try and let me know what you think,

Did what you just read make your day? Ruin it? Either way, you should share it with your friends and/or comment below.

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Plus, get a copy of Tony’s Pick Things Up, a quick-tip guide to everything deadlift-related. See his butt? Yeah. It’s good. You should probably listen to him if you have any hope of getting a butt that good.

I don’t share email information. Ever. Because I’m not a jerk.

Comments for This Entry

  • B. N.

    Tony - Another great article. These reminders are very important. However...before I clicked on your article I thought you meant getting weight back in terms of lbs! I thought you would provide some amazing tips (that involved absolutely no work or effort on my part of course) to easily exceed my one-rep . :)

    January 10, 2017 at 5:22 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Elizabeth

    What about when you have the weight too far back? Sometimes I find myself rocking back on my heels and needing to take a step back to catch my balance.

    January 10, 2017 at 6:27 pm | Reply to this comment

    • TonyGentilcore

      Be sure to push your toes into the floor. Also, making sure you "find" your hamstrings is important too. If you go too far back, and make it too squatty, you won't feel your hamstrings.

      January 11, 2017 at 8:53 am | Reply to this comment

  • Eric Snowball

    When using a box help get an athletes weight back, how high should the box be? In any instance that I have heard/read, the crease of the hip should be at least slightly above the knee joint when deadlifting, but in your video it seems (admittedly through baggy sweatpants) that your hip is level to you knee. Any thoughts you could share would be very helpful and much appreciated. Cheers.

    January 20, 2017 at 1:38 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Guzzy

    Loved Party of Five. Excellent article. Thanks!! Tony when you are in Vancouver is the workshop for trainers only or is there a time/section carved out for lifters/clients of trainers?

    January 26, 2017 at 1:45 am | Reply to this comment

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