The Myth Of Perfect Form

igor-lukanin-200kg-snatch



If you were to go on to Youtube right now and look at some of the biggest lifts ever pulled, you know what you would find in the comment section? Something that sounds like this: “You are going to throw your back out, you should drop the weight and work on form”…”Why didn’t you do it like Ed Coan or Arnold? You are bigger than they are, you should have done it the right way”….etc.

For example, let’s look at an old, old video of Kevin Nee Deadlifting 905 raw:


Blurry video, but amazing right? Now click here to read the comments. What is amazing about most of the “highly skilled” commenters is you will usually find 1 of 3 things if you were to look at their own video playlists: Call Of Duty game tutorials, Carly Rae Jepsen karaoke videos, or how-to’s for fixing grout on the kitchen floor. Well then, you ask, how do they know so much about deadlift technique that they can critique this pro Strongman?

The answer is: They can’t. The problem with many people is they have this pre-conceived idea of “perfect form” in their head that is just not a reality. They are taking what they have seen of a deadlift at 135lbs and they expect a deadlift at 900lbs to look the exact same way. Just like there is no such thing as a perfect body, a perfect life, or a perfect pizza because opinions of perfect are so subjective, there is no such thing as “perfect form” because literally every body is built differently, and will alter the lifts to conform to their body type.

Let’s look at a video of LBEB Athlete Igor Lukanin as he snatches 200kg:

Yes that was a 200kg snatch, and the most common feedback on this video was “wow his knees really cave, he is going to hurt himself. He should drop weight and work on his form.” Let me explain something: Igor has been training in Olympic Weightlifting for over 18 years. EIGHTEEN YEARS, can you fathom that? That is almost as long as some of you have been alive. What he has done is found a way to most effectively move for HIS body type. Does he move in a textbook way? No. Does he snatch 200kg and CJ 245kg? Yes! The textbook was is great, until you get out of the textbook and into the real world where everyone has a different build: long limbs, short limbs, scoliosis, one leg longer than the other, etc. 

One of the biggest things working with Marshall on Strongman has taught me is that in order to be the strongest you can be, you need to figure out how to use your body type to move the weight. I find that a lot of people will say ” I am going to keep the weights really light and just work on getting perfect form.” Don’t get me wrong, I think that’s great for an ABSOLUTE beginner with no prior experience. If you have been lifting for more than 4-6 months and are still doing this, you are just lying to yourself. It’s easy to have “perfect” form when the weight is light, but constantly working on form isn’t going to help you when the bar is loaded to the gills and you don’t know how to grind through a lift, or how to correct an Olympic lift mid-flight because of a small error.

I feel that too many people worry about letting their otherwise good form deviate slightly on a heavy lift, so they just decide to not lift heavy, and chastise others for doing so. 

 Let’s take a look at two more deadlifters, same weight, different styles. First is Misha:


Misha’s butt is very low, almost like a clean deadlift, and his upper back is relatively flat, with hips below shoulders.


Next is Konstantinovs:


You can see that his butt is much high, and he is letting his upper back round a bit, with the lower back still tight, similar to the method that we teach. Notice his shoulders are barely above his hips.

Two very different styles, same weight. Amazing deadlifts. But is their form perfect? NO! They are different builds, and they are utilizing their build to their best advantage, which is what you should be doing. Konstantinovs will not have a disc shoot out his butt from rounding his upper back, because he has trained his body to move in that position as effectively as possible.
If you spend your entire life keeping it light and focusing on “perfect” form, you will never amount to much, because you are afraid of the grind. That being said, you obviously need to focus on having as good of form as YOU personally can have, but don’t spend your life chasing that “perfect” form, not only because it doesn’t exist, also because you will never want to go heavy enough to put that form to the test. Address your mobility issues, work your weaknesses, and get COCK-DIESEL STRONG!