Bloody Shins Don’t Mean You’re Deadlifting Properly

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Much like how having torn calluses doesn’t mean you’re hardcore, having bloody shins does NOT mean you’re deadlifting properly. If you want to break it down to very simple terms, think about friction: If the bar is so close to your leg that it is breaking the skin and drawing blood, that means you are causing friction against the bar, and slowing down its ascent.

 

Slowing down the ascent is not what you want when you’re pulling a max deadlift. In addition to the friction from grinding against your leg, you can also be at risk for ramping/hitching the bar up your quads after the bar passes your knee. Since hopefully most of you have quads that stick out further than your shins, this can add even more friction, and slow your bar speed down completely.

 

To get around this, and to ensure that your hips are locking out your deadlift and not a shrug/hitch combo, I recommend the following:

 

-Start with bar 1/2″ off shins.

 

-When bar passes knees, do these three things in sequence:

 

1. Lock knees.

 

2. Flex quads as hard as you can.

 

3. Squeeze glutes at lockout.

 

By locking knees and flexing quads, you will ensure two things:

 

1. Your quads will stay out of the bar path and won’t interfere with the ascent.

 

2. You will keep your hips and glutes engaged throughout the entire lift, thus ensuring that the strongest part of your body is doing what it needs to do: lockout.

 

Not to mention, it’s pretty gross to leave your blood on a bar that doesn’t belong to you. Get that bar slightly off your shins, and keep your ascent speed consistent. That is all.

  • Thanks for this. I’ve had this bloody shin issue. Because of that I’ve switched to using the hex bar because it’s felt more natural for me.