The Roll Technique for Deadlift

Justin will be competing at the 2019 USS Kansas Strongest Man in two weeks, and his deadlift is coming together at the right time for the Wessel rules deadlift event that will be part of the competition! As can be seen (CLICK HERE), Justin uses a roll technique, and we’ve been focusing the last month or so on cleaning up his transition from the roll to pull. Justin’s issue previously is that he would try to meet the bar halfway, resulting in a forward weight bias and typically a pattern of his hips shooting up and having to almost stiff leg deadlift it at times. The two videos above are just 2 weeks apart, with 540lbs. on the left versus 550lbs. on the right. The main difference that can be seen is how on the right he leverages against the bar better with an initial bias back with the hips as he initiates the roll, as well as he has a faster roll so that when his shins meet the bar it lines up directly over his midfoot (2nd video is a slo-mo comparison to make this easier to see).

Justin does a fairly extreme version of a roll, but for another idea of how this can be implemented I included a 3rd video of Patrick as well (CLICK HERE) to show his mini roll technique. I’ll start off by saying I typically would not recommend using a roll technique, as its hard to master and is a more advanced technique (and definitely a conventional only technique). But the benefit comes from the natural tightness it creates in the lats. Because these lifters are basically doing a mini lat pullover with the bar, it is cueing them to depress their shoulders and leverage against the bar to create tension off the floor, creating almost an eccentric like action. You’ll commonly see heavier weight class lifters performing the roll technique as it can help to achieve a better lumbar position when girth is limiting hip flexion range of motion, which is why it tends to be fairly popular in Strongman. Timing is everything though, and Justin was able to make that 10lb. jump and move that weight faster than before because the timing of his roll position his optimally to create force immediately through the floor.

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