Feet are the base of the deadlift. How the feet are positioned can affect the posture and movement throughout the whole deadlift motion. For each individual the “ideal” position may vary a little, but overall the framework of how the feet are set up in the conventional deadlift is the same. The recommendation is start with a good base and then make educated and coach assisted modifications that match you, but still keep your lift efficient and consistent. Here’s how to set yourself up with a good base for a conventional deadlift:

  1. Step up to the bar and place the feet so the bar is over the midfoot about 1 inch away from the shins
  2. Set the heels hip to shoulder width apart
  3. Turn the toes slightly out

From there you can lock the rest of the body into position and complete the lift. Make sure to find your position and keep consistent every time you pull.

Remember there can be some variability for every individual lifter, but take caution when you set yourself up because how you set your feet up can affect the position and motion of the rest of the body during the deadlift. Here are some mistakes and other things to make sure to take into consideration:

  1. Keeping the toes straight or turned in can close down the hips and affect hip/trunk position at set up and during the lift
  2. Turning the toes too far out at set up can force the knees wide pushing the knees into the arms or pushing you into a wider grip which will affect the hip and trunk positioning at set up and throughout the deadlift
  3. For most, a narrower stance (staying outside of hip width apart) is better. This can allow for the arms to be in a better position when setting up the grip and trunk position for the deadlift
  4. People with longer legs may benefit from a slightly wider stance. This can help to set the hips and trunk up for a better position throughout the lift
  5. In a conventional deadlift, the wider a stance is, the more it affects arm position. Unless you have some really long arms, the wider the arms and hands go, the more you have to bend at the waist or flex the trunk to be able to set yourself up on the bar when you pull

Keep the feet set up simple and make it consistent. Simplicity and consistency are a quick way to progress and success.

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