How To Take The Slack Out Of A Deadlift

In the realm of deadlifting, a prevalent obstacle many encounter is the slack present in the barbell. As someone deeply passionate about lifting, I’ve personally tackled this issue and dedicated considerable effort to explore various methods for addressing it. In this piece, I’ll be divulging my own experiences and tactics for eliminating slack from a deadlift.

Understanding the Problem

Before we dive into the solutions, let’s understand what exactly is meant by “slack” in the context of deadlifting. Slack refers to the small amount of space between the weight plates and the floor when the barbell is initially lifted. This can cause the lifter to lose tension and stability, making it harder to initiate the lift.

To tackle this problem, we need to focus on two key aspects: grip strength and setup technique. Let’s start with grip strength.

Developing Grip Strength

A strong grip is essential for a solid deadlift. Without it, you’ll struggle to maintain control over the barbell and take the slack out effectively. Here are a few exercises that have helped me improve my grip strength:

  1. Farmers Walk: Grab a heavy dumbbell or kettlebell in each hand and walk for a set distance. This exercise challenges your grip by requiring you to hold onto heavy weights for an extended period of time.
  2. Plate Pinches: Place two weight plates together, smooth side out, and pinch them with your fingers. Hold for as long as possible. This exercise targets the muscles responsible for finger strength.
  3. Dead Hangs: Find a pull-up bar and hang from it for as long as possible. This exercise not only improves grip strength but also helps with overall upper body stability.
  4. Wrist Curls: Use a barbell or dumbbell to perform wrist curls. This exercise targets the muscles in your forearms, which play a significant role in grip strength.

Regularly incorporating these exercises into your training routine will help you develop a stronger grip, allowing you to maintain better control over the barbell and minimize slack.

Optimizing Your Setup

In addition to grip strength, your setup technique is crucial for taking the slack out of a deadlift. Here are a few key pointers to keep in mind:

  • Foot Position: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, ensuring the barbell is centered in front of you. This position optimizes your leverage and power output.
  • Grip Width: Use a grip width that is comfortable for you, typically slightly wider than shoulder-width. This allows for a balanced distribution of force and reduces the chance of the barbell rolling out of your hands.
  • Brace Your Core: Before initiating the lift, take a deep breath and brace your core by contracting your abdominal muscles. This creates a solid base of support for the entire movement and helps maintain tension throughout.
  • Engage Your Lats: Prior to lifting, actively pull your shoulder blades down and engage your lats. This helps stabilize your upper body and improves your ability to generate force from the ground.

By implementing these setup techniques, you’ll be able to minimize slack and maximize your deadlift performance.


Taking the slack out of a deadlift can be a game-changer when it comes to your lifting performance. By prioritizing grip strength and optimizing your setup technique, you’ll be able to overcome this common challenge and lift with greater efficiency and stability. Remember, it’s all about practice and finding what works best for your body. So, grab that barbell, apply these strategies, and keep pushing yourself to new heights!