Mark Rippetoe, author of Starting Strength and Practical Programming, answers all of your questions about how to do the deadlift, including sumo vs. conventional vs. trap-bar deadlifts, the best grip styles, round-back deadlifting, belts, shoes, cues, and more.

In this episode, I speak with the grandfather of barbell training, Mark Rippetoe, who has given us many a great things, including books that everyone should read, Starting Strength and Practical Programming.

I’m a fan of Mark and his work, of course, because nobody has done more to promote, teach, and defend barbell training than Rip, and also because of his peppery personality, which always makes for a fun conversation.

This time around, we talk about the deadlift and its many subtleties and variations.

There are a number of factors that ultimately determine how well you can deadlift that are out of your control—your limb lengths, bone structure, height, and so forth—but there are also many things that you can control, like your technique, tools, and training methods, and these are what you’re going to learn about in this podcast with Mark.

Whether you’re new to the deadlift or trying add a few more pounds to your powerlifting totals, I think you’re going to find today’s talk helpful, because we discuss a number of common questions like…

  • Should you sumo, trap-bar, or conventional deadlift?
  • Should you deadlift with a mixed grip, hook grip, or double-overhand grip?
  • Should you use a belt?
  • Should you round your upper back?
  • What are the best cues?

The bottom line is by the end of this interview, you’re going to know more about deadlifting than 90% of the people in your gym, including the trainers.


6:02 – What is the starting strength method?  

8:32 – What do you think of pulling with a rounded back?

12:37 – What are your thoughts on sumo, conventional, and trap bar?

19:28 – Can you lift more with sumo?

24:53 – What is the trap bar deadlift?

27:47 – Does the sumo deadlift use the quads more?

31:25 – What type of deadlift do you recommend for people with preexisting conditions.

40:15 – What are your thoughts on mix grip, hook grip, and double overhand grip?

41:32 – What is the supine grip?

47:47 – What are your thoughts on deadlifting shoes?

49:33 – What type of deadlifting shoes do you recommend?

55:07 – What are your thoughts on deadlift belts?

1:06:06 – Where can people find you and your work?

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