Use the Wedge, Mind Your Armpits
Success with the deadlift will always be tethered to having a masterful setup. If you start in a poor position, you're probably going to have a poor deadlift. And no friends. It sucks.
When it comes to the setup, however, there's no one-size-fits-all approach. In this instance we're all special snowflakes with varying limb lengths, torso lengths, and hip orientation... all of which will affect what will feel best and allow us to lift the most amount of weight.
There are two tenets to the deadlift setup that applies to every lifter:
- Use the wedge. Popularized by Dr. Stuart McGill, it's a foolproof way to set yourself up for success and protect your back. Basically, when you bend over to grab the barbell, you want to use it as a counterbalance to "pull" your chest up and get the hips down, "wedging" yourself between the bar and the floor.
- Now think, "Armpits over the bar, with maximal hamstring tension."