Deadlift Form Help

I have never had a coach or trainer instruct me in proper deadlifting technique. I mostly learned from watching videos and reading. Like many others, I have never seen a person deadlift in my gym, and the trainers there have the bosu ball madness. So no such luck there.

I pull sumo style, primarily due to the fact that one leg is a centimeter+ shorter than the other and along with some twist / torsion in the short leg ( due to rickets at birth and an ugly car accident years later)and scoliosis (not bad % curvature) my hips seem to break at different times.

I have the same problem squating, if my legs are close the shorter legs hip will bend first and then the weight will be thrown off and ditributed poorly thru my lower back and I end up in bad shape. So I squat and pull wide.

Now toward my question. When I first was deadlifting I would really sit into my starting position, basically I looked like the low part of a wide squat. My hips would be below my knees and the first half of the lift would be a squat until the bar passed my knees at which time I would drive my hips through.

Some random big guy gave me a tip one day to not sit so deep into the pull and instead get my ass above my knees, this resulted in my back doing more work but I did find it comfortable (my butt was not higher than my shoulders) The big problem I had pulling like this was the bar would travel away from my shins and I was basically straightening my legs out before I ever raised my back on the lift.

SO random guy # 2 came up to me on Thursday and said I need to get my butt down below my knees. He had me get right back down into the low butt deep squat looking position to pull.

SO, which is right? Where are my hips supposed to be in relation to my knees in the starting position of the deadlift? Remembering I pull sumo style.

Lastly, I have strained my back several times in my early learning days by pulling too much weight too soon due to not tightening my abs / filling with air. I noticed Thursday that the tighten / fill with air portion is alot harder to do in the deep wide squat starting position.

Sorry for the long post, I wanted to make sure I got it all in there.

Thanks in advance as always.

I start my deadlift at a parallel position… I don’t THINK that it would really matter exactly where you squat down to, as there isnt even a ROM until you start your pull. Keep your shoulders straight, breathing right, and bar close. Keep watching videos, and try not to take in too much of what the guy who just finished 19 different types of curls is saying.

A lot of this stuff depends on your particular body shape, arm/leg length and torso length. It would be much easier to diagnose if you posted a video of yourself deadlifting.

Also it would be worth getting in touch with Eric Cressey or Mike Robertson for their advice.