At the top of the deadlift (i.e., when you have picked up the barbell), are you supposed to roll your shoulders back? Or are the shoulders supposed to remain the way they were when you grabbed the bar at the bottom position?
In this video — In Depth on the Deadlift with Mark Rippetoe (Starting Strength) — Mark corrects the performer's ending position in the fifth step by telling her to lift her chest, and then he pulls back her shoulders (click the link above).
I am a beginner. I am wondering if that is the right thing to do. I am asking this because I have heard that we are supposed to stay tight and not lose tension anywhere in the body when performing the deadlift and the squat. When I tried to roll back my shoulders as instructed by Mark, I suddenly felt all the weight of the barbell (+ the weights) fall directly on my upper back. This weight shift was so drastic and uncomfortable that I stopped rolling my shoulders back like he said. I don't have a problem with sticking my chest out (or driving my hips into the bar). But that shoulder roll was so bad it felt like the weights were bending me backwards, if that even makes sense. No, I wasn't using heavy weights; I don't have any problem with how much weight I am lifting. Everything was fine and tight and firm, until the moment I rolled my shoulders back like the performer.
From the video, you can see here and here that the performer rolls her shoulders back and she seems a bit uncomfortable doing that. I mean the rolling of the shoulders does not look like a fluid motion. When we grab the bar at the bottom position, our shoulders are internally rotated (i.e., our palms face our shins). It seems to me that Mark is asking us to rotate back our shoulders (and that would naturally cause our palms to face inwards touching the side of our legs). But since we are holding on to the barbell, our palms still face backwards. And for some reason that seems to be one of the source of the discomfort. The other being that rolling the shoulders may lead to losing some tension or tightness, which is what happened to me I guess.
I know Mark's Starting Strength is like a bible; this answer here has it listed at the top for a beginner's guide to the deadlift. I want to know if anyone else here has faced the same problem, i.e., rolling back the shoulders puts a lot of sudden pressure on the upper back. I want to know if one can avoid rolling the shoulders and perform the lift.
I am following some of Alan Thrall's videos on deadlifts and squats. He too follows the 5 steps of Starting Strength. But unlike Mark and the performer, Alan does not readjust his shoulders at the top of the deadlift. He simply sticks his chest out, and does not roll back his shoulders.
So which is correct? Should we roll the shoulders or not?
In this video, Quick Deadlift Tip : Shoulder Position / Tight Lats, Alan Thrall explains exactly what I am referring to. It's a very short video; please have a look. Here is what he says:
Today I want to talk about a mistake that I often see when people are setting up for the deadlift. When setting up for the deadlift, the correct shoulder position is down, not shrugged up, and not back. While standing tall with your arms at your side, drive your fingertips down towards the ground. This is where gravity wants your shoulder to be. Grab a pair of heavy dumbbells and stand up tall. Pay attention to where your shoulder-blades want to settle — down — not shrugged up and not pulled back. Setting your shoulder blades down before pulling the weight off of the floor will tighten and engage your lats. Correct shoulder position can be achieved by pulling the slack out of the barbell and pulling the slack out of your setup. ... Failing to engage your lats during the deadlift might be causing your back to round over as you pull. Rolling the shoulders at the top of the deadlift to try and emphasize lockout is an indicator that someone is not setting their shoulders before they pull. This shoulder roll is unnecessary and counterproductive. Set your shoulders in the correct position at the bottom and you will automatically be in the correct position once you get to the top."
Here is a picture from How to Deadlift with Proper Form: The Definitive Guide
The blog says:
Shrugging or rolling your shoulders at the top is unnecessary. Your traps already work hard to keep your shoulders in position when you Deadlift. There’s no need to add a contraction at the top, and doing it anyway is bad for your shoulders. Let your shoulders hang at the top.
Read more https://stronglifts.com/deadlift/