Do you need deadlift shin guards?
You might not need deadlift shin guards if you deadlift in long pants and pay attention to proper deadlift form as explained by Mark Rippetoe in the How to Deadlift with Proper Form video above courtesy of The Art of Manliness.
Deadlift Shin Guards aka Do Not Deadlift in Shorts!
If you are deadlifting in shorts, yes, you probably do need them, otherwise you will likely end up scraping your shins and could end up with bloody shins.
So, the first rule of thumb is that when you are going to do a deadlift workout, do not deadlift in shorts!
If you do deadlift in shorts, you have to protect your shins with a good pair of over the calf socks, or deadlift socks and/or deadlift shin guards.
The most effective deadlift form will have the bar very close, if not dragging over your shins, because the closer that you keep the bar next to your shins, the less stress you will have on your back and the more weight that you can deadlift.
Since I first began deadlifting at the ripe young age of 56, I have never used deadlift shin guards.
I have also never deadlifted wearing shorts.
I have only done a deadlift workout while wearing 3 layers of shin protection, over the calf socks or deadlift socks, long johns and long workout pants.
I first started to wear long johns because it gets cold here in New York City, especially in the winter, and even during the summer, a gym is usually pretty cool.
The very first time I did deadlifts, I was in shorts, and knew right away what a mistake that was.
I had no clue that deadlift shin guards even existed.
Once I saw how much more comfortable deadlifting was with long pants, and another layer underneath, I added deadlift socks and if you do not have deadlift socks, you can use over the calf socks.
The same way to avoid hurting your shins or your back doing deadlifts is practice the best form possible when doing deadlifts.
If you do decide to use deadlift shin guards, they are not an excuse for bad deadlift form.
Save your shins and save your back from any injury by committing to use the best form possible when doing deadlifts.
Mid-Foot Importance, With or Without Deadlift Shin Guards
When you set up to do a deadlift, make sure that the barbell is line up over your mid-foot.
You do not want the bar right against your instep, nor do you want the bar too close to the ball of your foot.
Your shins should only touch the bar once you bend down and grip the bar.
If your shins are already against the bar before you set with your grip on the bar, you are too close to the bar.
Having the weight right above the middle of your foot will give you the most leverage and power.
Having the weight right above your mid-foot will also keep the bar close to your shins, but not so close that they get hurt, injured or bloody.
The point of deadlifting is to get stronger in mind and body, not to get hurt.
Finding your mid-foot might take a little time, but once you do, you can always use your laces or some other part of your sneaker or deadlift socks or slippers as a visual cue.
When you set up correctly, the bar will be right over your mid-foot and your shoulder blades will be right over the bar and when you are already gripping the bar and ready to begin the deadlift, then you will feel your shins against the bar.
If you keep your focus on the bar right over your mid-foot and your shoulder blades right over the bar, your shins will touch the bar and your hips will be set up properly to begin the deadlift.
The first rule of proper clothing for deadlifts is to wear long pants.
As I have mentioned, because I first started to deadlift in the winter, I got used to deadlifting wearing three layers, over the calf socks, long johns and workout pants.
Please do not wear shorts when doing a deadlift workout.
If you wear shorts, then you are naturally going to try to keep the bar from scraping against your legs which can put more stress on your back.
If you live in a hot climate, or just get too hot with long johns under your workout pants, deadlift socks are a great alternative to long johns.
Deadlift socks will give you another layer of protection between the bar and your shins.
Deadlift shin guards have even more padding than deadlift socks, but they come with a caveat, if you do wear deadlift shin guards, be very careful not to sacrifice good form.
Long deadlift workout pants and deadlift socks should be sufficient to protect your shins, even better when you have another layer like long johns over your socks and under your workout pants.
If you do wear shorts when deadlifting, then that appears to be the time when deadlift shin guards are a must.
No matter what, always work on having the best deadlift form possible.
Respect the deadlift and the deadlift will be your friend for greater overall body strength, a leaner body and a better mood.
Please comment if you have experience using deadlift shin guards.
How do you protect your shins when you are deadlifting?
Have you experienced bloody shins from deadlifting?
Do you deadlift in long pants, with deadlift socks or deadlift shin guards?
Who knows, maybe you deadlift in shorts with no deadlift socks or shin guards, please share.
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