Watching all-time great deadlifters like Andy Bolton and Brad Gillingham, a shared feature is the vertical bar path of their pulls. This results from starting the deadlift in alignment with where the bar will be at lockout. Specifically, Bolton and Gillingham start with the bar over the middle of the foot, or about an inch from their shins when standing straight.
When a lifter starts too far away from the bar, this causes horizontal bar movement to establish the aforementioned alignment. Horizontal movement is a form of mechanical disadvantage that also increases risk for injury. The consequences are that much higher as the weight on the bar approaches a PR attempt.
The deadlift offers the greatest control over one's setup due to the static nature of the bar prior to beginning the lift. Accordingly, we should maximize this opportunity with a setup that puts us in the most efficient position to complete the pull. For further information on deadlift mechanics, see "A New, Rather Long Analysis of the Deadlift".
Myles Kantor is a powerlifting coach living in Israel. He has worked with top lifters including Mike Tuchscherer and Eric Talmant begin_of_the_skype_highlightingÂ Â Â Â Â end_of_the_skype_highlighting and writes about the sport at Elite Fitness Systems. While living in the United States, Myles competed in the USAPL, APF, and R.A.W. United. He can be contacted at email@example.com.