Seriously! What the heck is going on out there? In one day I saw three videos on Facebook from CrossFit gyms touting a new Deadlift PR from a new member. None of three looked anything like a Deadlift... not even close. Look, a Deadlift (DL) is not exclusively a Squat movement nor is it exclusively a Hinge movement. Get it through your head that it is a hybrid between the two and that it is closely linked to both movement patterns and not the exclusive domain of one or another.
Watch some of the strongest men in the world DL and you will see what I'm talking about. Their torso's are upright, there shins are nearly vertical and they are driving off the ground with their heels and finishing strongly with their hips. Check out Brad Gillingham pulling over 800 pounds for a great example of perfect form and follow through. He initiates with his legs, driving off the ground (just like in a Squat) and then, once the bar is about to his knees, he starts driving with his hips. Just watch:
Many people will argue that if you are doing DL's during a CrossFit WOD then the technique has to change. ABSOLUTELY FREAKING NOT! Just because you are "doing it for time" doesn't mean you throw technique and safety to the wind. As a matter of fact the exact opposite is true: you need to be especially cautious when you are under time constraints that you don't compromise technique or safety. Under pressure is that absolute worse time to make compromises.
Do you want to see a really bad example of the DL? Just check out Facebook on a daily, sometimes hourly, basis. There are some really strong people out there that are putting themselves into a compromised position and pulling the bar off of the ground. Are there some good CrossFitter's doing DL's out there? I'm sure there are - but there are also a whole lot who are being trained and coached to lift the bar in a dangerous and unsafe manner. Following is a video with three notable CrossFitter's doing a WOD called "CrossFit Total". Check out their form (starting at around 04:00) and see how their structure starts to deteriorate and how they rey to "sneak" the bar up. Unsafe, unprofessional and potentially life changing faults that will catch up to you sooner or later if you keep lifting in this manner. Is this the movement standard that you want your athletes, or yourself, to lift to?
How can you recognize a bad DL? It's easy - it doesn't look anything like how Brad lifts the bar. As a matter of fact it looks like the person is bent over and pulling the bar off the floor... which is exactly what you don't want to do. Keep the bar close, keep your back tight, keep your torso upright and drive off the ground until your hips can finish the movement. If you start to compromise any one of those elements then STOP!
Just for fun check out these epic fails while doing the DL. Sorry if this is how you DL but I tried to warn you!