T Nation

Back Snaps from Deadlifts


#1

I've been Powerlifting for 3 years now straight, got pretty strong and confident in my lifts. But just so often (3 times now in the past 3 years). I tweak my back with deadlifting. January 2014 was the worst, took me 6 weeks to recover fully. After 4 weeks orso I could squat and pull sumo, no problems there.
But just yesterday I snapped my back up again during deadlifts, not nearly as nasty like last year (can still walk, carry etc.), but still.

I'm thinking this is all part off the game, every just so often whilst pushing yourself something has got to give, or am I wrong?
I also read an interview with Klokov and he said that everyone he knows who is serious about lifting has some back problem (hernias).

I was just wondering wat are the more expereinced lifters opinions about this and how many times do you tweak your backs, if ever?


#2

[quote]Cobblepot wrote:
I’ve been Powerlifting for 3 years now straight, got pretty strong and confident in my lifts. But just so often (3 times now in the past 3 years). I tweak my back with deadlifting. January 2014 was the worst, took me 6 weeks to recover fully. After 4 weeks orso I could squat and pull sumo, no problems there.
But just yesterday I snapped my back up again during deadlifts, not nearly as nasty like last year (can still walk, carry etc.), but still.

I’m thinking this is all part off the game, every just so often whilst pushing yourself something has got to give, or am I wrong?
I also read an interview with Klokov and he said that everyone he knows who is serious about lifting has some back problem (hernias).

I was just wondering wat are the more expereinced lifters opinions about this and how many times do you tweak your backs, if ever?[/quote]

I don’t have any problems deadlifting, but I do have issues with benching.

Whenever I start approaching/hitting PR’s on bench, I inevitably jack my (right) shoulder up. Last year I did a number on it, and didn’t do any pressing for 10 weeks.

There’s two causes to this:

1.) To get my bench up, I have to increase volume/frequency. However, my bench form is screwed up, so I just spend more time in a bad position for my shoulder. I tend to shrug my shoulders up, instead of pulling back. I felt more stable that way. This is probably because my traps are stronger than the other muscles pulling my scapula back; this is seen when people shrug when doing rows)

2.) I sit down, with terrible posture, using a computer all day.

I am doing some things to resolve this, but I won’t go into detail since you did ask about deadlifts, and frankly I’m not qualified to give advice on that front anyway.

I do think injury is to be expected. Some people are certainly more prone to it. If you have posture or form problems, like me, you’re even more likely to injure yourself. You may want to look into those two things.


#3

Why do you think you’ve had no problems with the Deadlifts?

I think I got sloppy yesterday and forget to lock out with the glutes squeezed but I’m not sure.
I was wearing a belt, so that’s another question I have. In order for the belt to prober function you need to push the abs against the belt. Without a belt (Kelly Starret for example) advocates pulling the navel inwards. Any tips on that?

My 1 rep max is 210kg, last week I hit 12x160kg and yesterday I tweaked my back with 9x170kg. I was planning on dropping high rep deads all together but they are important in the 531 programming.


#4

You may want to post a video of you doing a relatively heavy set of deadlifts so we can see your form. Other than that you may want to look into some prehab work to help prevent it from happening again.


#5

This was me 5 months ago.

I realise the angle isn’t great, so in a few weeks I will make a new video and post it here.


#6

Back in 2008, I was squatting to pins, the bar rapidly unloaded and reloaded on my back and I felt the worst pain in my life. My wife had to dress me and put on my shoes in the morning so that I could grimmace through work only to come home and collapse on the couch and not move for the rest of the day. That went on for 2 weeks.

For the next 2 years, any time I tried to deadlift off the floor I would feel something pop in my back and be in a similar state of pain for a few days. After that, I could pull from the floor again, but about once every 3 months the same thing would happen and I would be out of training for about 2-3 days. That went on for about 1-2 years, and then it became like every 6 months, and now it’s even less frequent, and usually I can finish a training session after feeling the pop and then I’ll only be in pain for a day or so.

What really helped was to quit pulling off the floor so much. The majority of my deadlift training is off of mats. I also only squat to depth in competitions, and do a lot more core work than I used to. The reverse hyper was also an incredibly valuable investment. Also, I brought my feet WAY in on the deadlift, and it helped a ton.


#7

[quote]Cobblepot wrote:
This was me 5 months ago.

I realise the angle isn’t great, so in a few weeks I will make a new video and post it here.[/quote]

My recommendation: if you’re going to pull touch and go, get some straps. You can focus far more on keeping your core tight and technique and less on grip. I have re-aggravated my back injury from this, but once I switched to straps, never had that issue.


#8

Thanks Punisher, I’ll check out some straps and try it.
I do hyperextensions @ home since my gym doesn’t have a hyper or a reverse hyper. I’ll UP those in the assistance lifts, I have already but maybe I should do them 3 times a week.
What do you mean by bringing the feet in? A smaller stance or feet straighter forward?

I found a few better videos. These are from a few months ago.
I Deadlift once a week on the 531 program.

3 reps (skip to 0.15)

1 rep


#9

I made this video a while back. It should give a good demonstration of the deadlift modifications I made to save my back

I wouldn’t really consider a normal hyperextension to serve the same purpose as the reverse hyperextension, so I can’t actually endorse that gameplan, but definitely find what works for you.


#10

[quote]Cobblepot wrote:
This was me 5 months ago.

I realise the angle isn’t great, so in a few weeks I will make a new video and post it here.[/quote]

Watch your hips closely. At the bottom of the lift they drift to the left on pretty much every rep. Do you notice a big disparity when doing single leg work? Do you have a squat video that shows similar hip movement?


#11

I tweaked my back twice from deads last year.
Decided to hire a good strength coach and fixed my form (for only $30 too)


#12

In your videos from the side it is clear you’re using too much back. First when u set up u set ur hips lower than they should be with much dorsiflexion causing the hip to shoot up and knee angle to open up throwing you out of position (shoulders too much in front of the bar) so you lose some leg drive.

I see also a problem in the lockout. You’re not bringing the hips forward, your pulling the bar to you causing the overextension in the back. It is called the soft knee lockout. If you take ur pants off u would see ur knees aren’t fully locked out at the top.


#13

Thanks Punisher will have a good look at that video.

Alrightmiami, I noticed that too. Firts I thought that it had to do with reverse grip. But a couple of days ago I noticed while holding a long pause in the hole squatting, that one leg was slightly off. That might have something to do with this. I do no single leg work. How might I fix this? My pain is also mostly on my right side.
I found this thread:


Will try the buttcheeks against the wall tip given there.

@Shadowbod, unfortunately there are no good coaches here in the Netherlands around my area (Rotterdam). There’s also not a lot more experienced lifters at my gym. And powerlifting gym’s are none existant in my part of town.


#14

[quote]Alrightmiami19c wrote:

[quote]Cobblepot wrote:
This was me 5 months ago.

I realise the angle isn’t great, so in a few weeks I will make a new video and post it here.[/quote]

Watch your hips closely. At the bottom of the lift they drift to the left on pretty much every rep. Do you notice a big disparity when doing single leg work? Do you have a squat video that shows similar hip movement?[/quote]

I just want to add that I also see this. Something is off here. Tight hip flexors?

In the touch’n’go rep set from the back, it looks like you’re bouncing the weights ever so slightly unevenly on some reps, causing you go to even more crooked. This is maybe because one side of the hip is slightly higher than the other? You may want to do full-stop deadlifts.

Also, in your video of you pulling from the side, you lock out with your lower back. You can see when you lockout that you don’t achieve full hip extension: you are not standing completely straight up, but leaning back.


#15

Yeah like I said in my first post I got sloppy in the lockout. I just watched Punisher’s vid and he pretty much confirms what I thought was the culprit. It’s also an eyeopener since I widened my Deadlift stance over the course of last year.

So to do, is fix the weird hip shooting up on one side.
Less wide footprint and straps, maye even pulling off a plate instead of the ground.

@ Punisher, what do you recomend for the Kettlebell swings? I have a 16 and 24kg bell.


#16

[quote]Cobblepot wrote:
@ Punisher, what do you recomend for the Kettlebell swings? I have a 16 and 24kg bell.[/quote]

Just get them in somehow/someway. It’s more about drilling the movement pattern. These days, I use them more like a warm-up, hitting 3x10 of somethign light. Otherwise, you could do tabata swings for conditioning, or do a set of 3-5 in between everything else.


#17

I also have a back problem. But where it is now I can still work around it fairly well.

I had some back problems when I was a little kid but I had forgot about them.
Then when I was 17 I was trying to help my brother deadlift a giant log to put out a fire. We couldn’t lift the log but I must have done some damage because I could feel it slightly at the time and over the next few months my back was hurting more and more. I had to completely quit my MMA training as a result (I am quite confident that if I had just taken a break from MMA right after the injury that it would have completely resolved - I was ignoring the worsening pain.)

When I started deadlifting again years later it hurt to deadlift 105lb. I was thinking ‘no way’ but I slowly eased into it and now I can pull heavy without major issues. I still get minor aggrivation after every deadlift session, and I get re-aggrivated to the point of needing to take time off atleast every 4 months, but for the most part it doesn’t stop me.

Having eased back into deadlifting again when I thought I wouldn’t be able to is an accomplishment that I am proud of.


#18

Want to report back.
Did two deadlift session after my first post and did some extra thinking.
Bringing my stance more in did good, couldn’t yet get used to using straps on my heavy sets. But that’ll prob. take a while.
I did 2 sets of 2 with 180kg, couldn’t get my back straight with the belt on. Without the belt no problems, any thoughts on that?

Also I’ve been taking in (5/6 coffee) more caffeine a few months ago. I’m going to cut that back to two cups a coffee a day. I’m hoping this I’ll help to. I read that too much caffeine could attribute to muscle spasm etc.


#19

I’m not a more experienced lifter than you but arrogant as I am, I’m still going to reply.

Core stiffness- take a deep breath and brace your core before starting the lift. It kinda looks like youre just bending down and lifting up the bar.
Lat tightness- do you feel your lats working during deadlifts? If not, there’s alot of room for improvement in regards to stabilizing your spine.
Glute activation- your hips might be too weak compared to your lower back. Try some glute activation exercises, and maybe switch over to sumo stance deadlifts for a while. Just curious, how strong is your sumo pull compared to conventional deadlifts?

Good luck


#20

[quote]Cobblepot wrote:
Want to report back.
Did two deadlift session after my first post and did some extra thinking.
Bringing my stance more in did good, couldn’t yet get used to using straps on my heavy sets. But that’ll prob. take a while.
I did 2 sets of 2 with 180kg, couldn’t get my back straight with the belt on. Without the belt no problems, any thoughts on that?

Also I’ve been taking in (5/6 coffee) more caffeine a few months ago. I’m going to cut that back to two cups a coffee a day. I’m hoping this I’ll help to. I read that too much caffeine could attribute to muscle spasm etc.[/quote]
Sounds like your belt is too tight.