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Deadlift Back Soreness

The first time I did deadlifts, I was sweating loads and felt it the next day in my legs really nicely.

The next time, it killed my back even though there wasn’t much more weight. The time after that, it also killed my lower back. I powered through the back pain, and didn’t feel anything the next day.

This week (today) (2 weeks later) I did Romanian deadlifts, and they were awesome. I was doing about 120kg at the highest point, so way more than I do on the regular deadlift (about 70kg), except they weren’t uncomfortable at all.

Was my back simply tightening on the regular DLs like it should be? I really don’t feel my form was good at all on the regular DLs though, even though I tried to do all the things you should - I don’t have any way of taking a video unfortunately. I felt my back tighten slightly on the RDLs, but very slightly, and it wasn’t uncomfortable during the exercise.

After reading around, it seems regular DL weight should be somewhat higher than RDL, but mine, as you can see, is far lower. Also, my squat is a lot lower than my RDL (also about 70kg) - I’m really unsure about the squat, it feels so unsafe, and as if I’m struggling like hell to put up very little weight, but I always manage to power it through and complete the rep, yet I don’t feel like I could do any more.

Are my hamstrings likely quite good, but my lower back sucks? I’m guessing it’s simply an issue with form more than anything though.

Any advice/tips/insight would be great, thanks.

Edit: I always do DLs with an overhand grip, as with RDLs. When doing RDLs and DLs, I lower the bar right the ground in a controlled manner - I don’t just drop it, or lower it halfway.

  1. Get a coach, and a good one!

  2. If it isn’t possible, read all this:


(it’s a three parts article, go and read part one and two as well, of course)

  1. make a video of your lifts and find out your flaws.

Yes, your DL should be higher than your back squat, and your back squat should be higher than your RDL.

By the way…reading all Cressey and Robertson articles wouldn’t hurt :slight_smile:

Thanks, I’ll read all of those as soon as I get back from work.

As long as your arching your back inwards,or taking the tension it doesnt matter soreness isnt bad when your first starting.Aches and twinges are when you know your doing it wrong.As a general role high rep work 8+ is normally a little excessive.
Also just lift in the style that feels natural I allways lift romanian as it feels natural to me.

hey dud, i’d bet my house that your locking the bar with your lowerback in regular deadlifts.

you should do some glute activation. on the top portion of the deadlift squeeze your glutes and drive your hips forward.

also always keep and arch on your back, never round it, you could injury your self

[quote]tuchavito wrote:
hey dud, i’d bet my house that your locking the bar with your lowerback in regular deadlifts.

you should do some glute activation. on the top portion of the deadlift squeeze your glutes and drive your hips forward.

also always keep and arch on your back, never round it, you could injury your self[/quote]

Some people actually arch too much and if flexing the glutes at the top you won’t round your lower back but you will lose some arch. I actually used to arch too much, Cressy looked at it and said so… hahahaha

[quote]Free2Be wrote:
tuchavito wrote:
hey dud, i’d bet my house that your locking the bar with your lowerback in regular deadlifts.

you should do some glute activation. on the top portion of the deadlift squeeze your glutes and drive your hips forward.

also always keep and arch on your back, never round it, you could injury your self

Some people actually arch too much and if flexing the glutes at the top you won’t round your lower back but you will lose some arch. I actually used to arch too much, Cressy looked at it and said so… hahahaha[/quote]

Its all about a feel, you can normally feel it when your arching to much.

Sounds to me like your either getting too low in your conventional deadlifts and trying to squat the weight up or your rounding your back.

If you have longer femurs or are on the tall side it’s ok to deadlift with your hips a little higher. That being said, you shouldn’t turn everything into a stiff leg or RDL.

Play around, try sumo, but mostly do what works for you and does not cause lower back pain.

It’s funny that Free2Be should mention that you can arch your back too much, I didn’t know that was possible, and is probably my problem when I think about it - I tend to keep my back pretty straight on RDLs; I just lift naturally, where as with conventional deadlifts I’m super focused on keeping my back as arched as possible, and driving the hips forwards, maybe too early. Either way, I’m fairly confident I’m not rounding my back, maybe I am though.

ucallthatbass: my ass was actually almost touching the ground in my first round of deadlifts, I don’t know if that was because the bar was low (small plates), but the other times, where I’ve had pain, my hips have been higher.

Also, I really doubt my ability to do more than I can RDL on the back squat, but next Friday, I’m going to go for it. If I bail, no big deal right? I can’t wait to deadlift again, sucks I’m going to have to wait until Wednesday, but I’ll let you guys know how it goes if this thread is still circling around the top at that time.

Thanks for the help thus far everyone.

hey man, try posting a video of your deadlift, that should tell what the problem is.

Well today I lifted 310 a whole bunch of times, which I’m really pleased with, unfortunately just shy (about 20lbs) off 2x BW. :frowning: Next goal is 500, but the best part: no back pain.

Now my hands are all bruised to shit, it’s awesome.

Really wish I had some way of posting a video, since I’m pretty confident my form is still crap - I think the problem before was that I was squatting the weight up, as well as trying to arch my back too much.

Not just that, I’d really love to post a video of my squat: it’s horrible - not in the sense of injuries and stuff, okay, maybe it’s great and I just don’t know.

Not sure if I should make another thread, but anyway, is it possible to keep your knees TOO far back when you squat? I’ve never heard of it throughout all the articles I’ve read on squat form, but my knees basically don’t move forwards at all (okay, obviously they have to a tiny bit (don’t they?), but it really is very tiny - I think). My shins are pretty perpendicular to the floor at all times.

When I’m at the bottom of the movement - and throughout lifting the bar upwards - I don’t feel like I have any power; it doesn’t feel like I have any muscles pushing, I’m just somehow managing to do it, which as you can imagine, is kind of like “well, I’m sweating and sort of out of energy, but is this easy or what?”

I might be able to try and take pictures of myself in the various positions, although the angles won’t be great because my phone doesn’t have a timer, so I’ll have to hold it whilst in the position. I’ll take a stab at it tonight. Also, chocolate milk is awesome.

[quote]w00tage wrote:

Not sure if I should make another thread, but anyway, is it possible to keep your knees TOO far back when you squat? I’ve never heard of it throughout all the articles I’ve read on squat form, but my knees basically don’t move forwards at all (okay, obviously they have to a tiny bit (don’t they?), but it really is very tiny - I think). My shins are pretty perpendicular to the floor at all times.
[/quote]

First: good work with your deads!

I’d say that your form looks like a powerlifting squat, which targets more hams and glutes: have you DOMS in your quads, the day(s) after squatting? I’d be amazed if you did…

So, to answer your question, yes, it is possible to squat with (almost) perpendicular shins, it can eventually increase your loads, but it doesn’t hit your quads as much as an olympic squat (bar high on traps, upright torso, knees well beyond toes).

You may want to try it (or front squat) for a while, as well as working on ankle flexibility.

[quote]fabiop wrote:
w00tage wrote:

Not sure if I should make another thread, but anyway, is it possible to keep your knees TOO far back when you squat? I’ve never heard of it throughout all the articles I’ve read on squat form, but my knees basically don’t move forwards at all (okay, obviously they have to a tiny bit (don’t they?), but it really is very tiny - I think). My shins are pretty perpendicular to the floor at all times.

First: good work with your deads!

I’d say that your form looks like a powerlifting squat, which targets more hams and glutes: have you DOMS in your quads, the day(s) after squatting? I’d be amazed if you did…

So, to answer your question, yes, it is possible to squat with (almost) perpendicular shins, it can eventually increase your loads, but it doesn’t hit your quads as much as an olympic squat (bar high on traps, upright torso, knees well beyond toes).

You may want to try it (or front squat) for a while, as well as working on ankle flexibility.[/quote]

Thanks.

No DOMS in my quads (or, in fact, anywhere) after leg day - maybe in the hamstrings when they’re stretched. I’m pretty amazed I might be doing powerlifting form. The idea of someone feeling comfortable lifting a ton of weight in that form seems crazy - since I feel like I have no power with which to lift the weight in that position.

I did a few squats today (seriously, I was like the only guy in the free weights room 50% of the time today :D) with light weight, and made an effort to try and get my knees coming forward a little. I could actually feel something in my legs for once! Forcing myself to come a bit further forward like that certainly didn’t feel as stable though.

Note: Leg day is tomorrow, so I’ll post progress then.

[quote]w00tage wrote:

Forcing myself to come a bit further forward like that certainly didn’t feel as stable though.

Note: Leg day is tomorrow, so I’ll post progress then.[/quote]

You’d better focus on keep your torso upright, not rounding your lower back and looking straight forward. Stay tall, keep your chest out. There is a serie of videos on youtube called Squat RX, very well done: if you don’t have a good coach (as I guess:-), they can be useful! Have a nice leg day!

You may need to train your lower back “To” deadlift.What I mean is strengthen your lower back through hypers and good mornings before you start DLing.

I have deadlift problems too; I’ve been told I’m rounding my back. (Relevant info: I’m a girl, relative newbie, lifting 197 lbs, no injuries.) The thing is, I know what a proper deadlift looks like, but even if I drop the weight way down to 135, it won’t come off the ground unless I round my back. Is this a posture/coordination issue or a strength issue?

And what should I be doing to improve? Try with even lower weight? Some kind of auxiliary exercise?

[quote]AlisaV wrote:
I have deadlift problems too; I’ve been told I’m rounding my back. (Relevant info: I’m a girl, relative newbie, lifting 197 lbs, no injuries.) The thing is, I know what a proper deadlift looks like, but even if I drop the weight way down to 135, it won’t come off the ground unless I round my back. Is this a posture/coordination issue or a strength issue?

And what should I be doing to improve? Try with even lower weight? Some kind of auxiliary exercise?[/quote]

You need to strengthen your lower back. You also might have some tightness in your hamstrings which wont allow you to get down to the bar without bending your back. It could also be poor hip mobility.

I would focus on all of those things to improve your deadlift. Do some bulgarian split squats for hip mobility, Try goodmornings for back strength, and be sure to stretch your legs after every workout. That’s not an exhaustive list but you could start with that and see what happens. I would lay off the deadlifts or at least go light untill you figure out why you are rounding your back and then fix it.

Thanks a lot – will do.

[quote]AlisaV wrote:
I have deadlift problems too; I’ve been told I’m rounding my back. (Relevant info: I’m a girl, relative newbie, lifting 197 lbs, no injuries.) The thing is, I know what a proper deadlift looks like, but even if I drop the weight way down to 135, it won’t come off the ground unless I round my back. Is this a posture/coordination issue or a strength issue?

And what should I be doing to improve? Try with even lower weight? Some kind of auxiliary exercise?[/quote]

It might be worth opening your own thread. I don’t want your question to get lost in mine! If you can get videos and pictures, people will be able to really help, instead of guessing at your problem, so do that if you can.

In my opinion, it’s not worth sacrificing form for weight. If you need to, drop the weight down even more (despite how embarrassed you may feel!) and gradually increase.

Thanks.
Sorry about the pictures – don’t have a camera at the moment. (Not even a camera phone, ha.) I’ll go in tomorrow and try to work on form, and good mornings and split squats. I do want to get this right, because I’m getting a persistent ache in my lower back and I don’t want it to get serious.