Deadlift Pains

I’ve been doing the Starting Strength routine for 2 months now. Prior to this, I’ve never done deadlifts. That being said, I’m sure my form needs some work, but I don’t think it is all that bad.

When I first started with the routine I’d feel pain in my low back, so I dropped the weight and really started focusing on form. With the lighter weight I feel less pain, but I still experience a tingling sensation in my legs. It might also be worth mentioning that I don’t have any problems with the squats or power cleans.

Now, I do have some injuries as a result of years of jiu-jitsu. I have a bulging disc (L3-L4), and I used to experience sciatica years ago (which I feel is returning).

The way I see it I have a couple options:

  1. Forget about deadlifts all together
  2. Focus on other lifts and come back to deadlifts once my core is stronger

What are your thoughts? Also, what lifts would you recommend as an alternative to deadlifts?

Maybe try pulling from pins or raised blocks? Go as high as you need to to get rid of the pain. You’ll be able to use heavier weights too so that’s a plus. Work your way back to the floor as your back allows.

drop deadlifts for a while. get your body in check. see a physio if you have to. find out what imbalances exist and get those taken care of. then slowly work your way back to deadlifting. its been working ok for me.

Thanks for the responses. I’ll go ahead and drop the deadlifts for a while, but what should I do in its place?

Here’s what my current workout looks like after dropping deads:
Workout A: Squats, bench, ???
Workout B: Squats, shoulder press, power cleans, pullups

Maybe after a while I’ll work my way back into deadlifting following the suggestions by StrengthDawg.

The tingling sensation in your legs might be a result of a pinched nerve.

I used to have a lot of problems with low back rounding on deadlifts. If you could post a video of you doing a near-maximal deadlift, I might be able to assess what’s going on and how you might be able to fix it.

Instead of dropping deadlifts entirely, I suggest you spend a lot of time learning proper setup and execution of the lift. I also suggest you work a LOT on abdominal movements that force you to stabilize your spine.

I’d advise you to start with planks, side planks, etc. and progress to movements like rollouts and weighted planks. Read Mike Robertson’s articles about core training - he’s written a bunch of them (type Mike Robertson in the search bar).

There are a lot of things that I could speculate about, but it’s tough to know without actually seeing a video. If you could post one, it would help both you and those who would like to help.

When I first started deadlifting I had the same problem. My lower back the next day would hurt so bad I could barely sit or stand. Eventually I got better form and such and talked to people about how they deadlifted etc. Although I couldn’t tell you what may be wrong with your form unless we see a video as stated before, here are some basics that helped me (may or may not work for you but its worth a shot!)

  1. Keep eyes always straight ahead of a little higher (this will help keep your spine in a neutral position)
  2. Keep the bar close to your shins, closer the better (this will reduce the weight on your lumbar region)
  3. Take the time to let it heal, training through it isn’t always the best solution especially when it has to do with the spine
  4. read this article by Stu McGill I use the cat-camel in between my sets, helps reduce some of the strain
  5. Stretch the shit out of your hip flexors

As for the bulging disc I would bet that’s where the tingling is coming from. Either way I’d get it looked at to be sure. Hope things get sorted out!

[quote]SlothGuy wrote:
drop deadlifts for a while. get your body in check. see a physio if you have to. find out what imbalances exist and get those taken care of. then slowly work your way back to deadlifting. its been working ok for me.[/quote]

See somone who knows backs.

Thanks for the tips guys. I dropped the weight on the deadlifts and have been focusing on form. I didn’t have a way to record and upload a video for you guys, so instead, I had the more knowledgeable guys in the gym critique my form (it’s quite clear who knows what their doing and who doesn’t).

Keeping my eyes forward and my shoulders back has made a world of difference. I’ve slowly been adding weight, and I am not feeling any pain anymore. Previously I started feeling pain once I hit 205 lbs. Today I did 205 without any problems.

Thanks again.

I bulged a disc exactly a year ago, and it’s awful knowing that it could happen again. I had to lay off full ROM squats and deads for about 8 months and work like crazy on flexibility, and now I pull sumo exclusively. I think sumo is much safer for us susceptible folks; try it if you haven’t.

I have a similar problem. I played basketball through high school and college. I just finished up. My senior year of high school, I hurt my lower right back area, sometimes seems it may be where teh butt muscle and back muscles connect. Instead of stopping when it started to hurt, I played through it (I’m 5’11" and I dunk alot so I’m sure the jumping did not help).

It just got worse and worse until I couldn’t walk or sit without extreme pain. Since then, its been on and off but not as severe. It had been gone for almost 8 months until recently when I started a heavy DL, Squat, and bench workout (10 x 3). My third week in, I know I fucked it up again doing deadlifts. Now, I have the pain again.

I don’t know what to do get rid of it or fix whats wrong. Sorry for the long post, any suggestions would be appreciated.

I’ve found that massaging the muscles around my lower back helps so much in relieving lower back pain.

I had what I thought was sacro-iliac joint damage and couldn’t squat withou pain for more than half a year. I finally went to a chiropractor to try to figure out what was up, and she noticed I had extremely tight spinal erectors. It was incredibly painful massaging them, but after a week and a half they were much looser and I could squat again pain-free.

I’ve had some other lower back weirdness since then, but I have found time and time again that when I do massage it clears right up.

You should try it out.

Also, I recommend a massage pillow. I’ve tried foam rollers, tennis balls, baseballs, etc. Massage pillows are the best. You don’t have to stabilize yourself the way you do on a foam roller and you also can get much deeper into the area.

That’s the one I have.