T Nation

Deadlift Substitute for 5-3-1?


Ok, I have had it with dead lifts. Every time I end up doing them I end up straining the same muscle in my lower back (the Iliac crest area). I just started doing them again for the 5-3-1 and I hurt that spot in the first week. Being the first week, I did not use heavy weight. Everyone says my form is fine. Ass down, chest up, let the bar scrape my thighs and shins but still I get hurt.

I have tried rack pulls and when I start adding weight, I aggravate the same area. Does anyone have any substitutes I could use instead of these for 5-3-1? Opinions would be greatly appreciated.


Think of 5/3/1 as a ramping template, you can use 5/3/1 with a lot of different lifts. As for straining the muscle..i would probably get that checked out or look up some stretching videos. They are boring as hell but if you go at them for awhile you might be able to correct something.


I'm curious whether you're pulling at the right angles for your body type, and what part of the lift you get hurt on. Also, if you're going to want to switch deadlift for another exercise, i'm sure you'll get some good recommendations, they'll need to know your goals, whether you want strength or aesthetics.


You should put up a video of yourself deadlifting.
Something about your form may be incorrect.


Who is everyone? Can you post a video of your deadlifts on here? There's nothing wrong with substituting lifts, but it's not a good idea if you are doing it just to ignore a deeper underlying problem. You'd be much better off resolving the issue in the long run, so that you can progress successfully with deadlifts. I'd recommend posting this in the injuries forum, with a lot more specifics regarding your pain. Consult a specialist if you can.


Everyone is just the regulars at my gym but we just have big guys that lift weights (mostly recreation lifters). I probably could arrange to tape myself but I am not comfortable doing something like this at my gym and I think I am done with dead lifts anyway. The pain is like a muscle pull. If I move a certain direction it hurts. I do not feel this pain until I cool down from my workout. Going to a specialist is not an option. Maybe I should look at a more elaborate stretching routine before doing back.

My goals are to get a stronger lower back to help with other lifts.

Thanks for the help.


Still looking for a replacement for deadlifts. I just want a decent exercise to strengthen my lower back or something I could use with 5/3/1.


You should read Robertson's article on anterior pelvic tilt. Chances are your quads and hip flexors are too tight causing your pelvis to tilt forward which puts strain on your lower back and hamstrings instead of your glutes.


To be honest, there ARE no replacements for deadlifts. what the fuck, someone asks you to help'em move a couch or you're building a rock wall or whatever, and you've got to deadlift. It's one of the most natural movements humans have.

There's something else going on with you. I would get this checked out by a doctor if I was you, it sounds like there's something more there. Online diagnoses are worthless.


My pulled muscle is fine now but I am still not going to deadlift. I will take a look at the Robertson's article. I bet I was doing something wrong with the lift. I think I might try Sumo Deadlifting. Maybe I can do that variation better without aggravating the same muscle.