T Nation

Deadlifts: Do I Arch or Not?


I'm not sure if I'm alone in this, so thought I'd ask...
I've just read over Waterbury's 'Iron Core' article, which states that "The ability to maintain lumbar lordosis (an inward curvature of the low back) while lifting and moving reigns king. When your trainer tells you to keep an arch in your low back while pulling a deadlift, he's telling you to maintain lordosis." Now, that's my problem.

It's taken me a good while to feel that I've properly gotten my glutes to fire during deadlifts (and squats, for that matter.) I'd always tried focusing on arching my back, but it never led me to finishing the movement with my glutes; a short while ago, I started pulling deads with my back in a slight flexion, and bingo, straight off my glutes were firing no problem and I was pulling more weight than I ever have before.

So now, I don't know what to be doing; based on Waterbury's article and the fact that I've read about dangers involved with lifting in spinal flexion, it seems like I should be avoiding it. Conversely, however, it's the only way I feel I can get my glutes properly firing- perhaps one of the most crucial aspects of squats and deads.

Any thoughts?


I personally feel rounding your back at all is asking for trouble.


I hate to keep being that guy...

But why don't you find out what allows you to progress the easiest while remaining injury-free?

More over, take a video of yourself. It took me FOREVER and a video for me to find out that my hips were shooting up first, but I would have never realized this without visual support.

No one can tell you what's best for your body.


SSC, what did you do to correct that? Seems to be a problem of mine too.


Lucky for me, my boss is a fairly accomplished PL'er and I was talking to him about the issue. Without even thinking twice he told me to stop worrying about keeping my ass down. Instead he said to approach the bar at the highest point possible while keeping the back straight. Fixed everything.


you should be able to maintain your lumbar arch and flex your glutes at the same time. if you can't... maybe you have some troubles with your hip flexors???


Ok great, thanks. I'll give that a try!


So turning it into a straight or stiff legged deadlift?

I have heard that the hips tend to rise first (in order to deload the legs) on max efforts...

But that keeping the hips low while training was good for strengthening the legs (and reducing lower back fatigue).