T Nation

Deadlifts / Lower Back Pain

I love doing deads but have cut back to every other week due to lower back pain. I can hardly walk after 4 sets of 5 reps. I don’t have this problem with squats and I’m very criticle about correct form. Any suggestions how I can overcome this problem?

my form needs major work (I still leg it, due to my freakish height and what not, plus bad form plus probably too much weight heh) anyway my lower back aches for a day or two after that. I is gonna drop the weight and make sure I aina stiff legging it.

Hi, Rick. Just some quick thoughts.



I’ll take your word that you’re doing them with strict form. But just for the heck of it, get someone to watch you. Do a run-through with no weight and show them the form you want, and then run through it with weight. Just watching people doing DLs at the gym, a pretty high percentage do them with rounded back. Once again, not saying you are, just get a second (experienced, if possible) opinion.



Second thought, build endurance with higher reps and lighter weights and work out more frequently, even two or more times a week. But once again lighter, MUCH LIGHTER weights. Go for strength and higher weights down the road.



Third thought, use a remedial exercise like Good Mornings or hyperextensions to strengthen your back. Once again, higher reps, lighter weights.



Fourth idea, get your back checked out by a DC/ART specialist. ART stands for Applied Release Technique, and there are a few DCs out there that are certified in that type of body work. Do a search in the article archive for Leahy, the guy that developed ART.



Final idea, vary the TYPE of DL you do. Are you doing straight-legged or bent-knee deadlifts? Whichever one you’re doing, try the other. Experiment.



Good luck to you!!!

Just a few things to add:

  1. ART=Active Release Technique. Go to www.activerelease.com to locate a provider if you feel that you are actually injured.
  2. Try putting masking tape vertically along your spine from your midback to glutes. If the tape tears away during the lift, you’ll know where you’re allowing the torso to pitch forward.
  3. I agree with the good mornings recommendation. Don’t be afraid to go heavier, though.
  4. Be sure to do plenty of core work to strengthen the erector spinae group, abs, and obliques.


    Hope this helps.

Thanks for the info. All very good ideas. Yes,I do see an ART specialist regularly for various injuries and I’ve tried hyperextensions to strenghten the lower back.

Thanks again.

Rick, I am not a Doc, but I can say with certainty that it is due to a weak low back. I always talk about this on this site, and also the clients I train. You must do good mornings, and other supplemental low back exercises. Some of them suck -yes, but you have got to do them other wise you will have a huge muscle imbalance, and your low back will hurt. A round back is the side effect of extremely heavy deadlifting (Just go watch a Powerlifting meet) but it does not have to be a huge problem if you low back is bullet proof…Good Luck!!!