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DL- Beginner Question

I’ve been deadlifting for less than a year, and I’m pretty conservative with the weight so far. I lift slow and focus on form alot. I have a pretty weak lower back from only doing back extensions for years, so my goal is to built it up strong, but cautiously. Thus even though my 4 slow sets of 10 at 185-205 are light, they are taxing to me.

And if at any time during a set I feel a needle-like sharp pain, I figure that either: #1) My form is off or #2) I’m using too much weight.(I think its #1 more than #2) Are these more likely the cause?

Lately I haven’t been getting the sharp pains as mentioned above, but the more normal dull burns I’ve been used to when lifting. I definitely see this as a good thing. These dull pains are a real deep dull pain. It feels good in a way, you know like you know you did something good for yourself, and your lower back got a fair portion of the load.

But it is a bit uncomfortable I gotta admit, more intense than any burn I have felt with another muscle. I usually do crunches to relax my lower back in between dl sets, but when I get the more intense burn, I feel that I should relax and let it subside a little before continuing.

The first time I experienced this I thought I may have hurt myself. But it wasn’t a sharp pain. Anyway after 5 or 10 minutes it went away completely, and no funky pain in the days following, just good general lower back soreness.

Some questions:
Is this just a good dl burn I’ve never experienced? And how does my mindset look in the above text? Am I being too conservative with the reps? Should I start doing sets of 5 or 6 reps? I was going to wait a couple more months before upping the weight that much. Does this sound like a normal experience for deadlifts?

Thanks a bunch and sorry if it was hard to read, I kindof just spit it out without any structure.

How old are you? How tall, body weight? How long have you been doing deadlifts? How often do you deadlift? What else do you do in a typical week?

http://www.T-Nation.com/readTopic.do?id=586815
that might help. Definitely bring the reps down. Your description of the pain sounds unhealthy, but it could be many things. Oh and don’t do those crunches anymore.

I don’t like these higher rep sets in the DL because it becomes more of a concentration exercise than anything else.

DL is the only exercise I know where it’s a good idea to ‘drop’ the weight and just to just follow it with your hands and not lowering it under full control since the eccentric part is very difficult AND taxing. Do you do this?

Pavel ‘the Evil Russian’ recommends doing heavy sets (3-5 reps) with a really (dropped) dead weight (which makes it 3-5 singles without rest) and doing lighter sets ‘touch and go’. This to neurally strengthen you LB in the heavy sets and to stimulate mass building in the lighter sets.

Yeah, I think you should bring the reps down for your “working sets”. I think it was Dan John who said his teenage daughter deadlifted 225 the first time she ever tried the movement. Think about that. I think people are too worried about “injuring” their lower back sometimes.

I personally see no point in doing 4 sets of 10 reps on the DL. Try 10x3. Get comfortable using heavier weights. As for working your lower back, deadlifts will do just that, but I’ve had gains in my DL by working 45* Back Raises and shit like that.

As far as speed, a DL should be pretty explosive (with lighter weight). Oh, and try reading stuff by Eric Cressey and Dave Tate.

DBD

[quote]dswithers wrote:
How old are you? How tall, body weight? How long have you been doing deadlifts? How often do you deadlift? What else do you do in a typical week?

[/quote]

26 years old. 6ft 190lb. Deadlifting for about 8 months. Deadlift once per week, but 1 or two days extra per week I’ll do 3 or 4 sets of 10 to 12 reps with 135lb to help groove the pattern. I should also note that I have an old shoulder injury (left side) from about 4 years ago (from doing db flat bench, I learned the hard way. I never saw a doctor and let it “heal” on its own) and I have pain in my left knee as well.

I’m not sure about the origin of the knee injury but at the weight I’m deadlifting currently I can do it as long as I have absolutely no lateral movement in the knee area during the lift. This lateral movement I found I was doing when I was fatiguing and could have something to do with the knee pain in the first place. I will be seen on Monday, until then I’m taking it easy. btw the dl weight I use is regardless of injury.

As I wrote earlier I’ve just been conservative on this lift for the whole 8 months since I started. As far as the question re: what else I do in the week, since my shoulder has acted up again, not much. I’m focusing on lower body stuff. If you were thinking about exhaustion or some kind of threshold like that, I not even close to pushing myself that hard right now with respect to my other lifts…

[quote]HenkY wrote:
I don’t like these higher rep sets in the DL because it becomes more of a concentration exercise than anything else.

DL is the only exercise I know where it’s a good idea to ‘drop’ the weight and just to just follow it with your hands and not lowering it under full control since the eccentric part is very difficult AND taxing. Do you do this?

Pavel ‘the Evil Russian’ recommends doing heavy sets (3-5 reps) with a really (dropped) dead weight (which makes it 3-5 singles without rest) and doing lighter sets ‘touch and go’. This to neurally strengthen you LB in the heavy sets and to stimulate mass building in the lighter sets.[/quote]

Actually yes, I do lower it very slow. In fact, the down and up portion of the movement is essentially the same speed when I do it. Ok so theres a red flag.

I had/have a similar pain on my lower right part of tmy stomach, even when I lift a warm up set (150). Now I do 260, found out just now that if I take and extra day off (total of 4) my dl goes up 5 or 10lbs.

Anyway the pain went away by taking an extra day off, and warming up a bit, like a really short run, def. strech for a few minutes.

Before this pain my lower back was destroyed (could barely bend over) after lifting. I found that I was leaning to forward. Lift by pushing with your heels not toes, thats what helped me.

On rereading your original post and your last one I suspect your unusual dull burns in your LB may be fatigue built in the long sets (+eccentrics) combined with the LB’s long recovery time (the body’s longest, which makes it unusual).

I had some difficulties lowering/dropping a DL because of my LB/hams not being the most flexible (but that’s improving since I’ve been lifting…) so I changed my stands to Sumo. This uses your legs more (especially glutes and hams). Even during a single rep this helps my LB because my UB travels a shorter distance (shorter ROM of the LB). So keeping the back straight, chest up and shoulders back is easy.
Maybe a change-up will help you too.

[quote]HenkY wrote:
On rereading your original post and your last one I suspect your unusual dull burns in your LB may be fatigue built in the long sets (+eccentrics) combined with the LB’s long recovery time (the body’s longest, which makes it unusual).

I had some difficulties lowering/dropping a DL because of my LB/hams not being the most flexible (but that’s improving since I’ve been lifting…) so I changed my stands to Sumo. This uses your legs more (especially glutes and hams). Even during a single rep this helps my LB because my UB travels a shorter distance (shorter ROM of the LB). So keeping the back straight, chest up and shoulders back is easy.
Maybe a change-up will help you too.[/quote]

I’ll think about that…Does the lower back get as much a workout sumo style? (LB, UB means lower back, upper back right?)A couple things that I forgot to mention as well is that I have really tight hams and hip flexors. I have Magnificent Mobility and have gone thru all the beginner exercises. Guess which ones I have trouble with…At some point (sooner than later) this stiffness will hinder certain lifts the dl is no exception. I’m just not sure how long it will take to stretch out the hams. I do MM 5 days per week, and I’m doing Stiff Leg DL, damn they make me really sore & those ham stretches in the days after a Stiff Leg workout really suck. My hams are weak as well.

The lower back is used less sumo-style. But that’s ok since it may be (slightly) overused now due to the flexibility issue. If you’re not flexible around the hip like we are, using sumo will help us by getting the legs out of the way of the torso without overdoing the rounding in the LB.

You may be surprised about the weights using sumo :slight_smile:

Don’t overdo the stretching when also weighttraining (fatigue/injury). Flexibility has to do with your body knowing it can deliver sufficient force in the stretched position to get back to the normal position. If you force it too often or too much it may even tighten you up more. My ham/LB flexibility is improving since I’m DL without even stretching. My body seems to recognise that my strength in the full ROM of the sumo is sufficient for its present use :slight_smile: (I added SOME stretching too a couple of weeks ago to aid this good development (I weight train for 1 year, DL for 8 months))

I agree with HenkY on trying sumo. Just be careful not to pull a hamstring (happened to me).

Not much to add to the good advice so far - are you doing any foam rolling?

http://www.T-Nation.com/findArticle.do;jsessionid=531C2BDDF41E1C39DCE8B027761C1CF0.ba13?article=04-021-training

I dont think foam rolling should be nessesery …

if something hurts in a way it shouldnt you should try a different stance for the DL also I find the negetive part of the lift very very annoying to do so I usually hold the weight up a few secunds and just carefully drop it (Not just let it go one of my frients lost his toe to that…)

Also you should tighten your abs and try taking adeep breath and holding it in for the lift this will tighten your core and I find this to stop all problems with your back what the … ever you try to lift

They don’t say that your transerve abs is your natural lifting belt for nothing I bet some peoples lifts would instantly be easier if they would try to use it more

Ok, Thanks everyone who has contributed so far. I will see the doctor for my shoulder and knee today, but I doubt anything but a schedule for an MRI will happen today. After today’s visit maybe I will have a better idea as to how my time will be spent in the gym. This lack of intensity thing sucks. I think I’m going to try the sumo style dl too.