Dling Kills My Back

I’ve been lifting for 20 years and I’m 220lb. I just recently decided to focus on inceasing my deadlift. I’ve managed to go from 545 to 615 in about a year. The only problem is, my lower back has been killing me lately. At my job I stand for about 6 hours straight, and that makes matters worse. Has anyone discovered techniques to avoid or correct this problem? (stretching’s been helping)

Hard to know where to start with this question. First, I guess the obvious question is, do you compete on PLing? If not, there is no real reason for you to dl that heavy.

Second, how often do you dl heavy? You may find reducing the frequency of heavy lifting helps.

Third, if stretching is helping do more of it. I recommend the Magnificent Mobility DVD put together by Mike Robertson and Eric Cressey.

Fourth, you may find it helps to do some spine stretching after a heavy dl session. Just hang from a pullup bar for a while.

Fifth, you may like to try the “stretching deadlift” advocated by Tommy Kono. Do this with light weight, only 25-30% of your max. Lift the bar off the floor, then bend slowly down, bending your spine one vertebra at a time until you get as low as you can go. Then reverse the process, straightening from the bottom up.

I think that a lot of guys (myself included) that have strong backs tend to rely on their backs too much to deadlift. Unfortunately, erectors don’t respond to frequent trauma as well as some other muscles do. You can still pull while taking it easy on your back. But you will have find ways to at least partially take your back out of the game.

If you are conventional puller- try sumo for a while. Do rack pulls from the knee. Do reverse band pulls.

Also, try pulling with more of a low-hips/upright-back groove- i.e. where you basically squat the weight up. I know a old school APF 275er that did this years ago to train around a back injury. As it turned out, it worked great for him and this new style made his deadlift really take off.

Foam roller.

Hammys insert in the lower back. Stretch them better and you might get rid of the problem. I’ve found that is usually the case with most of the athletes I am around.

Just to add, I f-ed up my back bad this weekend from Deads.

I am that j-off who does not compete but still compels himself to go heavy.

The funny thing is, every year I wrench it doing a certain style of D-lift…and evey year I do it the same way, from that style…thinking I would be fine this year. Well…maybe i am just dumb…hopefully i have learned my lesson.

I love to Dead…but speed deads are out for good. 3 for 3 in three years.


I am nowhere near as strong as you but hanging off a pullup bar seems to help for me (or any other way of decompressing the spine).