T Nation

Form Check


I haven't deadlifted or squatted in 2 years due to surgeries unrelated to weight lifting. Right before this I injured my lower back though. I started deadlifting and squatting using the SS program a few weeks ago and only got to 155lbs in my DL before I started feeling sharp pain in my lower back similar to that old injury.

Long story short I rested for a couple of weeks and now it feels better, so I'm starting up again. I would appreciate it if you guys could look at my form just to make sure everything looks good before I start going up in weight again. Thanks in advance



heres the video, sorry about that


If it sill hurts, it is not taken care of.

Do what doesn't hurt. Who care how much you deadlift if you get hurt again.

Your video is not up yet, but for me, it is irrelevant if pain is involved at any weight. Foam rolling, single leg work, band work, iso's, etc.


not sure why its not letting me attach, should be good now


Mechanics look fine but a video of you deadlifting an empty bar is not particularly useful is assessing what your deadlift actually looks like. Id be very cautious about deadlifting if it causes you any pain at all -- especially since you have a history of spinal injuries. Please think about the risk vs reward of that particular exercise for you before moving forward.


Did your doctor clear you to deadlift? Did you ask?

The only advice I'm comfortable giving is: don't deadlift. If it hurt enough with only 155lbs, to the extent that you had to take off for a few weeks, I would be extremely cautious.


Yes I was cleared to DL by my doctor. The pain that I'm getting in my lower back is not related to the surgeries, atleast not directly. At first I thought that the pain in my lower back was because I was compensating for trying to not injure the surgical area.

I guess I probably need to rethink my approach to training a bit, I just really enjoy deadlifting and squatting and eventually wanted to get into olympic lifting. I thought that if I started over with good form I would be able to get my DL back without injury.

What would be my best replacement for the DL?


You need to have clear goals in mind.

There is no substitute for the deadlift if your goal is to have a big deadlift.

Likewise, if you want to olympic lift, you should start training the olympic lifts. Technique in these lifts take a long time to grasp. They are not the same as the deadlift. Why would you deadlift first and eventually start olympic lifting? There's no minimal strength requirement.

If you have physique and overall strength goals, the options are endless. You don't even have to squat, bench or deadlift.


I realize that there is no minimum strength requirement to oly lift, but I wanted to at least return to my previous level of strength before I began learning more explosive movements (mostly because of the back injury).

The concept I'm struggling with is I don't understand my back injury, and I also know people who have come back from serious back injuries to deadlift and squat heavy again. I had x-rays that showed nothing, and also went through multiple rounds of pt. Therefore I am having a hard time just giving up on deadlifts, as I love that form of training.


It looks at least like you have the mobility to maintain your back position at the bottom of the lift... at least if your form with just the bar is the same as with some actual weight.

Here is what seems to happen though.

As you add weight, your body is going to shift to a more "advantageous" position to actually move it. For many people, you see the hips rise first, then the bar starts moving. Over time, as people learn their own leverages, they just stop lowering their hips so much to start, and instead start at the higher hip position.

There's nothing wrong with that in my mind.


Since your video only shows your form with a light weight, it's not really clear where your hips will be once the bar gets heavier. If your hips start higher, you may actually have the mobility to keep a good low back position and keep it from rounding very much. You may not.

I'd just keep making videos of yourself as you add weight, and compare between them. If you start hurting at all, I would look at the video and see what's different between the last video where you didn't hurt, and the one where you did.

From a long term standpoint, it may be better for you to try and learn a more sumo-style pull and keep your torso more upright. It's not really the same movement and doesn't build muscle in all the same ways, but it might be better for your back in particular.