T Nation

History of Back Problems/Deads OK?

Hey T-mutants…I need some feedback on an issue I’ve been mulling over in my head for a little bit. I’m trying to help my cousin set up hit fitness level and I want him to start doing deadlifts. But there are 2 things that are bothering me. First, he has a history of bad mid to lower back problems and second he’s 6’5’’. He’s nervous about deadlifting and that doesn’t help. What do you guys think I should set up for him???

Barring any major problems, meaning needing surgery or the like, he should be able to do deadlifts. He will just need to start light and be very aware of using good form. He should also avoid using a belt or any other lifting aids, so that he has a chance to develop all his supporting muscles. I spent years with mid- and low-back problems (wrestling injuries), and was nervous about picking up anything really heavy. Now I don’t go more than a week without lifting a few tons (total volume, of course!)
Stay strong,

I’m no expert and can give only personal experience. I have two torn discs, L4-L5 area and I do deadlifts. I don’t go real heavy and seem to be okay. Doing the deadlifts doesn’t cause me any more sciatica than normal. The only legs I go really heavy on is the hack squat machine, where the back is supported.

I’ll bet CW or CT or JD could give some better thought on this.

Good luck.

I am not an expert either, but have had some back issues to point where I couldn’t roll over and get up. After some serious time in PT and when things felt good I began doing some basic sled dragging, row movements and vertical pulling to start the strength process as well as the strengthening the abs and core through back extensions, light pull throughs, light RDLS. I eventually got strength to do some glute ham raises and different partial and pin deads and pulls. I actually found that when doing the complete DL movement my back stayed in better alignment while doing a low platform or floor snatch grip DL. Personally again, I think many give DLs a bad rap. I truly believe that I have hurt myself (back) while performing squats (incorrectly) rather than while DLing. My back has never given me a problem again. I have liked some of the info I have read from Westside, Louie Simmons and Elitefts.