T Nation

Hurt Back Deadlifting, Muscle Pull or?


I was deadlifting yesterday, got 495, set up with 505 and as soon as I broke it off the ground I felt a pain extremely low on my back, so I immediately dropped the weight. I walked around for a minute and then tried to bend over to grab the plates and start taking them off, and I couldn’t do it.

Well I could, it was just excruciating. It took me about 10 minutes to get the weight off one side of the bar. I couldn’t put them back on the rack though because I didn’t have the strength to pick up any of the plates. As soon as I would grab one it was like my body just cut off the strength to my glutes/hams/back.

Oddly, I can walk around perfectly fine, and I’m fine while sitting on a soft chair (wooden chairs I feel some discomfort in my lower back). It’s just when I go to bend over that it hurts, I deduced it’s when my lower back has to stabilize my core that it hurts. You never really think of just how many movements require that…tying shoes, turning my computer on, picking up milk off a low shelf in the fridge… It’s a broad diffuse pain, but sharp still; no shooting pains into limbs or extremeities.

It’s not as bad this morning, but still handicapping me. I’m going to give it another day and see if it gets better, before heading to the dr. But in the meantime, has anyone had anything like this, and what on Earth is it?


I have had something extremely similar (same place where it hurt, same movements seem to hurt, etc.), also happened during/right after a heavy pull.
I was also stubborn enough not to go to a doctor, as I felt stupid for hurting myself and pridefully decided to fix it myself.
Right after the incident I had to crawl as I couldn’t walk, and was pretty miserable for 2+weeks.

So, this is not medical advice (you should probably see a doctor/movement specialist), but I’ll tell you what I did.

First: No vertically loaded spine for at least a week. I did not squat or deadlift for a little over a week, and when I did start again loads started light and for low reps per set.

Second: I stretched my hamstrings for 45 minutes+ a day. Really boring, I know.t I sit too much with work and school, and before getting back into heavy hip hinging, I wanted to make sure I could get into a good starting position in the deadlift and actually sit back a bit in the squat.

Third: After 3 days of total rest, I started doing back raises on a GHR. I did sets until my back would be very pumped and borderline painful, rest until pain subsided, then repeat. I was doing anywhere from 100-300 back raises a day, and I slowly began adding band resistance.

Fourth: I hung from a chin up bar for 10 minutes a day. Mostly with a supinated grip, but I don’t know if the grip was important.

Fifth: I’ve upped my trunk/ab training from once every now and again to 3-5 times a week. Lots of ab wheel, “stir the pot”, planks, and weighted crunches.

It’s been about 4 months since the “injury” and now I have no pain, and my squat and deadlift form feel better than ever.
Again, not medical advice, not necessarily recommending what I did, but this worked for me.


Fortunately I bounce back quick; by a few hours after I posted the thread I had a bunch of movement back, by yesterday I had about 85% and now I’m around 95%. My lower back is still sore as fuck in general. Worked upper body today, tried barbell rowing 135 and it really taxed the heck out of my lower back so I only did a few reps (last week I was around 285). I’m not doing anything that requires my lower back to stabilize a lot, and I’m going to stretch the heck out of my hips since when they get tight I really feel it in my lower back.


yoga and stretching really helped my lower back pain. i felt like i had done something spinal but it was nothing more than tight muscles.


Not to say this is what you have, but the exact same thing happened to me… And I didn’t go to a doctor or chiro and figured I’d take some time off lower body stuff and I’d be fine.

Went to squat 315 for reps. First rep was great. Second rep was great. Third rep my entire lower back shot a pain through both legs that was excruciating. I actually finished the rep (stupid) and called it a day. I took another 3 weeks off from lower body movements and then went back to the gym. So that’s twice I did something stupid.

Deadlifted again… Back went again. Immediately made a chiro appointment for exactly one week after the third incident. The chiro saw me, tested me and immediately said, “No question about it, you herniated your disc”. He put me through his treatment and told me to tweak my squat form (not that it was wrong, just that I needed to do it a bit different, and that I was green lit to squat. Said to be careful with deads). Squatted 225 for 5, light work and it felt good.

Deadlifted 225 for 5 (this is around 60% of current 1RM, so a light load)… Third rep… Same exact pain. I was done for the day. Now I’m sitting here at the computer being forced to take time away because I was stupid. Don’t be stupid.

Get that shit checked and listen to the doctor/chiro/whoever. Be smart. I’ll be fine, but I’m taking time off that I wouldn’t have needed to if I wasn’t a dope to begin with.