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Lower Back vs Legs During Deads...


Hi all,

My deadlift isn't the lightest at 3*6*150Kgs, but afterwards my lower back feels like it's been hit by a wrecking ball, and my quads feel almost no strain. I notice during squats a certain weakness below around parallel, which fades when I move a degree beyond (either up or down), so I suspect my lower back is fundamentally weaker than the rest of me, and the inordinate pain is simply due to being pushed so much harder, proportionally.

I've checked my form, perfectly straight back (I start with an arch but it's flattened out), feet under the bar, I don't stick my backside out any further than needed, I actively lower the weight below the knee just with my legs...but despite all this, my lower back is crying yet my quads are laughing. I think my lower back just needs strenghtening - otherwise, no injury there ( to my knowledge), no history of pain etc. It's just, simply, WEAK.

Would you agree with this assessment, and if so, should I continue to Deadlift heavy? Or find a remedial exercise to bring it up to standard?




Post up a video for people to help you out. With no vid they will just be guessing.

What do you mean you start with an arch then its flattened out?


Deadlifts aren't really a quad exercise.


My description was pretty good mate. By the latter I mean the arch BECOMES flattened out by the movement.


I keep an arch in my back the entire movement when deadlifting. I would probably look at that as the main thing to work on as flattening your back out just sounds like a good way to risk hurting pain and suffering.

Romanian deadlifts may be something worth looking into to add to your program to help strengthen you up a bit more also.

But as others have said post a vid and you will get much better advice from the guys here that really know their stuff.


In the deadlift the primary movers are the lower back, glutes and hamstrings. Secondary movers include the quads and upper back.

You SHOULD be feeling the deadlift primarily in your lower back. I have deadlifted 270kg/595lbs conventional style [raw, no belt or straps] and the only time I ever felt deadlifting hitting my quads was when I injured my quad by dropping a dumbbell on it.

Keep deadlifting heavy, once you actually start hitting a significant weight you notice that deadlifting does bring your hamstrings and quads into play. There's no need for doing accessories like back extensions and good mornings for your back until you STAGNATE in your deadlift.


Cheers guys - been hitting the DL for ages and I didn't realise the quads are NOT its main drivers!

Heavy it is then....

WP - congrats on the 270Kg, amazing lift however you cut it!! :slightly_smiling:


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Still not very good explanation mate. Do you lose the arch when you get down in the position, then lift with a flat but immobile spine. Or are you saying that at setup you have an arch and as you lift it flattens out. If it is the latter you are more than likely creating more spinal loaded flexion than desired.
But as the first poster said, video.
The lower back muscles are stabilizers, not primary movers. It depends on the angle of your pull, but a DL is a hip (glute, hams, and lb) dominant movement in a conventional PL'ing position. The safer (if one has the mob. to get in the start pos.) is the olympic style dl, which also utilizes the quads to a large degree.




Unless your deadlift starting position resembles a scared cat, if you can explain how the lower back actually moves anything I'll eat my keyboard.


This, as more as the repitions progress fatigue will kick in which will hamper coordination.


You're questioning if the lower back comes into play in the deadlift? Really?

Or are you arguing over minor semantics purely because I used the expression "primary mover", rather than "contracts isometrically so to prevent flexion of the spine as the weight goes through the range of motion"...?

Piss off.


It's hardly minor semantics. Other people are reading this shit. Let's try to get the facts straight. The last thing I need to see is one more guy in the gym trying deadlift with his lower back.


a pic tells a thousand words and a video... well you get the point.

the problem with descriptions, besides people interpreting them in different ways, is that you might think you are doing something when you really aren't. There are a few problems that can pop up in any exercise and you might not be describing one. with a vid someone can point you in the right direction.

you will prolly get some good tips on how to improve your dl even if they can't fix your 'problem'.


IF your post is serious it IS minor semantics. Try doing a deadlift without moving your lower back. Let me know how that turns out for you.


well then a 10 second clip in NTSC format would be worth 299,700 words and a 10 second clip in PAL format would be worth 250,000 words


hahahaha thanks.


saying that deadlift is a lower back exercise is retarded. yes the lower back is heavily involved, but saying that you lift with your lower back is dangerous. primary mover=muscle that is primarily doing the movement


I don't know why you wouldn't classify it as that seeing as you just posted that it is heavily involved in the exercise. How heavily? enough for me to call it a lower back exercise.

You are arguing minor semantics and the literal meaning of prime movers/stabilizers. That is retarded.