T Nation

Lower Back vs Legs During Deads...


WTF? Of course the lower back is 'trained' in the deadlift, are you retarded? Are triceps trained during bench press ? (apart from Bonez :wink:

Lifting with the low back is dangerous?? Are you retarded?? Of course its dangerous, just as dangerous as squatting with your legs. Screw anything up and its dangerous, but since squats and deadlifts are two of the 'largest' exercises we can do I'd say the back can take quite alot of load.

Leave the biomechanics/physiology alone please.


If there are misinterpretations here, they stem from you not ASKING for extra information, not from me not opening with it. Nor do you even state what extra info you need. Furthermore, given the tone of your replies so far, I strongly suspect you're just in this thread looking for arguments, and not to resolve the issue - which I consider resolved, unless AUTHORITIVE counter-evidence is presented.

That said, let me be fair-minded; the advice to review DL videos is sound, and can only help. Thanks, I 'll do it.


LOL, because you never know, if people start DEADLIFTING WITH THEIR LOWER BACK you might get people squatting with their legs!


wtf :S Post a vid and it will help people understand what you are saying. I am not paying out on your ability to describe things nor looking for an argument. But if you consider the issue resolved and you believe it is because of a weak lower back thats fine.

Posting a video of you deadlifting may help other more experienced people (not me) help your deadlift form. Thats all I was saying.



Straight back is advocated in this video with a slight flexion during full hip flexion.
The Deadlift is for the hamstrings.

Cautions to consider for the lower back


WTF does the stiff-legged deadlift have to do with a conventional deadlift?

In my personal experience, stiff-legged deads have only resulted in back pain in the following days- I do not do them.


Back involvement is similar, WA.
Caution of SLDL can be also applied to Deadlift.



Your target is the Gluteus Maximus and the Erector Spinae, not your quads.
Note that the lower back is affected.

Check form and lower weights.

OP, how strong are your traps? As a stabilizer you may be trying to lift with your upper body instead of keeping your arse low. This will put more strain on your lower back. Keep your arse low and back on the rise by focusing on the glutes doing the work to raise the bar, not your traps and back. Keep your shoulders straight and don't lift with your shoulders. The work is in the glute/hip action.

Stretch your back and warm it up first before doing Deadlifts.
Do you need stretch exercises?


Did you even read the article you just posted? Here's an extract for you:

"I perform the straight leg deadlifts working up to 495 lbs with complete spinal flexion with the bar touching the top of my feet. I can personally assure you I have little instability in the lumbar region after years and years of regularly performing this exercise."

Some parts of the article are advocating using a rounded back!

Stop posting bullshit from the internet, it doesn't help anything.


Shut the fuck up and stop giving advice.


Question - is anyone who is suggesting that the deadlift does not affect the lower back erectors have a deadlift of more than four plates?

If not, shut the fuck up, go back to your bicep curls.

My deadlift technique is pretty damn tight, I pull close to 200kg, and the thing that canes the most when I'm done is my lower back.

Not to mention that every single goddamn article I've seen on this topic, both on this site and everywhere else, suggest that the freaking back erectors play the biggest part.

And don't bother quote Exrx, that site is flippin old.


Oi, Notice that the link was DANGEROUS Exercise ESSAY as in THIS IS NOT what you do. In other words DO NOT ROUND YOUR BACK.

Go have yourself a good fVck to reduce your test levels.
If you want, I'll meet you in the ring and deck you in round one.

In the video the back is NOT Rounded.


EXRX may be old but the muscle diagrams are accurate and YES, I did say the lower back was solicited.

Muscles solicited during the deadlift:

Serratus posterior inferior,
Longissimus thoracis,
Spinalis Thoracis
Teres Major,
Teres Minor,
Serratus Posterior Superior,
Levator Scapula,
Splenius Capitis,
Sternocleido Mastoideus,
Rhomboid Minor,
Rhomboid major,
Teres Minor,
Teres Major,
Latissimus Dorsi,
Obliquus Abdominis Externus,
Gluteus Medius,
Gluteus Maximus,
Biceps Femoris Long Head,
Vastus lateralis,
Inferior Gemellus,
Obturator Exterunus,
Superior Gemellus,
Quadratus Lumborum


Make sure you are blocking your movement when you use heavy weight.
Would you care to know what that is? I'll tell you if you wish. Just PM me if you think my advice is worth an ear.
The blocking will help you keep from vertebral flexion, which with heavy weights predisposes one to disc herniation.

This exercise develops the glutes, lumbosacral and trapezius muscles and the quads are solicited in the deadlift, not so much the SLDL. My apologies for not reading your OP more thoroughly.

Good day, gentlemen


You'll meet me in the ring and you'll deck me in round one? That has plenty to do with deadlifting, you idiot.

Once again, did you read the article? Just because it is titled "Dangerous Exercises" you jump to the assumption that the stiff-legged dead is being discouraged by the article?

If you actually read the article, it continually states that a "full range of motion" keeping the barbell "close to the body" are ways to prevent damage to the lower back. In fact, here are a list of quotes from that article that support the notion that stiff-legged deads aren't necessarily bad for your back:

[i]"Fleck and Falkel (1986) site a study that demonstrates compression forces are not excessive when the lumbar spine is flexed and the weight is held close to the body"

"I personally have not seen a higher incidence of injury to my clients on the straight leg deadlift as compared to other exercises."

"Although many individuals from industrialized countries suffer from lower back pain, if I were to remove the straight leg deadlift and other exercises based upon certain people's idiosyncrasies, there would be few exercise to left to demonstrate."

"The avoidance of full range of motion promotes deconditioning and consequently deterioration of the joint structures"

"I perform the straight leg deadlifts working up to 495 lbs with complete spinal flexion with the bar touching the top of my feet. I can personally assure you I have little instability in the lumbar region after years and years of regularly performing this exercise."

" In first edition of "Strength Training for Young Athletes" by Kraemer and Fleck, the cover states "Includes over 100 safe exercises for 18 muscle groups and 16 sports. They include two exercise similar to the straight leg deadlift:

      o Page 96: Rounded-back Good Morning Exercise
      o Page 97: Rounded-back Stiff-Legged Deadlift


In fact it seems like the very argument behind the article is that the position of the weight in relation to the body is the most important factor, and NOT whether the lower back is rounded - even the bloody picture is of someone with a ROUNDED BACK.

But to keep things nice and simple with you keyboard warriors, let's see how much actual experience you have. How much can you deadlift, Yetta?

If the answer isn't even 5 plates, then shut the fuck up and stop giving out advice.


That's hella impressive. How much do you weigh?


Let's get the facts straight, shall we?

  1. I said no rounded back.
  2. I said the back was involved.
  3. I said the OP should make sure he's blocking his heavy weight lifts or he'll have a herniated disc when he's an old man.
  4. I linked the video because it showed proper technique.
  5. I wrote down the muscles involved to further clarify that the glutes and back are the major solicitation and that quads are also solicited.
  6. I was at odds with the rounded back portion of the Dangerous Exercise Essay not any other part of that article.

The question by the OP was about his back's pain, his back being his weak link in the muscle chain, and lifting heavy weights.
I addressed those questions and nothing else.

Pain is the body's method of telling the mind that something is incorrect.
I do NOT continue training when my body is telling me that something is incorrect.
I stop to consider the mechanics, the physiology of the exercise and the form. I will reduce the weights until I find my solution.

The video sans the Dangerous Exercise Essay was accurate in proper form, albeit it says nothing about blocking nor did you.

I can carry a 240lb man on my back for 50 yards. I weigh in at 150lbs and I'm 5'6" of strong lean dense slow twitch muscle.

The point to this thread is to help the OP find the answer to his question.
I think we both have helped him find his answer.

If you don't particularly like me, I can live with it.
I will congratulate you on your Deadlift. I wish you success in reaching the 300!

I hope Jaybee will reach his goal, whatever it may be, without a herniated disc or any serious back issues in his old age that were caused because he ignored his body's pain for the sake of his male pride to lift fvcking heavy.


Thank you for that list, I'm sure there was some purpose to you posting it or whatever.

Facts straight; the primary muscles of influence in the deadlift are the lower back erectors. Provided that your technique is watertight (there is enough literature out there on how to do a proper deadlift), it's just gonna be an issue of exercise intensity that determines how sore you'll feel afterwards.

There is no person on this forum of sane mind and good deadlifting experience that can doubt this to be the truth.

Yetta, unless the OP asked you how to carry a sack of grain from the windmill to the barn 50 yards away, I'd advise you stay away from giving third party advice on a topic you clearly don't have real practical experience on. I'd also advise you to stop behaving like an internet tough guy, and going on about "decking people in round one", with all 5'6" of your slow twitch muscle.


I was about 225lbs [give or take 5lbs] when I did that, my weight has been fluctuating these last few months due to an inconsistent diet (not my fault though, I'm a poor student).


1st post, new to this site, good stuff.

Theres a video of stan efferding deadlifting. He goes into detail about his form, and if i remember correctly, he calls it a leg exercise. (he compares it to a leg press i believe)


EMG etc all show low back is the prime mover in the deadlift. Experience bears this out if you lift anyway near the max strenth range and don't perform a full Olympic deadlift . I would have thought it is still the prime mover then.

My deadlift is round 5 plates not sure that qualifies me to give advice LOL.

I would say though there are reasonable strong athletes with good leverage for deadlifting that lift that amnd occasionally a lot more without having a clue how to deadlift. I would not suggest you take advice from them either.

You should try and arch the lower back . Rippetoe posted an artilce on this a few days ago. Look at Eric Cresey series. Even the World Recorder Holder Andy Bolton has posted an article on how to deadlift on this site.


Londoner, I have agreed with you that the target is the Erector Spinae muscles.

What I add is that without proper blocking, the pain he may be feeling could be a precursor to serious injury.

He should arch he lower back by tilting his coccyx up towards the back of his head.
He should contract his abdomen region to increase intra-abdominal pressure which prevents the torso for collapsing forward.
He should expand his chest with a deep breath, holding the breath on the lift to make his rib cage rigid preventing the superior part of the chest from tilting forward.

By doing these three things, known as blocking, he will prevent any detrimental flexion of the vetebral column of his lower back.

The other muscles that I've listed are all solicited in a proper Dead lift and are important in proper form. I didn't type that they were the targeted muscles.

I think you and WA wanted the fight with your tone of voice towards my posts.

I can deadlift 240lbs.
I can leg press 265lbs.
I think that's respectable for a woman.
I'm a natty and have no injuries from weight lifting.

If Jaybee ends up with a herniated disc because he chooses to go heavy and not address his pain issue, it will be on your head, not mine.

If there is more than the usual soreness and pain after he has rested, then he's performing the lift incorrectly, FULL STOP!

Without blocking you can have vertebral flexion in the lower back which is where his pain is.
Most pain in the lower back is due to INCORRECT form which allows for vertabral flexion.

So this doesn't get lost in all the misdirected discussion


Good day, gentlemen


If I think someone is talking nonsense, I'll call them out on it. I'm not wanting any fights. And I didn't make any silly suggestions of calling people over the internet into the ring.

I won't disagree with your suggestion of blocking, I do the same. My piece has already been said, so's yours, so I'll leave it at that.