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More Dangerous: Not Bracing or Not Keeping a Neutral Spine?

Whenever i deadlift with a straight back and i reach 405lbs my back rounds instantly and it rounds while im pulling and i cant brace. On the other hand if i start from the beginning with a rounded back and brace my abs,i can maintain that position throughout the whole pull and brace very effectively. My question isnt how i should pull tho. My question is whats more dangerous in your opinion,not bracing the abs effectively,or not maintaing a neutral spine?

Here comes a bunch of info from experienced people that you won’t listen to


Eyyyy someone that recognizes me. Ive been trying to pull with a straight back ever since everyone here told me to but sure keep thinking im just a stubborn kid and theres no way in the world i simply just cant effectively deadlift with a straight back.

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The problem with your question is that getting a good answer involves doing a lot of bad lifting so you can measure bad outcomes.

Have you considered the possibility that you are pulling decent numbers in spite of, not because of, how you approach the movement?


I have. However,multiple years of trying to pull with a straight back make me think im right about rounded back. Take this for example,after i tweaked my low back push pressing weight i obviosly shouldnt have been trying to push press,and after taking a month off all deadlifts and squats,i tried to deadlift with a straight back for 3 monthes and continued to tweak my back several times while also grinding 440lbs like it was my max. 2 weeks out of comp for reasons that are too long to elaborate,i decided to just test rounded back deads,and was able to pull 530lbs in como and that wasnt even a max effort. Since then i continued to pull with a rounded back till a month ago with no more back tweaks happening. Everything ive witnessed in my experience makes me think its rounded back that is allowing me to progress,not inspite of. I recently tried to straight back again and the results are almost the same as those monthes before the comp,my low back feels very fragile.

Haha, a bit ironic that a “deadlift god” is asking this question. Rounding is usually not ideal, but it depends how severe your it is. There’s a big difference between a slight round and pulling like Quasimodo.

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Not bracing is more dangerous, Stuart McGill has discussed this. Look at strongmen lifting atlas stones, you can’t do it without rounding but they manage to do this without becoming handicapped for life by bracing. McGill says that the safest is braced and neutral, next is rounded and braced while not going further into flexion. Rounding under a load (like during a deadlift) is very high risk, whether you start rounded or not you want to avoid rounding more during the lift.

Not bracing is just stupid, there are easier ways to hurt yourself that won’t require so much effort.


Nothing you say really makes a lot of sense to me, but it sounds like you believe in your approach.

At age 38 I like having a lower back like a diesel truck, but I’m guessing our training priorities are quite different.

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Let me explain this simply. When i hip hinge and create a neutral back position with the hinge,i am unable to brace my abs effectively,for reasons that are unknown to me. When i round intentionally before pulling,i am able to create a massive amount of tension in my abs and i am also able to use my legs a lot more taking some strain of my lower back. Any questions?

I understand. I guess its a matter of priorities,risk vs reward. Very good explanation,thanks.

No, but thanks for asking.

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Just wanted to make clear we’re on the same page. No point in an argument if one of us doesnt understand the others perspective.

We’re not, but that’s okay.

Ok. Carry on

Do you think you’re bracing properly? If your spine is rounded forward it will be easier to feel your abs contract. It’s more similar to a crunch. Bracing with a neutral spine feels much different.

Can you just post a video?

Straight back:

Rounded back:

Bracing with a rounded back feels like my core is expanding on all directions 360° like a balloon. Bracing with a straight back feels like flexing ur abs even when i try to expand it on all directions.


What are your max squat and deadlift right now?

Yes ive read that article and i agree with most of it. But the majority of ppl who see my deadlift videos seem to think rounding the back is a crime against god so i started.to think maybe im the one being a stubborn ass.
Max rounded dead has been 530lbs. Max straight back 440 altho not quite straight. Max squat raw 370 and with knee wraps 405.

Okay. Well if you look at your rounded back video, you’re basically lifting with your legs straight. If you watch, you actually finish the lift by pushing your stomach through, not your hips. Your hips start in a much better position on the straight back deadlift.

I’d guess that you’ll hit a wall pretty soon, or get injured, using a rounded back. But I bet that you could progress your straight back deadlift quite a bit.

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