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Physiotherapist Said to Round My Back w/ Deadlift


Im 22, two ruptured discs in the past which i have been trying to fix. Turned out i had several weaknesses which i have been hitting hard.

But last time i went to him i asked if i could start deadlifting again, he said it would be fine unless i swayed with my lower back. This was basically against everything i have learned, i thought the idea was to keep the back in a neutral position throughout the movement.

He INSISTED on me rounding the back when deadlifting and the theory behind that was simple; when the spine is in a flexion and the belly is sucked in and tightened it generates alot more core activation and pressure than when you are swaying, in which the core doesnt work as much and may cause a twist or linear instability throughout the movement. I told him that its general knowledge to sway the back, he says the articles are talking about the UPPER back wtf?

Well i tried this and lets just say i feel like my rehab has taken several steps back


No. Hell no.

What does he mean by swaying, exactly?

Which discs did you rupture, and how long ago? How did you rupture them?

How much are you deadlifting, and with what program - volume? reps? to failure?

I don't want to give an internet diagnosis that goes against your physio, but that advice sounds suss. Does he have a lot of experience with resistance training and sports injuries, or does he generally treat older populations?

Also, unrelated question, does your username mean that you're an Ildjarn fan?


MRT 3-4 years ago showed two bulging discs L4-L5-S1 so its been quite some time, during this time i havent been doing any squats or deads because...well i couldnt. So right now im just doing high rep low weight to recruit proper activation until i start lifting seriously again.

I really dont know anymore, i read an article just this morning about how some top end weightlifters dead with a rounded lower back. Again im not talking about a cat-hunch but simple rounded lower.

I mean my general instinct was that the back is in its healthiest and most stable state when its in its neutral position. But at the same time i get very poor core activation (could be cause of the low weight i dont know) when i sway, and when i round i feel like my core is exploding from pressure.

Well when i was demonstrating my deadlift form he kept telling me to tuck my pelvis in, to contract my lower abs.


  1. From what I've seen, flexion in top powerlifting occurs in the thoracic spine, not lumbar. If lumbar rounding occurs, I'd bet it's during a comp. What top end weightlifters deadlift with a rounded lumbar spine?

  2. You are not a top end weightlifter, right?

  3. Just because they do it, doesn't mean it's good for them, or will be good for you.

Like I said before, I'm hesitant to give dissenting advice to someone in the middle of a rehab program, but this sounds suss to me.

It sounds to me like you might need to practice your abdominal bracing technique. Of course, that really only applies if you're lifting with a neutral spine. I'll wait and see if anyone else has any input before I say anything else.


I'm certainly no expert but that sounds like awful advice to me. Everything i've leart/read points towards a neutral spine. Flexion and compression are supposed to be the 2 worst things for the spine to be placed under and the physio seems to be recommending both. I'd definately try and ask CT or one of the other guys/coaches.


Im not making any statements, im just saying if someone does it and specially if its a powerlifter, since they put so much pressure on their spine, there might be something to it

Well normally i would have dismissed this since you cant listen to every dumbass making statements out there. But this guy has helped me on the road and i do feel alot stable after 2 months of therapeutic exercises he gave me, so he does seem like a guy who knows what hes talking about which makes this alot more confusing


Unless you want to further injure your lumbar spine, I would avoid flexion at that level. You should strive to keep a brace, locked, neutral spine from the C-Spine all the way down to the T-Spine. BUT, during competition weight lifts, some thoracic flexion is expected.

This does not mean it makes the lift easier, it is more just a minor slippage in form due to the extreme load being moved. During competition level lifts, that small slippage of form is generally acceptable (most people are not powerlifting for the sport of powerlifting, so they should focus on maintaining proper form/technique).

I may be putting words into your therapist's mouth, BUT you may be over-extending at the lumbar spine, rather than bracing at the lumbar spine and extending at the hips, during your lifting technique. Why not just post a video of your technique on here?

Also, which direction were your disc injuries (anterior, posterior, etc)? Also, did you have "ruptures" or "bulges"? They are two very different injuries.


If i recall correctly one was anterior and other posterior, so both. Do not know which is which though

I can assure you i am not overextending my lower back, if anything its completely flat when im bent over and are trying to arch. But yea you might be right about the over extending on the lumbar region instead of hips as my lower back erectors bulge even though i sway. Dont know if this is normal or not


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Yep, please tell him not to advise any more on lifting technique.
He's terrible at it.


Did you deadlift in front of your PT to get an accurate description of what he wants?

While neutral may be correct, I have seen every type of advice be taken overboard. You might think your neutral and your back is an over flexed state. Otherwise he just sounds like he's brainless.