T Nation

Preparing for the Deadlift


Hi friends,

Everytime I add the deadlift to my program, I end up injuring my lower back. Im at the point now where I am considering from not doing them at all.

Besides correcting anterior pelvic tilt and glute activation, what other things should be doing to prepare my back to start deadlifting again.

Thanks in advance.



Agile 8


Mobility work

Learn how to brace your trunk.


Trap bar deadlift maybe?


don't be in such a hurry for load gains. Add a lesser amount more consistently.
Describe how you usually progress. What rep range do you use for your work sets?


If I remember correctly from your last deaedlift video thread you were doing to many reps. For me and a lot of my clients I have noticed obvious form deviations after 6-8 reps after exceeding 65% 1RM. Try working closer to your 1 RM and do fewer reps.


Hi friends,

Thanks for the advice. I have been working hard on my mobility... maybe I need to do more?

Stateofpschosis- I have never came across any trap bars at the gyms that I go to. And Im not in the position to find new gyms.

Hydraulicfluid- Thanks. I will look into bracing my trunk, its not something I actively do or think about. Any tips?

jp- usually I plan to add deadlifts into my program for a 10 week program. The first 2 weeks are more about getting used to the movement again and higher reps. While for the other weeks I usually alternate between 5 sets of 3 or 5 reps. I try and go up 5-10 lbs every week, depending on how I feel. The injury/irritation occurs at any time during my program, and it can be debilitating... often cant walk for 2-3 days!

Seoldier- I usually do either 3 or 5 reps. But as this was my second week of deadlifting and I was "grooving the groove", I was dong sets of 8 at a "light" weight.

Thanks again for your feedback.



do lots of GHRs, Reverse hypers, back raises and ab-wheel rollouts for a month before you do anymore deads. make sure you get stronger on these


Caveman- I like the sound of that! Lets do this!

Although I will need a GHR machine and an ab wheel. Do you recommend getting the sinlge wheel or the double wheel?

What are reverse hypers and back raises?

How do you brace your core?



Switch to sumo if you struggle getting into position.
Work on form, back of sets etc staying away well from failure.

You don't have to deadlift for bodybuilding


Visit a chiropractor.

make sure you're flexible enough in the posterior chain to maintain a neutral spine with vertical shins. Make sure abs are strong enough.

Get someone to teach you correct form, a decent personal trainer perhaps.

consider using a variation like the sumo or trap bar which may be better suited to your body structure.

good luck.



I do see a chiro, and his working on my pelvis, SI joints, and lumbar vertebra. He has told me that my spine is not made for deadlifting. Although saying that he says he does not like squats or deadlifts full stop.

I have always done deads and squats with my personal trainer. The dude is massive and seems to know what he is talking about. He can deadlift 220kg himself. He says my hammies are short and sometimes it can compromise my form.

Im 6'1, long legs, short hamstrings(even with religous stretching). Will sumo or trap deadlifting be better for me?



5 sets of deadlifts is too much. If you're going to do 3-5 reps per set I would do 2 sets 3 sets MAX. The deadlift does not need a lot of volume at all. Your lower back pain may just be an overuse injury. Post a video of your form as well.

Nothing against my BB friends but if you post this in the powerlifting section you'll get better overall advice.


Try less weight to start. Put your ego aside...


This answers most of your questions. http://articles.elitefts.com/articles/rehabilitation/dear-rehab-guy-2/

It sounds ass backwards, but stretch your hip flexors.


your form probably sucks. get a video


Listen, I know my form sux, but this was only the second week of deadlifts(had a 3 month break from deadlifting), hence I was lifting lightweight(100kg) for higher reps, to try and get my technique right.

I know my hips are rising too fast, but my back looks flat and safe? My back felt fatigued after the workout, and it wasnt until later in the afternoon when I stood up from a chair is when the back seized up.



Just wondering whats your best deadlift??


You are lowering the weight awfully slow. That might be why your back was so fatigued. I would let her hit the ground once you pass the knees.


hastalles- thats a great article. Thanks!

Swolegasm- last year I had a 1 rep max of 195 kg. I dont think I could do that now.

howie- thanks. Ill start dropping once it get past my knees.

Thanks to everyone else with your useful advice.