T Nation

Rounded Back While Pulling


#1

I recently got back into lifting with Jim Wendler's 5/3/1 and am really enjoying my progress. I was really feeling good about my deadlift progress until I recently videoed a couple of my pulls. My back is slightly rounded the entire time of the lift. It seems that I have to cut the weight almost in half to keep my back arched at all.

My back stays rounded during the whole lift, but it doesn't get any worse than at the start of it. Wendler says in the manual that a slight rounded back is ok as long as it doesn't get worse through the lift, and that your back will definitely round if you are pushing yourself so I don't know if this is ok. Also, I can't seem to keep an arched back while doing goodmornings. My question is do you guys think this is just a lack of practice, flexibility, or strength?


#2

Which part of your back is being rounded?


#3

Well none of my back is arched, but the worst of the rounding is the middle/upper part. What is annoying is that I can lift 50+lbs more if I let it round and don't force it to arch. Even then it is not arched very well.


#4

i pull much stiff legged and upper back decently rounded, ive found that i havent injured my back since i starting stretching/icing/working it harder, include lots of hypers/rows/vertical pulling throughout the week. I dont think rounding is as big as deal as ppl make it out to be, some are built to deadlift rounded back, others with lots of leg drive take this with a grain of salt of course as i am not an expert


#5

A lot of people round their upper backs when pulling. Rounding your lower back is really what you need to watch out for, and even then some people get away with it.


#6

Please follow rape weight's advice.


#7

x2


#8

Lumbar rounding = bad. Thoracic rounding = ok in experienced lifters with proper motor patterns.


#9

So pretty much I should lower the weight and get better form until only my upper back rounds if any of it does? I think maybe my back just isn't strong enough to hold itself straight. When I really focus on trying to arch it feels like the weight is twice as heavy.


#10

http://www.tmuscle.com/free_online_article/sports_body_training_performance/mastering_the_deadlift_part_i

Read Cressey's articles on deadlifts...he's a sharp guy.


#11

Hmmm, good to know, and it seems everyone agrees with you. I'm guilty of rounding my upper back when I do sets with anything over 315, and I figured it was murder on my vertebrae, so here I have been doing ridiculously high reps.


#12

Thanks for all of the replies/advice. I will probably lower the weight some to work on form, and also work on strengthening my entire back. After checking some more it seems to be rounding right about the middle, so I have decided to really work on fixing the issue.


#13

I did pulls from the floor again today and think my problem is my lower back is just exhausted. I have been pulling as heavy as I could from the floor for 10 weeks now and just overdid it I think. Anyone else ever have this problem? Is so what do you suggest?


#14

10 weeks of pulling as heavy as you can will definitely lead to an exhaused lower back.. to say the least. maybe you should look into cycling your training. also, in my personal experience, pulling from the floor, heavy all the time makes my deadlift numbers go down. i do most of my pulling from my weakpoint, do deficit pulls for speed, or pull from the floor for reps.


#15

Do rack pulls for 4-8 weeks and keep squatting?


#16

You have weak scapular retractors in relation to your leg / lower back strength.

Strengthen them and your rowing and pulling no's will go up. Properly set and engaged scapular retractors allows for full recruitment of your lats. The stronger your lats and scapular retractors are the more stable your shoulders are. The more stable your shoulders are the more you can press. The more you can press the bigger the shoulders/triceps..........

You get the picture.

You guys that don't think you need to address this are mis informed.


#17

For my case,I can maintain a near neutral spine when pulling from a deficit or using the snatch grip. However,when I pull from the floor using a narrow grip(using the same weight),my spine alignment isn't as good(even though this pull is supposed to be easier)

Strange...


#18

Thanks again for the input.

10 weeks of pulling as heavy as you can will definitely lead to an exhaused lower back.. to say the least. maybe you should look into cycling your training. also, in my personal experience, pulling from the floor, heavy all the time makes my deadlift numbers go down. i do most of my pulling from my weakpoint, do deficit pulls for speed, or pull from the floor for reps.

I know this was foolish. I am doing 5/3/1 Boring But Big but instead of just doing 5x10 pulls I just kept uping the weight until I couldn't pull it. It was fun but a bad idea I realize.

You have weak scapular retractors in relation to your leg / lower back strength.

Strengthen them and your rowing and pulling no's will go up. Properly set and engaged scapular retractors allows for full recruitment of your lats. The stronger your lats and scapular retractors are the more stable your shoulders are. The more stable your shoulders are the more you can press. The more you can press the bigger the shoulders/triceps..........

Forgive my anatomical ignorace but what is a scapular retractor?


#19

Without getting too in depth they are your rhomboids and middle fibres of your trapezius. I'd also aim to strengthen your scapular depressors namely the lower fibres of your trapezius too.

Now before everyone jumps on my back, rounding of the thoracic is ok if your going for a "true" 1rm. That means 1 rep, deadlift gone for the day. But I believe maintaining thoracic extension and curveture on anything 3rm and up is important. If your rounding every time you dead you've got issues to address.

If your doing 5/3/1 that means your 5's and 3's should be done with good form and a little rounding on the 1 is ok but remember that program is designed so you only do a real 1rm every 3rd week out of 4 but even then you might manage a 2 or 3. The way the percentages work in the 1st, 2nd and 4th week are not true 1rm's and multiple reps are done so you should be able to maintain your thoracic. Louie Simmons is big on not maxing more than 3 weeks in a row on the same lift as your CNS will crash on that lift and you'll stall at some point.

So i would do Rhomboid, Middle and Lower Trap activation exercises before you lift to turn them on for when you lift, and increase their role in the lift, and then the same again using more of a strengthening approach after you lift, til you bring them up and can do a true 3rm with good form. Does that make sense?

The lumbar and cervical spine also directly affect the thoracic but this post is long enough. I hope that makes sense as this is a bit of a pet peeve of mine. Your only as strong as your weakest link. Isolate to integrate blah blah blah :))))

Stay strong.