T Nation

The Importance of Tension


I strained a muscle in my back when I was performing warmups for deadlift, and I attribute it to the fact that I was working with submaximal weights that I didn't take seriously and failed to focus on my form and tension. My torso was extremely loose and I ended up straining a muscle--I'm out for a week plus.

Since I've been sidelined, I've thought a lot about what I need to do to prevent this in the future, and I think the main thing is give tension the utmost focus during all lifts, regardless of the load. What are some tips you all have for creating and maintaining the most tension? For me, it's:

on all lifts:
take in a big deep breath and hold it

pull back, not up
drive your heels into the ground

head up
pull apart on the bar
keep your ass back
keep COM over your heels

shoulder blades back
pull apart on the bar
drive heels into the ground (with heels off the ground)
row the bar to your chest when lowering it

Any advice would be appreciated!


fucking duh?


there's an old saying "treat light weights like heavy weights and heavy weights like light weights."


There is nothing wrong with having a mental checklist that you run through prior to each set. There is no 'casual' training when your opponent is the deadlift, squat, etc.


heh the same just happened to me.

I was doing the 5th week of the coan-phillipi deadlift routine. I warmed up to a set of 395x2 with no problems at all, followed by 320 3x3.

Then came the "assistance" lifts. I was supposed to do goodmornings, 3 sets of 5 reps with 115lbs.
On the second set, third rep, I relaxed my lower back due to distraction/bad form/not taking it seriously. Bad, bad mistake. I felt a popping sensation on the spine like never before, followed by serious lower back pain. Couldn't sleep at all that night because of the horrible pain. Now, 2 days after, I still have difficulty moving. Probably will need a week or two to recover.

So deadlifting 400lbs was ok, but goodmornings with 115lbs fucked up my back really bad. I never want to do a goodmorning again in my life.


I've done it too. In a hurry, deadlifting a light weight, I was yanking it off the floor and my back was taking all the shock at once. Dumb.


Never yank a DL off the floor. As you have found, your body needs to be tight when you start the movement. Your upper back must be contracted and lower back arched.

Edit: Like eluded to above and below, your form should be the same for any weight. This will make the heavy weights easier and prevent injury in the future. Good luck healing. It's all a learning experience.


As a young lifter I never hurt myself on something heavy . It was always a lighter weight . Unloading a bar, warming up etc.

What this means is you were getting to hurt yourself and put yourself in a compromised position .


Just fucked up my back doing warm up deads this Monday. Went a little high on reps and form went to shit. Felt a pop but no immediate pain. Finish the rest of the workout. Pain hit later in the after noon before work. Had crazy spasms last two days. Sucked getting in and out of my car.

Went to work and hid the whole night laying down as much as I could. Fucking hate getting hemmed up over something stupid. I'm so bored. I don't know what to do with myself! I literally can't wait to go to work. Feel better today. No way 100%...thinking I'll be working out this weekend though...

Last time I had a lower back thing...daily light weigh goodmornings worked wonders! Think I'll start with those right now!