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Trouble with dead lift and squast (lower back)

I don’t know what it is, but ever sinced I started doing dead lift and squat (it’s been about a year since high school), my lower back kinda hurts while I’m doing it. It’s not a sharp pain, just feels like the muscles are tired. That’s my point. I can’t seem to keep my lower back out of the exercise, no matter how hard I try. I swear I have my lumbar curve in tact throughout an entire rep and the rest of my back straight, and my head all the way back. It seems as though I’m building muscle in my lower to mid back with dead lift and none accross my shoulders(back).

What do you do in the way of exercise for your lower back or abs even?

If nothing, you need to consider good mornings, hyperextensions (regular and reverse) and ab work.

It sounds like you need to work on strengthening your lower back. This is not uncommon. Your legs can do more than your back can. I would suggest glute ham raises and workouts on the roman chair. However, I would encourage you to go slowly. Muscle soreness in in all other areas is just a pain. Muscle soreness in the lower back can keep you from working out. Also, I wouldn’t go any heavier on squats and dead lifts until the lower back is strengthened. Maybe even go lighter. In the meantime do leg presses to keep developing your legs, if you are concerned about losing strength. Best of luck


You won’t be able to keep your lower back out of the exercise. In fact the deadlift is one of the better exercises for your lower back, particularely for training isometric strength. As long as your form is good you’re fine. The deadlift is a good way to identify a weak link in the posterior chain and also a good way to work toward balancing the lot. As long as your form remains good throughout.


It really depends how you squat. If you take a wide stance and sit back you shouldn’t feel it much in your lower back. You might feel some because your spinal erectors are still involved in maintaining the positioning of your torso but it shouldn’t be a big strain. However, if you’re leaning far forward at the bottom you’ll feel it a great deal in your lower back. I’m not saying that’s bad, it really depends what your goals are.

Hope this helps a little.



I have the exact same pain. I first noticed it doing Chad’s anti BB program. 10 sets of 3 no problem, but when I got to my 10 sets of 4 I could only do 8 and then only 6 sets of 5.

It just got too sore in my lower back to continue. I’ve never had this problem with deadlifts prior. I’ve given up trying to work it out for myself and I’m seeing a weight-lifting coach tomorrow. He’s agreed to look at my form and tell if I’m doing something wrong.

My pain isn’t there the next day, but it’s a very painful ache that really stops me continuing during the session. I’ll update you after tomorrow if I learn anything!

I did a lot of lower back extentsions and leg raises for lower abs before I even started doing deadlifts. I do straight leg deadlifts and squats to the ground so I still use my lower back in both movements. Patricia is absolutely on the money though. Doing the prep work enabled me to graduate on to pretty decent loads in both lifts without any lower back problems. Doing lower back extensions in that leg locking stand (don’t know what its called) also incorperated my hamstrings quite a bit. I think this has helped take some of the overload off my lower back as well.

Listen to Patricia- it’s the core stability muscles (lower back and abs) that probably need development.

However it certainly wouldn’t do any harm to have someone experienced analyse your form- it’s very hard to do this yourself on SQ and DL without unintentionally compromising your form. SRS

This is not a strength issue; it’s just something you have to deal with. There was a thread about this on Christian’s forum a while back and he stated that the pain is most likely due to an extreme pump in the lower back region. It’s all good when it’s your chest or biceps, but when the pump is in your low back, it can be extremely painful. He recommended to do a set of ab work inbetween each set of squats or deads and also to passively stretch the lower back between sets (sit down and bend over, hold for 30-45 seconds). Other than that, there isn’t much you can do besides deal.


Stiff legged dealifts!

Thats what I suggest. Hefting the iron up with only your back should make it much stronger.

SL deads are NOT done for the lower back. They’re predominantly a hamstring exercise, and if you’re feeling it more in your lower back than in your biceps femoris, your form is off.

Reverse hyperextensions - Know them. Learn them. Live them.

Also, you said you’ve been doing squats and deads for a year now. What kind of squats and deads? There are so many variations of these lifts. In general, it’s not a good idea to keep the same lift in your program for an extended period of time. I’m not suggesting that you drop them. They are a staple of my workouts, but I use different variations about every month.

Romanian deadlifts are for hammies, sl are for lower back. And normal deads are for?

“***Romanian deadlifts are for hammies, sl are for lower back. And normal deads are for?***”

Tiree- what are you talking about? Have you actually performed these exercises? I suggest you do some reading.


i wanted to ask if your strength levels have been increasing. If so, and your form is good, then it’s all good. Also what kind of training split do you have? Do you have separate deadlift and sqaut days, and how many days rest in between? When do you work in your upper back and lats? These all play a role in recovery. You need to keep your shoulder blades tight while deadlifting and hold the position at the top. that definitely will cause the upper back muscles to contract and give you nice size and shape. laters pk

Char is correct - if you feel it more in the lower back during SL’s; your form is off.

I stay with my original suggestion: good mornings, hypers (reverse and regular), ab work.

What Joel said is correct, too. But I also wonder if Kurt here is rounding his shoulders during the initial pull of the dead. If he’s not (and I’m suspecting he isn’t), then his form is off. By rounding the shoulders/upper back, there’ll be less stress on the shoulder area.

What this guy needs to do is read “The Dead Zone” by Dave Tate. Do a search for it in T-Mag.

OK, here’s my feedback from my one hour session with a weight lifting coach.

Did a few warmup reps and he asked me what I focus on when I lift. I got in position and said “I focus on keeping my back straight”

To which he said you just straightened your back more than when you did those first 5 reps that you showed me.

Then he said you need to push your chest out more, and it finally clicked what people mean by saying retract your scapula - I didn’t understand that properly until I stuck my chest out and felt my shoulders come back. Doh!

Then he gave me a 3rd thing to work on once I had those sussed and that was to focus on pushing through the floor with my legs.

I noticed an immediate change to the stress, I felt it more in my upper back than I had before.

He also told me at the bottom to make sure I was properly set, had focused on setting my position and muscles before I lift.

Also this was the first time that my shins were bleeding! Their bar knurling must be rougher than my Olympic bar at home.

He also checked my rear and front squat form and they were good.

All in all a really useful session for me. So, back straight, chest out, push with your feet. It’s all about form.

I’m keen to try this now with 10 sets of 5 to see if I still have the back problem, in which case I guess it will be Joel’s pump, as I know I’ve got my form right now.

you should try doing the deadlift with a cocontration of the glutes and tVA. It seems that many of the hardcore lifters don’t want to give this technique a try, but as far as transfer to physical capability, glute activation, and absens of lower back pump it can’t be beat. I think the form that is pushed by Ian King is the one that I am refering to. I was a 600lbs deadlifter than with change in form I was a 400+deadlifter and now I am a 720lbs deadlifter. Oh! and lets’s not forget to hold the shoulders retracted as well as depressed. It does as Ian says, help to excelerate the reversal of the forward shoulder posture like nothing I know.