T Nation

Warm up for Deadlift?


This is my first post to the over 35 section (I guess I'm finally an old fart). A little background - 39 y.o., 190#s and have been lifting off and on for 10+ years. I've always had the obligatory aches and pains that come from lifting, but never anything seroius. My question invloves how does the over 35 crowd warm-up for a heavy deadlift.

Currently, I pull 385 sumo 5 times which I realize is very light however I think I can add 50#s in the next 6 months. What I've found recently is that my back feels better if I perform 3-4 sets of back extensions prior to deadlifting. For instance, my warm-up would consist of 5 minutes of mobility work, then the back extensions and then start at 135, 185, 225, 285, 315, 335 then my work sets. How does this sound and is there anything else that you'd reccomend?

I've read several articles on proper warm-up technique but there's also at least four posts circulating about alternates to deadlifts because of injury and I don't want to be there. Deadlifts to me seem to require a special warm-up because of the risk factor and how much they tax the system.


Sounds good. If you feel warmed up before you work sets and you haven’t gotten hurt yet you are doing it right. Remember everybody is different and at differnet conditioning levels and lets not forget injuries.

Deadlifts are great just keep the reps lower and have someone who knows what “your” good form is and trust him to stop if he/she calls the set early because of poor form.


on squat and pull days, during my warm up, I do 1-leg glute bridges to wake up my glutes. This has helped me a ton. I’ll have to try adding back raises to my pull warmup, it makes sense that getting some blood into that area pre lifting would help.


Try some light sled pulls (walking forward and backward) if gym allows, and medium height box jumps too. Don’t forget about your upper back either. A set or two of face pulls do the trick for me.


I’ve never actually tried this but at one of the gyms I used to train the powerlifters only pulled every other week, and on the same day as squats. They thought it was less taxing on the system plus after squatting you are pretty warm. Have you looked into magnificent mobility?


I can personally attest to the need to warm up properly for deads–I was late last week and shortened my usual warm-up protocol and tweaked my lower back. I knew it was stupid at the time, but did it anyway. I like spending 10-15 minutes in the dry sauna doing mobility work for hips, knees, ankles, back and shoulders. I do some basic stuff from Steve Maxwell’s encyclopedia of joint mobility. Then, at least 5-8 minutes walking uphill on treadmill at 4 mph, then 10-15 plyo jumps to a 30" box and some jumping rope or jumping jacks or a few sets of stairs. Whatever it takes to get the blood and fluids moving around the spine. Then, I like to take more rest than I need between warm-up sets just to let my body get used to pulling and to, again, get the fluids moving. When I do this, I’m fine, when I don’t or cut it short, I get hurt.