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Should My Lower Back Be Sore After Deadlifts

Gluteal Amnesia Causes Improper Deadlift Performance

Why Is My Lower Back Sore After Deadlifting & How Do I Fix This?

One of the many reasons an inefficient pattern can occur is prolonged sitting. Sitting neurologically inhibits the glutes for the long term, resulting in a compensatory overactivity of the lumbar spine muscles. This can still be the case, even when a barbell deadlift is performed with proper form as validated by a trainer or coach. Those with sitting induced gluteal amnesia are usually sore at the low back, not at the glutes, following a deadlift workout.

Poor Muscle Activation And Technique With Deadlifts

A deadlift is a basic exercise for beginners and advanced training enthusiasts, but they rely on complex movements in the back, hips and legs.

Primary muscles involved in deadlifts are the gluteal muscle group, but muscles in the lower back and hamstrings act as secondary muscles and ensure hip stability during deadlifts.

It happens that lower back muscles and hamstring overtake primary role from gluteal muscle group and because of that, people can end up with muscle soreness in the lower back after deadlifts.

Since secondary muscles shouldnt work as much as they do, they become sore and painful. Thats why its so hard to achieve a perfect deadlift technique.

I have experienced that on my skin, but fortunately, its not so hard to fix that issue.

Poor deadlift techniques occur in the preparation and performing phase.

In the preparation phase happens the following issue:

  • Loss of neutral spine.
  • The bar is too close/away from the body.

While in the performing phase, it happens that:

  • Early hip extension.
  • Too much back extension.

Restore Proper Hip Centration

Getting your hip to sit back in the pocket. If you try and perform a hip hinge and you feel a lot of tightness in your buttock, this may be preventing you from keeping your hip properly centered and as a result you compensate by rounding your spine.

Here’s an exercise that will help you release the posterior capsule and small hip rotators:

  • Get into a 4 point stance with a resistance band around your thigh pulling inferiorly.
  • Internally rotate the hip then sit back and perform 5 small circles in each direction to scour the joint and mobilize the joint capsule.

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How Do You Perform A Traditional Deadlift

It is crucial to know how to perform a deadlift correctly if you are planning on doing one. Due to the heavyweight you are able to lift while deadlifting, it can lead to serious injury if done incorrectly.

Therefore, we always recommend practicing the deadlift form with no weight attached to your barbell before adding extra weight, as it is more important to get your form absolutely right before adding weight.

It is also proven that form does more for muscle growth than the addition of weight, so you will be benefiting yourself just by learning how to perform a deadlift correctly.

When performing a traditional deadlift, stand with your feet hip-wide apart over a barbell, your feet should stay stationary and firmly planted on the ground throughout the entire deadlift move.

You must also keep your back straight and your spine neutral throughout the deadlift, so dont be persuaded to look up and forward to the mirror in front of you as this could cause spinal issues.

Once you are in this starting position, push your butt backward and bend your knees to pick up the barbell in front of you. Your hands should grip the bar at around shoulder width.

Once you have positioned yourself to lift the bar, bring the bar upwards by bringing your butt forward and straightening your knees. In doing this, drive your feet into the ground and squeeze your glutes to extend your hips. Lift until your legs have fully straightened and you are standing up.

Should You Be Worried If Your Hamstrings Are Sore After Deadlifting

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Based on the explanations above, sore hamstrings are totally normal after deadlifts, depending on how often you train them and what your last workout was like.

As you think through your workout, recall if the load or volume was different than youve recently done? If not, did you feel the pain during the workout, and has it not gone away after significant rest? Finally, what did your selection of deadlift variations look like, and did they use more hamstring than other exercises?

The only time you should really be worried is if you answered yes to the second question. Otherwise, be happy that your workout was effective enough to trigger DOMS!

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Deadlifts Can Cure Back Pain Not Cause It

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Within the last week, two different strength coaches and I discussed lifting as it relates to back health. One coach described a physician cautioning against the deadlift, suggesting axial loading was healthier. Yet, I cannot remember any classes or education we had on weightlifting in medical school.

The second coach was discussing how deadlift was the most common scapegoat for any lower back discomfort.

The fact is, any movement can cause injury or harm if performed improperly but avoidance or abstinence can increase injuries as well. What makes the deadlift more ominous is the sight of heavy lifting. The visual of big weighted plates and large men conjures up an irrational fear of a movement which could save an athletes lifeor at least their back.

So When Can I Start Deadlifting With Back Pain

Fortunately, a research study in Sweden sought to answer the exact question of which people with back pain would benefit from deadlift training.3 They identified two criteria for those who would benefit from deadlifting with back pain, which you can easily assess on your own:

  • Patients with pain severity less than a score of 60 on a scale of 1-100.
  • Patients with a score of greater than 60 seconds on the Biering-Sørensen test of hip and back extensor endurance.

Essentially, if your back pain allows you to, and your low back muscles are strong enough to support you during the movement, you not only CAN deadlift with back pain, but you SHOULD deadlift with back pain! The participants in this study who met the above criteria had significant improvements in pain, strength, and functionalabilities from 1-2 deadlifting training sessions/week for 8 weeks.

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Deadlift Mistake: You Dont Bend Your Knees Enough

A conventional deadlift requires some knee bendnot as much as a squat, but enough that will allow you to get down to the bar.

Put very simply, without a good knee bend, your deadlift won’t be able to get off the floor.

“The primary reason for good knee bend is providing yourself with the opportunity to be in the best position possible to apply force into the ground,” says Shannon. “If our knees lack sufficient knee bend we may rely on primarily hamstrings and low back.”

If you dont bend your knees, you are just going to bend at the waist, adds Gentilcore. Youre going to have straight legs, and that can crush your back.

Plus, if you dont bend your knees enough, itll be really difficult to get yourself into the proper wedge position: Your chest should be above your hips, and your hips above your knees.

Not giving yourself enough of a knee bend can throw that alignment out of whack, bringing your hips way too highabove your shoulders.

Its going to go right to the lower back, Gentilcore says. You are not going to have the proper hamstring tension.

What If It Still Hurts While I Am Deadlifting

Back Soreness After Deadlifts

While this may come as a surprise, participants in this study were successful despite being instructed to continue deadlifting with back pain. As long as the pain did not exceed the level of 5/10, did not continue after a set was complete, and the proper form was maintained they were given the green light! This is a major point! These subjects had massive improvements, despite being allowed to continue deadlifting with back pain.

Now, this is not an instruction to continue deadlifting through worsening back pain. Rather, it is an important illustration of the fact that, as you train your back for the stresses of a fully functional life, you may feel some discomfort and that is OKAY! As physical therapists, our goal is to decrease a patients pain and improve their function. Unfortunately, we can sometimes spend too much time focusing on decreasing pain that we fail to return a patient to their full functional capabilities due to fear of pain or discomfort. This is especially true when it comes to low back pain, where the effects can be so debilitating. However, this study is a good reminder that focusing on improving your strength, form, and functional abilities will more than likely address your pain along the way!

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Deadlift Mistake: You Ignore Your Abs

Actually, most guys do a pretty good job engaging their abs at the beginning of the lift, according to both Gentilcore and Shannon. Its at the descent where it becomes problematic.

Once you complete your lift, you might be tempted to let gravity take over and just drop it from the top. Bad idea: The uncontrolled dropping of the weight can knock your body out of position as you hunch your shoulders downward, seriously straining your lower back and leading to pain.

Keeping yours abs engagedas well as your latsduring the controlled lowering of the weight can help. Before your lift, brace your gut as if you were going to take a punch. You can take a breath at the top, but you still need to keep your abs on.

Then hip hinge back and control the bar on the way down to the floor, Gentilcore says.

End Lower Back Pain From Deadlifting Now

There are 3 main reasons that you could have pain after deadlifting

  • You dont have a foundation for movement therefore you cannot perform a proper hip hinge
  • You are not technically performing the deadlift correctly
  • You can perform a hip hinge, but are lifting too much weight

Figure A This is the performance pyramid. We need to have a good foundation for movement, which means that your body is properly aligned, the tissues are balanced and you are using the correct muscle activation pattern.

Dr. Erin Boynton MD, FRCSChief Medical Officer,Precision Movement


You will not be able to do a proper hip hinge if you have a compensatory movement pattern affecting your hips, spine and core.

Compensatory movement patterns develop when we have imbalances affecting the muscles, for example, sitting often leads to tight hip flexors or psoas muscle which leads to the glutes shutting off.

Dr. Erin Boynton MD, FRCSChief Medical Officer,Precision Movement

As a result, the small muscles in your buttock and hamstrings must compensate for the inactive glutes, and what you can do.

We refer to this as not having a foundation for movement. Imagine if you do not have a solid foundation for your house, and then you start building more storeys, what is going to happen? Eventually something has to give.

Trying to perform a deadlift without a good foundation will cause your back to round and the muscles in your back to overwork, this spells trouble, so here is the fix.

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Should I Be Sore In My Lower Back After Deadlifts

I recently started stronglifts 5×5 and started performi g the deadlift again. I am not sure if the pain in lower back is DOMS or if it can be contributed to improper form or too much weight. I did lift more than I ever had before so I hope I am just feeling the effects of a good workout. Here’s what I did205x5135x10I feel that I warmed up well with the light weight and also tried to stretch as good as possibleHas anyone else had this issue/should I be concerned or am I good2go

eAsTsIdE”A BALDING LOSER” must die

  • 04-21-2009, 09:54 AM#2
  • Posts: 898
    Rep Power: 2615

    I get sore after heavy days of DL, so it’s normal. Just make sure to keep stretching and be sure to keep the form perfect for every rep

    That’s why once you’re in the game, you’re in it for life.-DJAuto

    Posts: 85,711
    Rep Power: 1672473

    If the pain lasts only a day or two, it’s probably normal. If it lasts longer, you may have a slight injury. Have a knowledgeable person check out your deadlift form, or post a vid here, to get some feedback. As you deadlift regularly, over a period of time you’ll get used to the move, and will be much less sore from it, providing, of course, you always maintain good form.

    No brain, no gain.”The fitness and nutrition world is a breeding ground for obsessive-compulsive behavior. The irony is that many of the things people worry about have no impact on results either way, and therefore aren’t worth an ounce of concern.”–Alan AragonWhere the mind goes, the body follows. Ironwill Gym:

    How To Treat Lower Back Injuries Associated With Deadlifts

    Back Soreness After Deadlifts...Is It Normal?

    When properly executed, the deadlift increases our core strength while working more muscles than any other weightlifting exercise. On the other hand, improper execution could put too much stress on your lower back, leading to a painful sprain or strain. It is important to know what back pain preventative measures to take the correct lifting technique, and what to do if your lower back is sore after deadlift exercises.

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    Check That Youre Using The Appropriate Footwear

    Check your footwear to make sure its not the cause of your back pain while lifting

    Surprisingly, a lot of lifters dont realize that if you arent wearing the proper footwear or have the appropriate arch support it can change the way the weighted bar distributes forces throughout the body including the spine.

    You can have this evaluated by a sports medicine physician. If you go to the office be sure to take your running shoes with you as the wear and tear pattern on the bottom can be used to see if you need a certain type of arch support.

    Why Do My Shoulders Hurt After Deadlifts

    1- What is Shoulder Impingement? Shoulder Impingement Syndrome is typically diagnosed with orthopedic tests that closely resemble a poorly executed sumo deadlift high pull. Shoulder impingement is caused by the joints of your shoulder moving in a way that causes it to bind upon its own soft tissues.

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    Tips To Prevent Deadlift Injury & Back Pain

    Back pain can be disastrous to your fitness goals. It can limit your movement, stop you from working out for weeks, and delay your progress. Thus, it is better to prevent it rather than having to deal with it. Here are a few tips that can help you prevent deadlift injuries and back pain. These are just a few adjustments you need to do in your move or the positions that you can easily do.

    Deadlift Mistake: You Start With The Bar Too Far Away

    How to Fix Lower Back Pain After Deadlifts, Squats & Leg Exercises – TECHNIQUE TIP

    The positioning of the bar leads to one of the most common deadlifting mistakes that causes back pain: You start with the barbell too far away from you, says Gentilcore.

    Often I hear people say, Oh, my shins bleed when I deadlift. What am I doing wrong?’ I say, Nothing,says Gentilcore. Okay, it’s not that you want to get all banged up, he clarifies, but the fact that you’re keeping the bar close enough to your shins shows that you’re in the right position.

    If you start with the barbell too far away from you, youre giving yourself a poor line of pull, he says. And that puts more of a strain on your lower back. It can also take away from engaging your hamstrings and glutes, which should be the major players in the lift.

    So where should the barbell be when you start? Remember this easy cue: Start with the barbell like youre going to cut your feet in half, Gentilcore says. So it should be right over mid foot.

    Beginning the lift with the bar closer to you also makes it more efficientit requires less work to get the bar from Point A to Point B.

    As for the bleeding shins? Simply wear high socks or sweatpants to protect your legs, Gentilcore says.

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    Overloading Issue With Deadlifts

    Exploring the boundaries with deadlift exercises is pretty popular today, and it makes it easy to overload muscles and experience muscle soreness or pain afterward.

    Rushing into one max repetition is not an easy journey, especially for beginners.

    On the other hand, training at a submaximal level over a long period will constantly provoke back muscle soreness regardless of good technique or proper muscle activation. Advanced weightlifters make this mistake often.

    Deadlifts are a great exercise because of various muscle activation, but sometimes it is hard to combine deadlifts with another exercise such as the squat.

    It becomes easy to overtrain muscles in the lower back or hip and experience back muscle soreness.

    Deadlift Mistake: You Focus On Pulling The Weight Up

    Waitdeadlifting is a pull move, isnt it? Thats true, but thinking about it as a simple pull can put your body in a dangerous position that can leave your back at risk.

    If they initiate it as a pull, I see their hips come up too fast or their hips come up first, Gentilcore says. The hips and shoulder should be moving at the same time.

    Instead, its very much a pushing exercise, toothink about putting force in the ground through your feet, pushing yourself away from the ground as you pull the barbell up and back, he says.

    Shannon agrees. “The initial lift requires force driven into the ground vertically through activation primarily of the quadriceps muscles,” he says. “Remember to apply and drive as much vertical force into the ground as you can, while letting the bar glide over your shins. Your spine is still neutral with your trunk in a forward leaning position.”

    If you think more about pulling, youre missing out on that tension, which gives your back the opportunity to round. Cue the back pain.

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