Stop Lower Back Pain from Deadlifts
One fine day several years ago I was walking out of my studio apartment in New York City.
I had been living there at that point for about eight years.
As I closed the heavy metal hunter green door common in New York City apartments, my lower back gave out.
I couldn’t walk, I could not stand up straight, I had to crawl back into my apartment and finally get up on the bed.
I did not know who to call for help.
Even though there are forty other heavy metal hunter green doors on the twentieth floor of my New York building in my neighborhood, unfortunately I had no clue who my neighbors were.
No fault of mine or of them, it is just how people live in New York City, long working hours, late nights at the office, eating out for the most part since the normal kitchen in my building is about the size of your average 5 foot desk.
Rarely do people meet each other at the same time other than in the morning elevator ride which is as silent as it is uncomfortable.
I had never experienced lower back pain like that in my life.
I had let myself, or actually helped myself with many oreos and ben & jerry heath bar crunches blow up to 255 pounds with a belly that went way before me whenever I entered a room.
I imagined that my obesity could be a factor in the stabbing pain in my back from just closing a door.
Fast forward several years and now I am at 180 pounds, about 75 pounds lighter and again I pulled my back a bit doing deadlifts.
In both cases, I threw out my back.
In the first case my lower back pain was from locking my front door, I know, pathetic.
In the second case, I had for the first time experienced lower back pain from deadlifts.
In the first case, it took me six months or more till I was able to walk, bend and get up without fear of my back feeling that pain again.
In the second, after a bit of discomfort of several days, I was back at deadlifting with more attention to best practices for proper deadlift form.
The deadlift helped me to get fit fast in only six months and not doing deadlifts is just not an option.
Can you experience lower back pain from deadlifts?
Can closing your door and reaching down to test that the knob is closed and locked cause lower back pain?
Yes to both.
You can throw out your back doing anything. The idea though is to build a stronger back and body in general with deadlift workouts.
The difference is that if you focus on doing the best proper form deadlifts possible, you will be much more resistant to experiencing lower back pain from deadlifts.
In addition, as you continue to deadlift with great form, you are going to get much stronger and fitter and keep melting the fat off of your body until you become the lean, fit person that you want to be.
You need to know how to prevent lower back pain from the deadlift and you need to know it before you do your next set of deadlifts.
Deadlifts done with proper form will make you stronger than you have ever been in your life, all over your body building muscles like a sheath of armor and protecting you from lower back pain.
What causes lower back pain from deadlifting?
The number one reason for lower back pain from deadlifts is bad form.
Bad form is your enemy.
Deadlifting with bad form is what puts you at risk for lower back pain and injury.
Here are the best practices to prevent deadlift lower back pain:
1. Prevent Deadlift Lower Back Pain with a Neutral Back
Do not round your back when deadlifting.
Do not arch your back when deadlifting.
Use a neutral straight excellent posture back when deadlifting.
Before you begin your deadlift, make sure that your back is neutral and that your head is neutral as well.
The neutral spine, also known as the neutral back is the position of the back when the relationships between the vertebrae are the same as when standing in normal anatomical position.
A neutral back is how to prevent lower back pain from deadlifts with correct posture.
2. Raise your Chest to Prevent Lower Back Pain from the Deadlift
To help keep your back neutral, when you are at the bottom of the deadlift position, before you begin your deadlift, raise your chest.
Do not round your shoulders and having your chest sunken.
Keep your chest up to avoid deadlift lower back pain.
3. Take a Deep Breath to Avoid Lower Back Pain when Deadlifting
Take a deep breath and tighten and strengthen your core muscles.
You cannot do deadlifts if your body is like jello, you have to be sturdy and solid in your core.
I have already made the mistake of not filling my belly with breath to help strengthen my core and I paid for it, so don’t be that man or woman who uses bad form which includes improper breathing.
Filling your belly with breath before you lift will help to prevent deadlift lower back pain.
4. Deadlift in Long Pants
Unless you have shin guards for deadlifting, better to wear long pants for your deadlift workout and not shorts.
Wearing long pants will give you more confidence to keep the bar close to your legs while you deadlift.
The farther the barbell is from you, the heavier the weight will be and the more risk for injury.
This is the reason that the trap bar deadlift has become so popular, because in the trap bar deadlift, you are right in the center of the weight to deadlift.
However, for the conventional deadlift, you want to keep the bar as close to your shins as possible.
Wearing long pants will help you to use proper form and prevent deadlift lower back pain.
5. Deadlift in High Socks to Protect your Shins
In addition to wearing long pants, get some excellent over the calf deadlifting socks to protect your shins.
Keeping the bar close to your shins will help to prevent lower back pain from deadlifting.
A simple but effective way to keep the bar against your shins is to wear deadlifting socks and long workout pants.
6. Push Your Hips Forward
Set up with the bar over the middle of your feet.
Your feet are a bit narrower than shoulder width so you have room for your arms to grab the barbell.
You grip the barbell about shoulder width.
You crouch down during the set up with your hips below your shoulders and your back neutral with chest up.
Your shoulders are straight above the barbell, not behind or ahead of the barbell.
Right before you begin the deadlift, you tighten your grip on the bar, take a deep breath, tighten your whole body.
Keep holding the breath while you start the deadlift.
The bar rises close to or right against your shins.
Since you are wearing over the calf socks or deadlifting socks as well as long pants, you are not going to hurt your shins.
As soon as the bar rises just above your knees, squeeze your buttocks and push your hips forward to straighten out your legs.
Moving your hips forward as soon as you can will help to prevent deadlift lower back pain by taking the stress of the weight off of your back.
7. Do Not Arch Your Back while or after Pushing your Hips Forward
When you straighten up by pushing your hips forward, do not push them so far forward that you end up hyper extending your back.
Do not arch your back, not at the beginning of the deadlift in set up position, nor at the end when you have stood up with the weight.
Keeping your back neutral throughout is the best insurance to avoid deadlift lower back pain.
Do not lean back or arch your back at the top of the deadlift.
8. Do Not Pull the Weight with your Arms, Deadlift with your Legs
A common mistake when deadlifting is trying to pull the weight up with your shoulders and arms.
Do not attempt to use your arms to lift the weight because you will then be putting major stress on your back and arms.
Instead use the most powerful and largest muscle group in your body, your legs to drive your deadlift.
Push your feet against the floor and push with your legs.
Use your leg strength to deadlift and you can save yourself from deadlift lower back pain.
9. Do Not Lift More Weight than You can Handle
This should be a no brainer to prevent deadlift lower back pain, but we all have egos.
Stay focused on gradually increasing your weight in the deadlift while always practicing best form possible.
If your ego seduces you to deadlift more weight than you can handle and you enter wreck your back, you are not going to be feeling or looking too strong to anyone.
You will be lucky enough if you can hobble around on your feet and just wait till when you sit down or you want to stand up, you will really feel weak!
This is no joke, increase your weight gradually, five pounds a session and when you feel really comfortable and strong, than increase your deadlift weight.
Even if you know you can handle the weight you are about to deadlift, if you do not warm up, you are inviting deadlift lower back pain into your life.
Run for five minutes, walk for twenty minutes, stretch, whatever is your normal warm up, do it.
Consider doing your deadlifts after squats.
A typical warm up of squats and three squat working sets will take about thiry minutes.
By that point your legs, body, back, will all be very warmed up for deadlifts.
10. Foam Roll to Prevent Deadlift Lower Back Pain
Foam rolling is an excellent alternative to getting a massage to help release muscle tension.
You can use a foam roller both before and after your workout and in both cases, you are going to increase the blood flow in the areas rolled and increase your range of motion.
Foam rolling is an effective tool to decrease your risk of injury as well as to promote recovery after a workout.
For self massage of the back using a foam roller, http://220triathlon.com recommends:
“Lie on your back over the foam roller. Cross your arms and keep the lower back dropped down. Roll, relaxing as much as possible, letting the back arch over the roller. Hold this position or roll to target the muscle at either side of the spine. Support the neck if you have any issues in this region.”
In summary, 10 simple and effective ways to prevent deadlift lower back pain from happening to you.
What other methods do you use when deadlifting to prevent you from hurting your back?
Additional Resources to Prevent Deadlift Lower Back Pain
7 Reasons Deadlifts Hurt Your Lower Back
Read more: http://stronglifts.com/deadlift/back-pain/
6 Steps to Heal Your Low Back Injury
Read more: http://breakingmuscle.com/health-medicine/6-steps-to-heal-your-low-back-injury
How I Fixed Lower Back Pain – A Look at Injuries, Biofeedback Training, and Deadlift Mastery
Read more: http://romanfitnesssystems.com/articles/how-i-fixed-lower-back-pain/
The Truth About Lower Back Pain From Deadlifts
Read more: http://leanmuscleproject.com/lower-back-pain-from-deadlifts/
STOP Injuring Your Lower Back When Deadlifting
View more: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZYhvrGMg47M
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