Why do deadlifts hurt my lower back? What is the best way to deadlift without injuring your lower back?

Your body will react and respond as you move large weights in multi-joint exercises like deadlifts. Your muscles will develop in size as a result of hypertrophy, which is the process by which your cells respond to stimuli and enlarge.

As your muscles adapt to repetitive stimulus, you’ll become stronger, especially if you’re aiming to gradually challenge them to take on larger weights. If you’re just getting started, you’ll develop powerful brain adaptations that will be crucial to your success.

However, some bodily responses to large exercises, particularly deadlifts, may not be to your liking. The worst-case scenario is an injury if you lift with inadequate form.

Why do deadlifts hurt my lower back
Why do deadlifts hurt my lower back

These can be avoided by lifting safely, with good technique and weight that you can handle. Muscle discomfort or even pain, especially in the back, is a lot more frequent occurrence even if you use generally proper form.

Your Back Isn’t Straight When You Deadlift

Your Back Isn’t Straight When You Deadlift

First and foremost, any excessive curvature or rounding of your spine, particularly in your lower back, should be avoided. This isn’t a bending-over-and-lifting-up exercise, and if you reinforce negative habits with small weight, you’ll suffer the price later.

Shannon suggests moving as though you have a straight rod running down your spine. He explains, “We want our spine to be as straight and strong as that dowel rod.”

Maintaining a focus on your front is a surprising component to this method. “When deadlifting, don’t forget to activate your core muscles,” he recommends, adding that you should keep them engaged throughout the motion.

“This is also true for the eccentric component of the lift. If you don’t approach the eccentric portion of the lift with the same expertise and attention as the concentric, your technical proficiency will be useless.”

You Don’t Fire Up Your Lats When Deadlifting

You Don’t Fire Up Your Lats When Deadlifting

Your lats are the largest muscle in your back, reaching from the humerus in your upper arm all the way down to your pelvis.

“It stands to reason,” Gentilcore adds, “that they’ll be providing a lot of stability to the spine and upper back merely to maintain it in position when you’re deadlifting.”

The solution is simple: “Pretend you’re trying to squeeze an orange or a sponge in your armpit.” “If you do that, it will cause that area to fire,” Gentilcore explains. “I can tap my clients’ lats while standing behind them, and you can feel them on—they’re not soft.” Maintain the level of engagement throughout the lift’s setup and execution.

You Begin the Deadlift with the Bar Too Far Away

You Begin the Deadlift with the Bar Too Far Away

One of the most common deadlifting blunders that causes back pain is starting with the barbell too far away from your body, according to Gentilcore.

“I frequently hear people complain, ‘Oh, when I deadlift, my shins bleed.’ ‘What am I doing incorrectly?’ “I say ‘Nothing,'” Gentilcore says. Okay, he clarifies, it’s not that you want to get hurt, but the fact that you’re maintaining the bar near enough to your shins indicates that you’re in the correct posture.

You’ll have a bad line of pull if you start with the barbell too far away from you, he explains. As a result, your lower back is put under extra stress. It can also prevent you from engaging your hamstrings and glutes, which are the most important muscles in the lift.

A common deadlift blunder is focusing solely on pulling the weight up.

A common deadlift blunder is focusing solely on pulling the weight up.

Wait, isn’t deadlifting a pull move? True, but viewing it as a simple pull might place your body in a perilous position, putting your back in jeopardy.

“I see their hips rise up too fast or their hips come up first if they initiate it as a pull,” Gentilcore explains. “At the same time, the hips and shoulders should be moving.”

Instead, he suggests thinking about putting energy into the ground through your feet and pushing yourself away from the ground while you draw the barbell up and back.

Shannon concurs. “The first lift necessitates vertical energy driven into the ground predominantly through quadriceps muscle activation,” he explains. “Remember to put as much vertical force as possible into the ground while allowing the bar to glide over your shins. Your spine is still neutral, and your trunk is bending forwards.”

If you focus on pulling instead of pushing, you’ll miss out on the tension that allows your back to round. Bring on the back agony.

You Ignore Your Abs When Deadlifting

You Ignore Your Abs When Deadlifting

According to both Gentilcore and Shannon, most guys do a pretty excellent job engaging their abs at the start of the exercise. It’s on the way down that it becomes an issue.

You might be tempted to let gravity take over and simply drop it from the top after your lift is over. Bad idea: Dropping the weight without control will throw your body out of alignment as you bend your shoulders downward, putting a lot of strain on your lower back and causing pain.

Keeping your abs — as well as your lats — engaged while gradually dropping the weight will aid. Brace your gut as if you’re about to take a punch before you lift. At the top, you can take a breath, but your abs must remain engaged.

What if your deadlifting soreness is only on one side?

What if your deadlifting soreness is only on one side?

You may be favouring one side of your body over the other when deadlifting if you only feel pain on one side of your back. Most people have a dominant side when it comes to musculature and strength, just like they have a dominant hand.

Overdoing it with your stronger side is a popular way to compensate for any deficit. If your form is deteriorating, train with a lighter weight that your entire body can tolerate. You can gradually work your way back up to heavier, more difficult weights.

What is the best way to deadlift without injuring your lower back?

Many people believe that getting lower back pain after deadlifting is just part of the deal. This is completely incorrect.

The greatest approach to avoid lower back pain while training is to maintain proper form throughout the deadlift motion:

What is the best way to deadlift without injuring your lower back?
  • Don’t raise your eyes to the sky. As you prepare to begin a deadlift, keep your head in a neutral position and your chin tucked. Your flat, straight back and spine should be in line with the back of your head.
  • Make sure your knees are lined with the middle of your feet and your shoulders are over the bar as you reach down for the barbell.
  • To ensure that your ribcage drops and your abs and obliques (also known as the anterior core) are engaged during the lift, exhale completely before lifting.
  • The deadlift is primarily a hip flexion exercise. As you hoist the weights and stand, shift your weight slightly back, then forwards. Learning how to properly hinge your hips will relieve pressure on your lower back while also providing a good exercise for your glutes, hamstrings, and calves.

After a deadlift, how can you get rid of lower back pain?

After a deadlift, how can you get rid of lower back pain?

So you tried your hardest to deadlift in perfect form, but your back still hurts. Don’t be concerned. Most likely, you’re just suffering from muscle soreness.

It’s not a quick treatment, but the best recipe for recuperation is time and relaxation. That implies you can’t deadlift again until the discomfort subsides. Even if you have a slight muscular strain, the pain will usually go away on its own after 12 weeks. Depending on the severity of the damage, discomfort could extend another week or two.

Apply ice to the hurting region of your back for 15 to 20 minutes every couple of hours for the first three days, then 15 to 20 minutes of a moist hot pack starting on the fourth day to reduce swelling and pain. Avoid heavy lifting and avoid bending your back.

If rest and icing don’t seem to be helping, see your doctor. They can evaluate you to see if there’s anything else wrong with you and prescribe the best course of action.

Don’t be frightened to move your body once you start to feel better. Excessive caution can backfire, making it more likely that your back pain will persist. Instead, concentrate on developing excellent form with minimal (or no) weight until you feel comfortable increasing your exertion.


Deadlifting can cause lower back problems, which are frequent but preventable. Maintaining a flat back and perfecting the deadlift’s hip-hinging motion are important aspects of deadlifting form that can help you stay safe.

If you have back pain after deadlifting, the recommended treatments are ice and rest. It takes several weeks to recover from deadlifting injuries to the lower back, but you may use that time to build stabilising muscles and prevent future injuries. However, if you’re experiencing acute, shooting back pain, see your doctor straight away.

And this article will help you answer the following questions about why do deadlifts hurt my lower back:

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Field John

If you are an avid believer in health and fitness and want to do something for your team, I can help. As the founder of Field Goals Fitness, I lead a collective of health and fitness professionals dedicated to helping Australians lead a more active and healthier lifestyle. With a warm, friendly, and supportive approach that gets results, I enjoy helping individuals & organisations achieve sustainable success with their health and fitness goals. Certifying as a Personal Trainer in 2009, was a turning point in my life. I had spent 14 years in the corporate world in Business Development roles and decided to take all that I had learnt in sales and marketing and start my own business.

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