If you perform deadlift correctly, it will help you increase your core strength and other muscles. While performing with incorrect form may feel like a very heavy load on your lower back.
That improper form can cause a painful sprain or strain. So, it becomes essential for you to know how to relieve your back pain, correctly perform the deadlift, and what mistakes to avoid.
Table of Contents
Is It A Sprain Or A Strain
If you feel pain or muscle soreness after deadlifts in your back, how do you know it is a sprain or a strain.
When your ligaments are torn, that’s a sprain. When your muscle fibers are too stretched or torn, that’s a strain. You may experience excessive lower back pain, decrease in mobility, stiffness, and muscle spasms in both conditions.
Back Pain And Soreness After Deadlifts
Do you remember the kind of pain and soreness you felt in the initial few weeks of your gymming journey? It felt terrific, right? That soreness was telling you that you did something powerful.
You must have also felt that pain and soreness when you changed your workout or did something new. It does feel perfect.
The scientific term in use for this pain or soreness is Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness(DOMS). It occurs most of the time when you:
- Do something different than regular. A new exercise or a whole new workout. (novel stimulus)
- Performing exercises with more repetitions and giving your muscles a significant extra load than what you do regularly. (muscle damage)
So, if you feel soreness after you have done a deadlift the previous day for the first time, that is not a genuine concern as it happens with almost everyone when they deadlift for the first time or after a long gap.
Nothing to worry about, your body will soon adapt itself to the changes, and you will be alright.
BUT, if you are facing consistent back pain for a long time(months) after your deadlifts, there is something you need to be concerned about.
Where Is Your Back Sore After Deadlifts
We get three portions after dividing your back with fundamental terminology: the lower back, the mid, and the upper back.
The upper back would be the area in and around your shoulder blades, the lower would be the one slightly above your tailbone, and the space in between these two is the middle back.
When you deadlift, you might feel soreness in all three parts, but if you have been doing deadlifts for a long time and still experiencing pain in the lower back, you need to look out for issues because this is not normal.
First things first, correct your form and optimize your programming. Take the help of a personal trainer; he will guide you the right way to do deadlifts.
How To Heal
No matter the cause of your lower back pain is a sprain or a strain, the only thing you can do is to wait. There will be too much pain in the initial window of 48 to 72 hours.
The pain will decrease gradually, and you will be alright within a week or a two.
Common things you can do is applying an ice pack for 15-20 mins for the first three days. Then going for a hot pack for 15-20 mins from the fourth day. Make sure you are not indulging in any physical activity if you do not want to extend your resting period.
Exercises After Injury
If you have got the injury, go for the basics and do not involve yourself in intense workouts. For an easy start, you can perform abdominal draw-in maneuvers, dead bugs, glute squeezes, bridge exercises, and pelvic tilts.
When You Are Ready To Deadlift Again
The most common reason for lower back complications is not performing the deadlift correctly. You can avoid 99% of your muscle complications if you do your workout in the correct form.
How To Do A Deadlift Correctly?
For a perfect deadlift, follow this procedure:
- The starting stance is such that the center of your feet is directly below the deadlift bar.
- While holding the bar, your arms must be vertical, in a way perpendicular to the floor you are standing on. Your shoulder blades have to be above the bar.
- Keeping the chest out and the back straight, begin your deadlift by slowly extending your legs. Focus on exerting the pressure through your heels and not giving your back a hard time.
- When the bar is around your shin area(slightly below your knees), keep lifting the bar by pushing your hip forward.
- In this way, you will end up in an upright standing position
- In the end, complete your lift by squeezing your gluteal muscles and shoulder blades backward.
Follow the above steps in reverse order to put your deadlift bar back on the ground.
Common Deadlift Mistakes That Can Lead To Back Pain
There is a reason this exercise is called Deadlift. The injuries you might incur are of that extensive level that we call “Deadlift.” So, it gets essential to perform this exercise with proper form and technique.
Below are the common mistakes which you should avoid while doing your deadlift workouts:
#1. Deadlift Mistake: Your Back Is Rounding
As we said earlier, you should also refrain from rounding your back, or it might cause an injury. Rounding your back makes all the pressure come at your lower back. (The repercussions might be severe)
Also, you must have heard that deadlift works several muscles at one time, including your lats, traps, glutes, hamstrings, erectors, abdominals, abs, quadriceps, rhomboids, and adductor Magnus.
The deadlift is an exercise that requires an excellent form to prevent injury. If you are not careful, the deadlift can lead to potential damages to your lower back. One mistake that can lead to back injuries is if your back isn’t straight.
The muscles in your lower back are not designed to do all the work when you are lifting. When the back muscles are not engaged, you are putting a strain on the discs in your lower back, leading to severe injuries.
You should always ensure that you are using the proper form when lifting weights. To protect your back, ensure that you keep your back straight, use good form and technique on the deadlift,
I’m sure you would not like to get hurt just because of a silly mistake.
#2. Deadlift Mistake: You Don’t Fire Up Your Lats
Another common deadlift mistake is that people do not fully engage their lats when doing the Deadlift. This will prevent you from fully completing the Deadlift and will limit the weight that you can lift.
By engaging your lats, you will be able to lift more weight, which will result in more significant strength gains. Here are three ways to engage your lats when doing your next Deadlift.
- First, it’s important to be in the right position. To do this, you should think about bringing your shoulder blades together while engaging your abs.
- Next, it’s important to think about pulling the bar towards you while bringing your elbows back. Straighten your legs while keeping the back straight and your chest out.
- Finally, it’s about to stand in the upright position while the bar being just below your waistline(your arms should be stretched fully).
You may not realize it, but your lats, or your back muscles, are actually crucial to your deadlift. When you’re performing a deadlift, your lats need to fire up to activate.
This powers your movement and helps you keep a straight and proper form. Have you ever tried doing a deadlift without firing up your lats?
Your back is rounded and the momentum of your movement is not as strong as it could be.
#3. Deadlift Mistake: Bar Is Too Far Away From The Body
It is an excellent exercise for those who are looking to develop their “lower-body” and improve their general strength. The deadlift is simple, straightforward and one of the most efficient and effective exercises you can do.
However, if you start with the bar too far away, you will find it difficult to keep your balance and pull up. This is because your legs and backside will be too far away from the bar and you will be unable to start with enough momentum to finish the lift.
Thus, it is advised that you start with the bar as close as it can be.
Don’t worry if you had been doing this before, just make sure you don’t do it again. This is a common mistake many beginners commit. They have the barbell set up way too far from them, so they have to lean back a lot, which puts a lot of strain on the lower back.
To stop this from happening, you should have the barbell close to you so that you can have a straight back, and balance the weight on your toes, not your heels.
#4. Deadlift Mistake: You Don’t Bend Your Knees Enough
Deadlifting with your knees too bent will result in having your knees too close to your stomach which is putting more pressure on them. Preventing this mistake will allow for proper deadlifts by being able to maintain a firm grip on the barbell.
The Deadlift Mistake of not bending your knees enough can also result in you not being able to keep your back straight, making it hard to engage the deep muscles of the core. Bent knees also decrease the range of motion of the lift, limiting the weight that can be lifted without compromising form.
Many beginners are not aware that bending your knees is necessary for a proper Deadlift. If you do not bend your knees you will strain your back and be more prone to injury.
By bending your knees you keep the gravitational weight of the bar close to your body so your back muscles are not being used as much. You will be able to Deadlift more weight and have a decreased risk of back pain.
#5. Deadlift Mistake: You Focus on Pulling the Weight Up
Many make the mistake of focusing too much on pulling the weight up and not enough on the actual movement itself; this can be a major cause of injury.
It is important to keep in mind that the process of lifting the weight up is actually the result of the movement, not the movement itself. Focusing on what your body is doing will help you better perform the desired movement and avoid injury.
You should be focusing on pushing your hips back. By focusing too much on the pull, you are losing momentum in the exercise. The best thing you can do is keep your back tight, hinge back, and focus on driving through your legs.
#6. Deadlift Mistake: You Overextend at the Top of the Lift
Overextending at the top of the lift can be a very foolish and damaging decision. It can strain your back muscles and can also cause you to drop weight. If you want to keep yourself safe and your back healthy, make sure you don’t overextend.
The deadlift is a complex movement, and there are a lot of things a lifter needs to focus on. One thing a lifter needs to be careful of is going too deep on the concentric phase of the deadlift, which means that their hips end up going past the bar. This will result in “overturning,” and it’s a risk for hyperextension and injury.
Overextending will put extra stress on your lower back, which can lead to injury. To prevent overextending, aim to keep your back straight. Keep your head, chest, and shoulders up.
#7. Deadlift Mistake: You Ignore Your Abs
One of the most common deadlift mistakes is not paying attention to your abdominal muscles. This is because the rectus abdominis, which is your six-pack muscles, needs to be engaged for an effective deadlift.
What’s the big deal about engaging your abdominals?
One, it helps you keep all your weight in your heels. Two, it helps you to keep the bar locked in tight to your body while you’re pulling up. Three, it can help you prevent injuries to your lower back and spine.
No matter what type or how much you lift, you should be careful to maintain a strong, flat back and tight core. This not only prevents injury but also helps you find the correct posture and keep your back straight.
Whether you’re a Crossfit athlete or a strength trainee, you’ll see that most workouts for improving your performance will include the Deadlift.
With that, your abdominals and back muscles need to be engaged to help you get the most out of the exercise. This is not only true for Deadlifts, but for any type of lifting. Without engaging your core and back muscles, you won’t get the most out of the workout.
- DO NOT ROUND YOUR BACK – Sometimes, many people do indulge in ego lifting and show-offs. They forget to keep their back straight and chest out, therefore face the repercussions.
- COVER YOUR SHINS – Many tend to keep the deadlift bar far away from their body to avoid the bar touching their legs repetitively. They injure their lower backs this way. You can avoid this by wearing long pants or getting yourself a shin guard.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is It Normal To Have Back Pain After Deadlifts?
You can find a recent survey by the NASM which has some interesting takeaways. There are a variety of factors that can influence back pain and its severity. The survey also shows that the most common cause of back pain and discomfort is poor form and posture.
It’s either the lack of proper training or the lack of knowledge about the basics of good posture and exercise form. That’s why it is imperative to focus on proper form and posture to avoid back injuries and possible long-term pain.
Oftentimes, people will experience pain or discomfort after lifting weights. The increased muscle soreness experienced after lifting weights is not only due to muscle tissue damage but also due to muscle fibers repairing themselves.
The pain or discomfort that occurs after lifting weights could very well be due to muscle fibers pulling too hard, too fast, or too often. This type of injury is also known as delayed-onset muscle soreness (or DOMS).
You can also try having someone assist by giving you feedback during your set. Another option is to have a professional teach you the proper way of doing the exercise.
Are Deadlifts Really Bad For Your Back?
Deadlifts are not bad for your back. They strengthen the muscles on the front of your spine, which is more vulnerable to injury. While it is true that deadlifts can lead to some back pain, it is often because of failing to adjust the weight to the person’s ability.
If you are new to deadlifts or are injured, it is highly recommended that you start with light weights. It is because of this that many people believe that deadlifts are bad for your back because they think that they are putting extra pressure on the back.
However, deadlifting is actually really good for your back because it strengthens the lower back, glutes, and hamstrings. It is also effective for the upper back as it will help with your posture.
Furthermore, one of the best things about deadlifting is that it doesn’t require a lot of equipment so you can do them anywhere. The average person is misguided when they think that their back is delicate and that they should avoid doing any heavy lifting.
This becomes the most common excuse for not getting into shape. However, with proper position and technique, it’s not uncommon for people to pursue weight lifting with their backs.
The back is not as frail as people make it seem, but this isn’t an excuse to live with an unhealthy spine. Weight lifting protocol recommends keeping the back straight, not bent, by keeping the weights as close as possible to one’s feet.
And if someone has a herniated disk, they may still do deadlifting as long as they make the effort to have proper technique. Please don’t squeeze the back; keep it loose.
How Do I Relieve Lower Back Pain After Deadlifts?
After a deadlift, the first recommendation for a lower back pain reliever is to sleep with a pillow between your knees or sleep with your knees elevated. Another recommendation is to have a hot bath with Epsom salt.
In this scenario, it is recommended to stay in the bath long enough for the water to cool off as too much heat may cause you discomfort as well. Another thing that you can do is to have a massage from a professional.
The goal of a massage is to relieve your muscles from the tension they were in and to ease up after the workout.
A common problem with doing deadlifts is that they can cause lower back pain. There are multiple ways to try and relieve this pain. Take frequent rest breaks during your workouts to allow your muscles to rest and recover.
It is also helpful to stretch the muscles around the lower back. Be sure to avoid prolonged periods of sitting or standing with your hips flexed, or arching your lower back.
Are Deadlifts Good For Lower Back Pain?
Contrary to the belief that deadlifts will worsen back pain, this exercise can actually help relieve pain in your lower back
Some experts believe that lifting heavy weights with heavy exertion can aggravate lower back pain. However, some experts believe that deadlifting is not only one of the safest exercises but may also be one of the best exercises for lower back pain.
Deadlifting is a form of weightlifting that is practiced by many people with lower back pain and has been shown to be an effective cure for lower back pain.
Strength training, which is the primary activity of the deadlift, has been shown to increase muscular strength and endurance which can not only relieve pain but improve posture and chronic pain problems.
What To Do If Your Back Hurts After Deadlifts?
To someone who is not used to deadlifting with heavyweights, the back can hurt. If this is happening to you, there are three things that you can do to help with the pain.
- Nature’s Horsetail: This supplement is made from the horsetail plant, which is known for helping with inflammation.
- Lacrosse Ball: The lacrosse ball can be placed in the back muscles where you are feeling the most pain, so it can massage the area.
- Foam Roller: It is possible to have too much tension in the muscles of the back. This can result in more pain. A foam roller can help you combat this problem.
It’s unfortunate when your back hurts after a workout. Preventative measures are the best remedies for this pain.
One of the best things you can do is engage in a good warm-up before you do your workout. This will help prevent any injuries, and will also help your muscles be looser and warmed up.
Perform a few minutes of stretching before a workout, and a few minutes of stretching after a workout to keep your back healthy. You don’t have to stretch the spine, just the muscles that have been worked out.
Perform a few minutes on the foam roller to get the kinks out of your muscles. An easy way to do this is using a yoga block.
How Do You Stretch Your Back After Deadlifts?
It is important to stretch out your back muscles after deadlifting. If you do not, you risk injuring or hurting your back. The two major areas to pay attention to are the hamstrings and the lower back.
It is important to hold each stretch for about 30 seconds. For the hamstrings, grab your foot and pull it towards your butt. For the lower back, lie on your stomach, grab the back of your calf, and pull it to your butt. Hold for 30 seconds.
Other good ways to stretch your back after deadlifts include doing bent-knee chest-opening stretches that incorporate the barbell, like the cow-catcher exercise, or the straight-legs chest-opening stretch.
Another alternative is to use a foam roller to massage the muscles in your back. One way to help relieve tension in your back after deadlifts is to do some chest opening exercises.
If you do not feel any relief after these stretches, visiting your physician should be your next step.
How Should My Back Feel After Deadlift?
The back should feel good and tight after a deadlift. Imagine your back is a tight rope and you are trying to balance. The back should be straight and not arched. If you arched then you will feel a pain in the back of your leg. Deadlifts are good for the back if done the right way.
Therefore, a person’s back should be feeling strong and well supported after deadlifting. The back should feel warm, not sore or strained. Your back should not feel any pain or discomfort after you have completed this exercise.
You should not strain your back during this movement. This is due to the weight is so heavy, which helps reduce the strain on the back muscles.