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Deadlifts and Back Pain

With the deadlifts on Wednesday and then the dumbbell power cleans on Thursday, a small number of you are still having pain when moving around in the morning today. Being sore is okay, but pain isn’t. For example: When you do a lot of squats, your glutes and quads are sore the next day. But they aren’t injured. Deadlifts shouldn’t be any different. Your hamstrings and back should be sore the next day, but they shouldn’t be in pain. There are two explanations as to why you are probably feeling this way the day after you deadlift: (1) your reaching for the ground when cycling reps or (2) you’re initiating the pull with your quads. Excessive Low-Back Flexion Some rounding in the back is okay, as long as you remain braced. But excessive flexion in the back will cause back pain. But how much rounding is too much? The PVC Hip Hinge test will tell you. As you will see in the video below, the PVC should maintain three points of contact with the body the entire lift (low back/butt, upper back, and head). When I begin to reach for the floor to cycle deadlift reps together, my mid-back breaks the last point of contact with my low-back. Take the PVC Hip Hinge Test on your own and strive to maintain all three points of contact throughout the entire lift. Pulling with the Quads The other fault that causes low back pain is trying to squat the deadlift. While the sumo deadlift technique simulates this to a degree, initiating the deadlift with your quads pushes your knees out. And when your knees are too far out, the bar can no longer travel in a straight path. I describe this in detail, as well as the low-back flexion fault, in this video.


Don’t let deadlifts scare you–they used to scare me. But taking a few steps back to relearn the deadlift will allow you to approach these workouts in the future with confidence. You will continue to feel sore the next day. But no more pain! Tyler WOD “Diane” 21-15-9 reps For Time: Deadlifts (moderate weight) Handstand Push-Ups

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