4 Ways To Cure Deadlift Pain

January 31, 2011 by  
Filed under The Fitness Bug


Lets get one thing straight…

The deadlift is arguably the king of all back exercises.

Actually ill rephrase…

The deadlift IS the undisputed king of all back exercises!

However, it is not uncommon to hear about the deadlift being trash talked about, due to the lower back pain it has known to cause individuals. This may have happened to you too, even when you swear blind that you have been following correct form and technique for weeks on end.

Could it be that you don’t have the optimum physique to perform deadlifts at max capacity/ intensity?


Could it be that you have actually started to sacrifice good technique as you’ve increased the weight, without realizing it?

It could be that too.

There are indeed other reasons why you could be taking an injury beating from performing the deadlift. But the main focus point of the deadlift is that you are supposed to feel the pain in your upper back, and not your lower back. And the last thing you want to be doing is sacrificing your health just to grow big. Seriously… it’s not worth it.


I’m not here to talk about quitting exercises. Especially the ones that will get you those super gains. I’m here to show you what you can do to prevent, cure and substitute those exercises with. And in this case, the deadlift.

#1 Deload week (Go light)

This is what you’ll probably need to do, if you happen to be one of those whose lower back pain has ‘suddenly ‘ appeared out of nowhere. This is because you’ve probably been going ‘at it’ for 6 weeks or more.

Note: A 12 week program is usually best in most cases. It’s always good to take a breather after that period. Say a week or two, before getting back into the swing of things.

You can get the full scoop on the upcoming Stay-fit Bug strength progression program that’s coming in a few weeks below.

If that is the case, then it’s time to deload. Take a week off and then work in again lightly over the next week or two at about 60% intensity (higher volume).

#2 Perform an alternative exercise

Deadlift on a Hammer Strength shrug machine

This machine is actually designed for performing the shrug exercise. But you can use it as a machine to perform deadlifts on.

The benefits?

  1. You can concentrate on what you need to do and be more upright as it helps you take out the dangerous lower part of the deadlifting movement whilst still getting a good range of motion.
  2. You can load on the uber heavy weights without getting scared. Which is understandable when performing deadlifts with a free weight barbell.

#3 Strengthen your lower back

With stiff leg deadlifts

This exercise is geared towards working your hamstrings, glutes and lower back. And unlike normal deadlifts, you should indeed feel tension lower down your back and not your upper back. If you do suffer from pain from performing ordinary deadlifts, then this is an exercise that you should include as a core part of your program.


1) Isolation
2) Less explosive than ordinary deadlifts

Focus on this (While performing correctly) early on in your progression and you should indeed find that it helps quite a bit. But please.. do it right, otherwise you’ll just be back at square one. Pain central!

#4 Focus on good form

Last but not least (And probably should have been first). Focus on good form.

It’s a well known rule that you should be starting out with light weights. That’s with any exercise. But one reason you could be feeling pain in your lower back is due to performing the exercise with incorrect form… over a period of time. Don’t be a dumb meat head and shrug off pain, thinking your ego is all bad and that your body can ‘take it’. Taking pain for the sake of looking cool is the dumbest thing ever. Don’t do it.

Get someone to watch you perform the exercise to see if you are doing it right. Especially once you start lifting heavier weights. Or better yet, record yourself and make sure you tick all the boxes below.

Preparing for the Deadlift.

  1. Position the bar first, 2-4 inches away from your shins before attempting to lift. Don’t walk with the bar. Do so and something like this could happen.
  2. Hold the bar at Shoulder-width
  3. Point your toes outwards and curl them upwards. (Stability)
  4. On the way up, make a big chest & lift it up, and pull your shoulders backwards. Do this and your back will never ’round out’ on the way up.
  5. Look forward throughout the entire lift. It’s not just a psychological thing either. It really will prevent you from arching your back.
  6. Grip the bar with your fingers and not your palms. Start my allowing the bar to just sit in your fingers. Roll the bar in, close your hands and lift. Doing so will help prevent the formation of big calluses.
  7. Keep your arms locked and straight through the entire lift. Bend them and risk tearing a bicep.
  8. Lift with your hips and not your lower back. This is the critical part of the movement which will determine if you feel pain and cry, or continue to lift big and grow. The upper back is the target and where you should feel all of the tension.
  9. Keep the bar close to your shins on the way up. Move your hips first before bending your knees and you won’t risk scraping them.
  10. Squeeze you glutes. Bring your hips forward by pushing from the heels & squeezing your glutes . This too will help prevent lower back pain as it stops you from pulling with your lower back.

There’ll be a more detailed video version of this upon the launch of the new program, so make sure you enter your email address below to get the full scoop.

To conclude

After all is said and done, the deadlift is still the champion back exercise. If pain has struck you, or if you have been afraid of even performing the exercise because of all the trash talk you hear about the exercise, then follow the above. And of course, keep an eye out for the upcoming program.

See you in the comments

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