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Thread: Deadlift, sore lower back

  1. #1
    Senior Member RebelDogg's Avatar
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    May 2010
    Metairie, La, USA

    Deadlift, sore lower back

    Hey, apologies if this has been brought up before. I did search and found a ton on deadlifting and back pain, but not this specific question. Although it's possible I missed it, I'm getting too close to bed time.

    Anyway, I just bought a barbell this weekend. Prior to this (two weeks) I was doing my deadlifts with a short triceps bar and only 136 lbs on it. Not very challenging and I'm sure that due to having to keep my hands close together my form wasn't proper. I guess closer to a sumo deadlift. Now that I have the barbell, I'm able to do them with (I hope) proper form and have increased the weight to 210 lbs. I want much more, but need to buy more plates. So I'm doing this 15 reps x 3 sets. I usually need a 30 second breather after the 10th rep and maybe a second breather after that. Then I space about two minutes with stretching and hit the next set.

    When I was using the triceps bar to do this movement, the first night after I did it I woke up in the middle of the night with a shocking pain going from my lower back up into my shoulder blades. Lasted a few minutes, but then I was fine. No more pain. The second week, I just had a stiffness in my back immediately after my workout, but the next day no issues really.

    Tonight I used the barbell with the greater weight for the first time. I notice now a stiffness, not pain exactly, in my lower back. It's not really bad, but I'm just wondering if this is normal? I'm worried mostly because I've injured my back more than once at work from lifting too much improperly. Having back pain hinders my ability to perform my job, which involves heavy and awkward lifting, so I need to be careful.

    Does everyone's back stiffen up after deadlifts? Could it be bad form? Too many reps? Just a need to get used to it? I'd just like to know before I either give up on what could be a useful exercise or continue what could lead to a serious back injury.

    Oh, and I wanted to add this: I've read both that the bar should be mid-shin and that it's better for the bar to be lower to increase range of motion. Seems like less stress on the back if the bar is higher, but at the sacrifice of effectiveness of the exercise. Is this an issue? I'm doing it with smaller plates (25's, 10's, and 5's) until I can afford to get some bigger ones.


  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    It's possible you tweaked it, but it sounds like just some muscle soreness to me. You should be able to tell the difference between DOMS and a legitimate injury if you've been training for a while, so I leave that to you.

    Standard plate diameter is 450mm. Lifting with smaller plates than this tends to make the pulling position somewhat awkward, harder to assume, and will probably make you more prone to injury if you're just learning. Put something under the plates to raise them up to proper height.

  3. #3
    big on TONING dynamo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Cockeysville, MD
    First off I would say what you describe is normal. I just started lifting last week after being off for a few months. First thing I noticed was my lower back was stiff afterwards but it was normal for me, and the next day it was some serious DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) but after I ran and got some stretching in I felt way better. Just keep stretching (back, and hips with respect to deads) and listen to your body, I am sure you will absolutely know when its not growing pains and is actually injury pains.

    Secondly, the smaller plates are way better, increasing your ROM is great, it forces you to stay flexible and increases your strength. I am sure if you do the same weight you're doing right now but with 45 lbs plates it will seem like childs play.
    My journal
    400(335) Bench Press
    600(520x3 2xBW) Dead Lift
    500(495x1) ATG Squat
    Total: 1500(1350)
    365 Front Squat
    consistency and intensity.

  4. #4
    Senior Member RebelDogg's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Metairie, La, USA
    Hey, thanks for the replies. Yeah, I was unsure if it was DOMS because of the whole "delayed" part of it. I mean, the stiffness was pretty much as soon as I was done. Whereas with my legs (quads) or pecs I never have problems until the next day or two.

    But I did just get a sharp little surprise when I bent kinda sideways to pet the dog. But nothing serious.

  5. #5
    Soon to be lean... Joe Black's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2000
    Cambridge, England
    RebelDogg, be careful because it could be that this is something more serious than DOMS.

    Sounds like you are wanting to progress very quickly and putting the weight on the bar too quickly, combined with some incorrect form (deadlift form is actually reasonably tricky to nail due to most peoples less than perfect mobility) and you could end up with a much more serious and painful pain.

    Just take things steady and be patience with the increases. Your body needs some time to adapt to lifting heavier weight and it would also be useful if you could post a video fo you deadlifting so we can see your form

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  6. #6
    Senior Member RebelDogg's Avatar
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    May 2010
    Metairie, La, USA
    Thanks, Daniel. As far as the weight, I just always heard if you can get it up more than 6 or 8 times, it's too light which is why I maxed the bar out with what I had. Still think I can add more, but I don't want to play with my back. I may hold off on doing this every week. I've watched video of people doing the deadlift and tried to mimic form, but without being able to see myself, I may not be doing it as correctly as I think, so the video is a good idea. I may try that next week.

    Although that means I'll have to wear clothes for my workout... bummer...

  7. #7
    The Flyfisher rbtrout's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    So. Cal.
    If you can get some one to video you from the front and the side, you'll learn quite a bit from watching it.
    I agree with Daniel on this one, take it slow and easy and make sure your form is dead-nuts on.

    My back will be a bit sore after heavy deads for a few days, but it's doms, not something bad. Be careful.
    Give chalk a chance.

    49 years old

    665 squat
    700 deadlift
    325 bench

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