Deadlifts are an excellent compound weight training exercise that works out many muscle groups. It works out your core and other muscles in your legs if you perform it properly. However, improper execution can cause unnecessary strain and even lead to back pain.
The right lifting technique can keep your back muscles in good shape. We address whether it is normal to have lower back pain after deadlifts in the first place. Read ahead as we also discuss how you can stop your lower back from hurting when you deadlift.
Is It Normal to Have Back Soreness After Deadlift?
There is a difference between back soreness and lower back pain. Here is what you should know about the two to figure out if they are normal.
Having Back Pain After Deadlifts
You may experience a bout of pain after your deadlifting session. You may have woken up in the morning to experience a sharp pain in the low back area. This is not the normal aftermath of performing deadlifts.
If the back pain is severe enough to make movement difficult, you should make sure to address it right away. In most cases, it may not be a serious issue. However, there are a few checks you should do when you feel pain.
See if you have blurry vision, a severe headache, or even loss of vision. You may also find it difficult to control your bladder or bowel. Other checks you can do are to see if there is a shooting pain that travels down your legs. These may indicate that there is an underlying condition in your body that is causing the pain.
You may also notice some changes in the way your genital areas feel after a deadlift. If you suffer from any of these, you will consult your doctor right away. If not, there is no need to worry.
The pain you feel will likely fade away in about 6 weeks.
Having Back Soreness After Deadlifts
Once you have a deadlift session, you may notice mild to intense muscle soreness. This is normal after every weight lifting session and may happen with any other exercises you perform. For instance, it may occur after a session of the bench press that involves repeated movement.
This is the kind of soreness after exercise that many people find feels good. In technical terms, this is called Delayed Onset of Muscle Soreness (DOMS). It may occur because of two things. You may have performed a movement that puts weight or strain or stretched muscle repeatedly.
On the other hand, you may have also performed an exercise or engaged in a new movement. If you feel that your back is sore after a deadlift session, it is likely because of this reason. The cause may be that you tried a new exercise.
If you are new to deadlifts and are facing this soreness, you do not need to worry. Continue deadlifting, and your low back will stop being sore. However, if you face muscle soreness in your lower back after deadlifting for more than a month, it may cause concern.
Consistent soreness in the lower back area is not normal. You will have to fix your form while deadlifting to make the sore muscle groups get better.
Deadlifting Mistakes that Can Lead to Lower Back Pain and Soreness
A few mistakes in form while deadlifting can lead to a sore lower back and even back injury. Incorrect posture can also affect the hips, spine, shoulder blades, and other areas of your body.
Read ahead to know the common mistakes to avoid to prevent your lower back from hurting after deadlifting.
1. You Don’t Keep Your Back Straight
People often perform deadlifts with this common mistake. They may have an excessively curved lower back while they practice the deadlift. This is one of the form technique tips that has to be paid attention to in the beginning.
Repeated bad technique can become a habit that is difficult to reverse over time. You can workout thinking that you have a straight rod attached to your spine. Activate your core muscles and keep your back straight when you deadlift.
2. The Bar is Too Far From You
Do not begin your deadlifts by keeping the bar too far from you. This can lead to injury and discomfort in the long run. You should keep the bar close to your shins and leave a bit of distance to prevent the bar from scratching your shins.
The reason for this is that it gives you a good line of pull. This is one of the things that can help you prevent strain on your lower back. Further, your glutes and hamstring muscles will also not be engaged well as the exercise demands.
Place the barbell in a way that your feet are halved on either side of the bar. This is a good place to start.
3. You Don’t Engage Your Lats
The lats are the biggest muscle in your back area. A good deadlift is performed by engaging your lats through the routine. When you don’t engage your lats, you will be exerting force on your upper body and not uniformly through the back.
This will cause your back to assume a rounded position. One of the best tips to prevent back soreness by engaging your lats is to pretend to squeeze an object with your armpits. This will make you locate your lats. Once you do, you can engage them as you are deadlifting.
4. Not bending Your Knees Right
A deadlift that comes with no back pain needs to be performed by bending the knees. When you don’t bend your knees, you will perform the deadlift by bending t your waist instead. You will then use your lower back and hamstrings to perform the exercise.
5. Overextension at the Top
Many people end their deadlift with a hip thrust. This overextension is often accompanied by the belief that other muscle groups in their body will also be worked out. It would help if you pushed your hips slightly forward.
However, ensure that you do not overextend your back in the process. When you are doing this, the pressure is placed on the lower back. Avoid this and end the deadlift by squeezing your glutes at the top of the exercises and getting the whole range of motion.
6. Moving the Hip Alone
It would be best if you avoided this at all costs as it can be detrimental to your form. This happens when you treat a deadlift like one of the pulling up exercises. One of the tips is to know that the shoulder should move simultaneously with the hip.
Hence, you will be pushing against the ground at the same time as well. Your spine will be neutral, and your movement will be focused on pushing the ground away rather than pulling the bar up. This can help you avoid low back pain as well.
7. Don’t Ignore the Abs
You will have to engage your abs through the entire movement to keep your back from hurting. Most people manage to keep their abs engaged when they are lifting but falter when they place the barbell back on the ground.
This is important because you may underestimate the weight when you lower your body. This can lead to you hunching your shoulders and transferring pressure to your lower bag and spine in a manner that is not uniform.
Brace your abs and get the form just right.
You now know the mistakes you are committing that are why you may have pain across your back and spine. Simply taking care of your technique can eliminate this and lead to soreness only where it should be.
Healing After Deadlift Pack Pain or Soreness
Your lower back pain may be the result of a sprain or just soreness. Whatever the reason, you may suffer initial intense pain for about 48 to 72 hours. You will have to get through this time with patience, as most athletes do.
The pain from the deadlift exercises will give way to a discomforting feeling in your back over time. Be careful not to perform any movements that add pressure to your lower back at this point. It is a good idea to rest in your bed.
You can do a few things to ensure pain relief and reduce the symptoms of back pain. To begin with, you can apply ice to the injured area continuously for 20 to 25 minutes. You can do this every few hours during the first few hours. You should not be training at this point. All your efforts will not mean anything if you resume training.
From the fourth day onwards, you can apply a moist hot pack on the injured area. When you feel better and begin training again, make sure not to engage in excessive weightlifting with heavyweights and large volume.
Do not flex your spine too much either. If you do this, the injury may extend for much longer instead of healing.
Adding Deadlift to Your Workout Again
Deadlifting again after an injury may scare you. However, you can gradually get back to training. This time around, ensure to perform the deadlift perfectly and prevent any injuries from an improper execution of the workout.
Here is how you can perform it with good technique.
- Stand with your feet apart and ensure that the barbell bar is placed over the center of your feet.
- Get hold of the bar by holding it in an overhand stance. Keep your arms vertically above the bar and perpendicular to the ground beneath.
- Keep your back straight. With a slight bend in your knees, bend down and push your heels into the ground. Do not bend forward at the hips.
- Brace and engage your lats and your back. Pull the bar up to your shins. At this point, thrust slightly forward with your hips and squeeze your glutes. This is necessary to prevent any pressure or a sore back as you are training.
- You can now lower the bar to the ground and repeat the above steps in reverse. When you go down, make sure not to bend down at the hips again.
When you follow this deadlifting technique, you will prevent a sore back and even back pain in the long run. It will also help you get back to exercising after the symptoms from your previous pain have disappeared.
How Should You Warm Up for Deadlifts
One of the best ways to avoid back pain and sore body parts is by warming up well before beginning deadlifting. Here is what you can do to get your warmup right.
The First Warmup
By getting a general warm-up in, you will be able to increase your core body temperature. You can begin by doing some cardiovascular exercise. You could get some running, walking, or even biking done.
This is a good stimulus to your body, getting it into the mood for a workout. You can do this warmup for 15 minutes at a stretch. However, busy bees may find it difficult to get in the necessary 15 minutes of cardio. Hence, such guys can include 5 minutes.
This will help reduce stress when you deadlift.
Inner and Outer Thigh Warm-Up
You will need a foam roller for this. You can begin by placing the foam roller on your quads. If you find any tight spots, you can go ahead and massage them. Rub the foam roller on your inner thigh and outer thigh.
Go ahead and rub it just where you need it. If you like, you can place the foam roller on the floor. Get on all fours and extend your one leg backward, placing the foam roller just beneath your quads.
Move forwards and backward to get your thigh moving along the foam roller. This will loosen up any tight muscles and prevent them from getting sore. Use the foam roller on your hamstring as well. Use it on your glutes as well. You can then roll it over your lower back and the erect spine as well.
You can then perform a few stretches that involve dynamic movements. These exercises have to be repeated 15 to 20 times at once. You can go ahead and perform leg swings and similar exercises 15 to 20 times in a row.
You can also add lunges and leg cradles to this routine. If you like, you can use a resistance band to perform these exercises.
Cool Down For Back After Deadlifts
Stretching after a deadlift is very important to help your muscles cool down and recover faster. It can prevent a sore back after your deadlifting workouts. You can also go ahead and perform these after each weight lifting session.
Here are the routines you can follow.
Downward Facing Dog
This stretch will work on your lower back and cool the muscles down. It also works on your hips and hamstrings. These tend to be sore after a deadlift, and a downward-facing dog will help you recover quicker.
This is a great move as it helps stretch your low back to prevent any muscle soreness. Don’t bend more than your muscles can. Don’t push yourself too much. You can even go ahead and bend your knees when you stretch if you prefer. Perform it just until you can feel your low backstretch.
This stretch is excellent as it can cool your low back down. This stretch is perfect as it focuses on the lower back to help reduce back soreness and speed up recovery.
Lay down on your back and sit with your legs raised against a wall. This is good as it stretches the lower back out and helps speed up recovery and reduce any back pain after deadlifts. You can also perform these after any other weight lifting routines.
You can also go ahead and massage your legs and lower back with a foam roller as you did when you warmed up. Even if you are already suffering from back pain, this can be a great way to get the blood flowing and circulating.
It also improves tissue extensibility. It is a great option after weight lifting to release any knots in your muscles and relieve tension.
Resting After Deadlifts
Resting after deadlifts are as important as the warm-up and the cool-down. Begin by rehydrating yourself soon after your workouts. You should also eat a snack within 3o to 45 minutes of your workouts. Get a healthy snack that includes both carbohydrates and protein.
You can consume them in a ratio of 4:1 or even 3:1. Ensure that you don’t weight lift the same muscle group the next day. You should also get 8 hours of sleep after deadlifting workouts so that your muscles can recover.
The deadlift is an exercise that works out your posterior chain. Deadlifting is one of the exercises from weight lifting that promotes fat loss. It would help if you got your warm-up and cool-down routines in place before deadlifting. This will prevent any pain later and will help with muscle recovery as well.
Go ahead and stretch your lumbar spine and hip flexors as well. This will keep you away from any muscle soreness and will promote quick recovery as well.
I am Jessy Simon founder of Elite Healthy. I have completed a Master in Public Health Studies. I have always been interested in healthy ways of living. My journey towards achieving the fitness and health goals inspired me found Elite Healthy.