Back Pain From Deadlifts? Stop squeezing your bum at the top.
Back Pain after Deadlifting:
So you’ve stopped deadlifting or seriously considering giving it up because that night or the next day your back gets tight and you get band like pain across the tops of the hips. Have You ever been told to squeeze your bum at the top of a deadlift?
Something we hear a lot of in clinic is: “should I be squeezing their bum at the top lift to “finish off” the movement”. I bet you didn’t even realise that this simple cue could be the reason you get back pain from deadlifts.
Your hips and lower back are the main muscles that are getting a workout when you deadlift (if you are doing them properly, it should be a whole body exercises, but to keep things simple in the article we will focus on these 2). The deadlift in supposed to be a hip hinge movement
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Anatomy Of The Hip:
Muscles of the Hip, Organised According to Primary or Secondary Actions*
*Each action assumes a muscle is fully activated from the anatomic position. Several of these muscles may have a different action when they are activated outside of this reference position.
Compensations Leading To Back Pain after Deadlifting:
When your Quads restrict your hip extension and you squeeze your bum at the top of the deadlift, your hips are unable to extend fully and you make up for this lack of motion by using your deep hip external rotators.
This increase in hip external rotation is most noticeable when you look down at your feet and see one foot rotates out to the side, or when both feet rotate out to the side (duck feet).
The tighter the fronts of your hips are, the more compensations (external rotation of your leg) you will need to make to stand upright (Fix Your Tight hips here). First you will start by externally rotating your leg and foot, and when this no longer works, you will start over extending your lower back and tilting your pelvis forward (anterior pelvic tilt). Therefore you are placing more stress on your lower back then it is capable of handling, this is a common cause of lower back pain after deadlifting
The proper cues:
- Squeeze bum to initiate movement
- Tuck pelvis under
- Stand up tall
So now you know not to squeeze your bum at the top of the deadlift its time to release off that tight lower back. You can Stretch out your hamstrings using this Wall Stretch, and then work on your deadlifting technique here. Then once you’re nailing your deadlifts it is time to move onto the other Fundamental movement patterns you need to be training.