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A proper hip hinge is essential to make sure you don't get back pain from deadlifts

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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BACK PAIN NORTHERN BEACHES

Proper hip hinging is a must to make sure you don't get back pain after deadlifting

Anatomy Of The Hip:

The Quadriceps and hows they control your hips

The Quads

The gluteus medius is a major playing in lower back pain

Gluteus Medius Muscle

The Hamstrings and how they control your hips

The Hamstrings

How the Deep hip external rotators could be causing your lower back pain after deadlifting

The Deep Hip External Rotators

Muscles of the Hip, Organised According to Primary or Secondary Actions*

MusclesPrimarySecondary
Flexors
  •  Iliopsoas
  •  Adductor brevis
  •  Sartorius
  •  Gracilis
Rectus femoris
  •  Tensor fasciae latae
  •  Gluteus minimus (anterior fibers)
  •  Rectus femoris
  •  Adductor longus
  •  Pectineus
Extensors
  •  Gluteus maximus
  •  Gluteus medius (middle and posterior fibers)
  •  Adductor magnus (posterior head)
  •  Adductor magnus (anterior head)
  •  Biceps femoris (long head)
  •  Semitendinosus
  •  Semimembranosus
External rotators
  •  Gluteus maximus
  •  Posterior Fibres of Gluteus medius
  •  Posterior Fibres of Gluteus minimus
  •  Obturator internus
  •  Obturator externus
  •  Gemellus superior
  •  Piriformis
  •  Gemellus inferior
  •  Biceps femoris (long head)
  •  Quadratus femoris
Internal rotators
  • Not applicable
  •  Gluteus minimus (anterior fibers)
  •  Gluteus medius (anterior fibers)
  •  Tensor fasciae latae
  •  Adductor longus
  •  Adductor brevis
  •  Pectineus
  •  Adductor magnus (posterior head)
Adductors
  •  Pectineus
  •  Biceps femoris (long head)
  •  Adductor longus
  •  Gluteus maximus (posterior fibers)
  •  Gracilis
  •  Quadratus femoris
  •  Adductor brevis
  •  Obturator externus
  •  Adductor magnus (anterior and posterior heads)
  •  Piriformis
Abductors
  •  Gluteus medius (all fibers)
  •  Sartorius
  •  Gluteus minimus (all fibers)
  • Tensor fasciae latae

 

*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.

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