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dovez 12-31-2007 05:17 PM

Deadlift help!
happy new years first of all,
to all y'all.

for the last few months i have been progressively advancing on the linear 5X5 (from madcows site), and have run in to a slight problem.
deadlifting on wednesdays causes by back to ache real bad (mostly on one side of my low back).
its important to state, that im using good form and keep my back arched, this has been verified by other trainers.
moreover, my grip is nowhere near failing, i dont feel the lift in my hamstrings or traps (used to but not nowdays).
im beginning to think that my lower back is a weak link, because it cant take any pressure.
obviously i cant keep progressing like this, im afraid ill injure myself, and the pains last a two to three days after each session.

any ideas what to do?
will i never be able to deadlift big?
do any of you guys expirience the same aches?

Pitysister 12-31-2007 05:31 PM

the only time my lower back has ached was after good mornings...the first and only time i ever did them.

if it's just on one side...have your trainers watched you from behind/or in front to see if you are drifting sideways during the lift?

HIThopper 12-31-2007 07:00 PM

If your lower back is weak Id probably do some GMs and try strengthen it up a bit it should help you when you pull.

dovez 01-01-2008 12:27 AM

so you think its best i lay off em for a while?
switch up to GMs?
did em last night, i am in a lot of pain right now...
real tight too...

Ross86 01-01-2008 05:57 AM

Don't do them if you're still sore. Your body is telling you something with the pain. You are probably breaking down somewhere in your form to have this pain. It could be a very minor flaw in your form. Wait till it feels better and start some GMs. The best thing you could do is post a video of you deadlifting with heavy weight..after your back feels a little better. You will get a great critique if you do that. Just doing good mornings won't fix your form while deadlifting.

EricT 01-01-2008 03:20 PM

I agree with Ross. I don't think GM's are such a good idea at this point.

Was this your first introduction to deadlifting?

dovez 01-01-2008 04:01 PM

it wasnt,
ive been training on and off for 4 years now...
been in the army so on and off means mostly off.

should i substitute gms for the deadlifts?
also would you recommend a low rep range for the gms?

EricT 01-01-2008 04:47 PM

I don't know enough about you and your particular problems to recommend GM's. IMO, for everone who finds GM's to be helpful to their deadlifts there are plenty more who will end up hurting themselves or who simply need to deadlfit to be good at deadlifting. As Ross said, GM's will not fix your deadlift technique.

I assume from what you said that although this isn't the first time you've done deadlifts this is the first time you've progressed on them consistently for a longish period of time. Everyone is different and for some going into a fairly aggressive way of loading via this 5x5 may be too much too soon owing to lack of foundation in form, perhaps a weak core (meaning the back taking more than it's share of the work) or any number of things.

Any bad habits or imbalances have a tendency to get worse and get locked in so that you have that much more trouble getting away from them in the future plus the tendency for things to come to a head and develop these strains or what have you. Every lifter is different and statements like this (cookie cutter) is a very good way for any wide range of lifters is really not a responsible statement. If you've gotten a strain or whatever don't assume that the program is smarter than you :)

I would look at your flexibility. Especially the hip flexors, hams, lower back. Take a bread from the deads for a few weeks and then if possible do what Ross suggested and post a deadlift video using ligher weight with your "best" form so that you can get more opinions.

Also, I noticed the comment about not feeling it in your hams. A good conventinal deadlift, which imo is not the lever method where it's all lower back, should be "felt" in the glutesand hams as much as the back, if not more. In other words you should feel the tension and engagement of those muscles. Not that they should hurt :). So if you don't feel it their that is a place to start.

I would also suggest you think about core strength and frontal plane stabibility. The job of keeping your torso stable should be shared by the entire core musculature, not just the lower back. So if you abs are not "turning on" and doing their job the lower back has to take on more than it should. A bunch of crunches is not the answer to that. Heavy bar rollouts, bridges, front plate squats, basically "stability" exercises is how to get them firing.

The other thing that may be a problem, and that the 'trainers' in your gym may not really see, is that the lift is finshed at the hips, not by back flexion. So make sure that you thrust the hips forward (which is mostly glutes) to lock it out. This can be hard to recognize distinction, the difference between hip and back flexion and it is a frequent problem.

If you find problems then you may need to back off the weight and focus on laying down a foundation for future progress which may involve adding reps or sets or whatever before adding weight. Or if form is really a problem to focus on many very low rep sets with submaximal (relatively) weights for a while in order to focus on 'quality'.

iron_worker 01-01-2008 05:27 PM

Are you doing 5x5 on deads? I can't see doing that many sets of deads being good? I work up to 1 heavy set of 5 reps for my deadlift training. Although, I'm no expert.

EricT 01-02-2008 01:34 PM

It calls for 4 sets of 5 ramped up to a top set of 5. I think, IW, that it depends on the person, increments, etc..

But for some it could fall into the too much volume too soon category. But the way you do it, if I understand you you are "warming up" (with acclimations) to a set of 5, which theoretically means you are lifting a good bit heavier than a ramping up. Heavier, plus loading may be too much for some also.

If it comes to the back not being "strong" enough then I'd venture to guess that is is a question of erector endurance rather than absolute strength. That is what I found to be the case for me, also, when it comes to erector strength. Far from going straight to goodmornings I would recommend doing isometric back extensions which will build up endurance in the back safely. And of course some regular extensions too. Goodmornings, imo, are assuming that you already have pretty good strength in the back and are looking to get even stronger and most importantly that you are able to, and know how to, to them correctly, because one bad goomoring is all you need to make this entire discussion academic.

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