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  1. #1
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    Ok to round back a little on PR deadlifts? Starting Strength?

    Ok so Ive been on Starting Strength for 3 weeks now and I started at 135 deadlift, made it to like 225 and started to notice back rounding and form problems so i reset it to 185, and now Im at a 245 deadlift and Its starting to get pretty taxing on my body. I dont use straps, and I feel like Im starting to round my lower back a little on the initial pull. Is this ok? I just noticed it this workout and the middle of my back is a little sore. I also had to switch from a double overhand grip to a mixed grip today because they weight was too much for my grip strength after like the 3rd rep.
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    Originally Posted by DurPats View Post
    Ok so Ive been on Starting Strength for 3 weeks now and I started at 135 deadlift, made it to like 225 and started to notice back rounding and form problems so i reset it to 185, and now Im at a 245 deadlift and Its starting to get pretty taxing on my body. I dont use straps, and I feel like Im starting to round my lower back a little on the initial pull. Is this ok? I just noticed it this workout and the middle of my back is a little sore. I also had to switch from a double overhand grip to a mixed grip today because they weight was too much for my grip strength after like the 3rd rep.
    I think it's pretty hard to maintain a perfectly neutral spine while going for a heavy PR. At the same time, you obviously don't want a Brokeback Mountain deadlift. A video would probably be helpful in assessing your form. When I did my first four-plate deadlift (225) I shot a form video and noticed some back rounding. Within a few weeks, 225 was one of my DL warm up weights, so I shot another video of the warm up set. No more rounding.

    Mixed grip is fine. I had to change grips when I was at 235.
    Last edited by jb4476; 06-16-2010 at 06:02 PM.
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    Originally Posted by jb4476 View Post
    I think it's pretty hard to maintain a perfectly neutral spine while going for a heavy PR. At the same time, you obviously don't want a Brokeback Mountain deadlift. A video would probably be helpful in assessing your form. When I did my first four-plate deadlift (225) I shot a form video and noticed some back rounding. Within a month, 225 was one of my DL warm up weights, so I shot another video of the warm up set. No more rounding.

    Mixed grip is fine. I had to change grips when I was at 235.
    Ok can I move up to like 255 next time even though my back rounded a bit? I mean I finished all the reps, coulda done at least 2-3 more. Or should I stay at 245 and see if I can get better form before moving on?
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    I'd try REALLY HARD to avoid back rounding if possible, as you can blow a disc that way; it is true however that on PR deadlifts form usually suffers.

    On SS, I'd be pretty strict about form if I were you. Part of the objective is for you to get your form rock solid for future training.
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    Originally Posted by DurPats View Post
    Ok can I move up to like 255 next time even though my back rounded a bit? I mean I finished all the reps, coulda done at least 2-3 more. Or should I stay at 245 and see if I can get better form before moving on?
    I don't see why not. As long as your little bit of back rounding didn't look like this:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kh5mu...eature=related

    Maybe you could do what I did. Shoot a video of your PR deadlift next session. Eventually, that PR will become a warm up set. Then shoot another video. Check the form difference.
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    Also my squats are getting a little more difficult to go below parallel or even to parallel. I was going ATG at like 185 no problem, but now at 215, its kinda tough to go to parallel or below. I got stuck at the bottom of my squat at 215 on my first rep for that weight (went ATG for a test) and I almost fell over trying to get the bar back up. Got the rest of the reps no problem but I am kinda scared to go so low now. Is it ok to go like 2 inches above parallel to avoid getting stuck in the hole?
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    Originally Posted by jb4476 View Post
    I don't see why not. As long as your little bit of back rounding didn't look like this:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kh5mu...eature=related

    Maybe you could do what I did. Shoot a video of your PR deadlift next session. Eventually, that PR will become a warm up set. Then shoot another video. Check the form difference.
    lol lmao the way he is lifting makes me think of Montgomery Burns from the Simpson dead lifting
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    Originally Posted by DurPats View Post
    Also my squats are getting a little more difficult to go below parallel or even to parallel. I was going ATG at like 185 no problem, but now at 215, its kinda tough to go to parallel or below. I got stuck at the bottom of my squat at 215 on my first rep for that weight (went ATG for a test) and I almost fell over trying to get the bar back up. Got the rest of the reps no problem but I am kinda scared to go so low now. Is it ok to go like 2 inches above parallel to avoid getting stuck in the hole?
    Then drop your weight you are lifting to heavy. Your lifting weight should be what you can lift ATG if you arent able then its to much. Sounds like you tried to progress faster than your body is allowing.
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    Originally Posted by strokercrate View Post
    Then drop your weight you are lifting to heavy. Your lifting weight should be what you can lift ATG if you arent able then its to much. Sounds like you tried to progress faster than your body is allowing.
    Well, I did only 5 lb incriments per workout like Ripp says so maybe I just had a bad workout. I went ATG at 210, but 215 was different for some reason. Maybe I wasnt fully recovered or maybe had a bad day I dont know.
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    Thats not a set in stone rule you are to try to add 5 pounds. Your body will reach a personal limit to the fast paced strength gain that happens out of the gate. First question.

    Are you getting 5 reps ATG all 3 times? Or are you getting like 5 5 a 4?

    If you havent got the 555 all three times i wouldnt up the weight.

    Second. If you cant get the extra 5 but have went 555 for all three sets

    can you add just 1 to 2 pounds find something that weights that much put in around your neck in your pocket hang around the bar what ever. then next time you will get the extra 5 pounds.
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    Originally Posted by DurPats View Post
    Ok can I move up to like 255 next time even though my back rounded a bit? I mean I finished all the reps, coulda done at least 2-3 more. Or should I stay at 245 and see if I can get better form before moving on?
    Before each rep, set the arch in your back and set it hard. Lay on the floor and do supermans to get the feel of an arched lower back. A lot of guys have a rounded back because they never set the arch to begin with.

    Originally Posted by DurPats View Post
    Is it ok to go like 2 inches above parallel to avoid getting stuck in the hole?
    No, it's not Ok to do partial reps. Rip doesn't teach ATG, though. Parallel is good enough.
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    Originally Posted by strokercrate View Post
    Thats not a set in stone rule you are to try to add 5 pounds. Your body will reach a personal limit to the fast paced strength gain that happens out of the gate. First question.

    Are you getting 5 reps ATG all 3 times? Or are you getting like 5 5 a 4?

    If you havent got the 555 all three times i wouldnt up the weight.

    Second. If you cant get the extra 5 but have went 555 for all three sets

    can you add just 1 to 2 pounds find something that weights that much put in around your neck in your pocket hang around the bar what ever. then next time you will get the extra 5 pounds.
    More like 5 5 4, and I dont have micro weights so thats outa the question, I guess ill just go back to 210 and progress back upwards at a more manageable pace.
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    a bit of back rounding is all fine on a max effort lift(1 RM) but if you're doing it regularly in your working sets, try to get your form fixed
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    Originally Posted by Dave76 View Post
    Before each rep, set the arch in your back and set it hard. Lay on the floor and do supermans to get the feel of an arched lower back. A lot of guys have a rounded back because they never set the arch to begin with.



    No, it's not Ok to do partial reps. Rip doesn't teach ATG, though. Parallel is good enough.
    He may not say ATG, but watch his videos on you tube he makes them get into a postion "a little lower than parallel and when he sees someone going just parallel he either says go a little lower or bad squat.
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    Originally Posted by DurPats View Post
    More like 5 5 4, and I dont have micro weights so thats outa the question, I guess ill just go back to 210 and progress back upwards at a more manageable pace.
    use anything not just microweights. hell if your shoe weights one pound take it of and tie it around your barbell or neck (loosely)
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    Remember that when you round your back, you're maximising use of your lower back muscles, and minimising use of glutes and hamstrings. Since the point of the exercise is to strengthen all three (plus others, of course), it's not brilliant to adopt a posture where you're using mostly just one of them.

    However, while roundbacking makes the exercise less effective, the most important consideration is your health and safety. You can't train at all if you hurt yourself.
    Originally Posted by gordonrumble View Post
    I'd try REALLY HARD to avoid back rounding if possible, as you can blow a disc that way; it is true however that on PR deadlifts form usually suffers.
    I've never heard of anyone getting a herniated disc as a result of roundbacking in squats or deadlifts. Herniated discs come about slowly over time. I'm not saying it can't happen, just that I've never heard of it.

    However, straining the muscles or spraining the ligaments is definitely possible - I've done the first, and seen both happen to others. And so...

    On SS, I'd be pretty strict about form if I were you. Part of the objective is for you to get your form rock solid for future training.
    I agree with this.

    One thing I've noticed is that many people's deadlifts, they don't quite touch the ground with the plates in between reps, or they "touch and go." It's quite acceptable to rest the weight dead on the ground between reps - that's what "deadlift" means, lifting the weight dead off the ground - and to take a breath and reset your grip, and also reset your back into proper lumbar extension.

    I find that having people put the weight dead on the group for each rep, reset their grip and back, this solves most grip and roundbacking problems. Of course it's different if you're doing a single of 400+lbs in competition, but even if you do 3 competitions every year, that's still only at most 36 reps out of thousands. In regular training, most healthy people should be able to have a strapless grip and good lumbar extension on every rep.

    That's safest, and also ensures that you're using the most muscles possible in your exercise, instead of using mostly the lower back muscles.
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    Originally Posted by strokercrate View Post
    He may not say ATG, but watch his videos on you tube he makes them get into a postion "a little lower than parallel and when he sees someone going just parallel he either says go a little lower or bad squat.
    The generally accepted definition of parallel is for the crease at the hips (where the legs meet the torso) to be even with the top of the knee cap. If you meet this condition, Rip won't tell you to go any lower.
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    Originally Posted by Dave76 View Post
    The generally accepted definition of parallel is for the crease at the hips (where the legs meet the torso) to be even with the top of the knee cap. If you meet this condition, Rip won't tell you to go any lower.
    check the video?
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  19. #19
    Just the tip Farley1324's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Dave76 View Post
    The generally accepted definition of parallel is for the crease at the hips (where the legs meet the torso) to be even with the top of the knee cap. If you meet this condition, Rip won't tell you to go any lower.
    This.
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  20. #20
    Registered User TitanFB11's Avatar
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    for me personally, going parallel is actualy harder then going ATG. IMO

    going parallel puts to much strain on my knees for me...

    i never got going parallel anyway, why not take advantage of a full ROM? (unless going atg causes you pain)
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  21. #21
    Just the tip Farley1324's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by TitanFB11 View Post
    i never got going parallel anyway, why not take advantage of a full ROM? (unless going atg causes you pain)

    Because all of the experts, such as Mark Rippetoe and Bill Starr, say that for muscle and strength building purposes as well as sports performance parallel is deep enough to get the full benefit......because you can typically move more weight going parallel than ATG.....because flexibility is much less of a concern and it is easier to keep your back in the proper position going parallel than ATG.
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  22. #22
    Prepare Perform Prevail SuicideGripMe's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Farley1324 View Post
    Because all of the experts, such as Mark Rippetoe and Bill Starr, say that for muscle and strength building purposes as well as sports performance parallel is deep enough to get the full benefit......because you can typically move more weight going parallel than ATG.....because flexibility is much less of a concern and it is easier to keep your back in the proper position going parallel than ATG.
    There are trainers/strength coachs that argue both with lots of information supporting and going against both. There is no real right answer. Many people olympic squat, many people do a powerlifting style squat, many people do a mix of both, some people dont squat at all. As long as what you are doing is in line with your goals, it does not matter.
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  23. #23
    Registered User grumble1's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by SuicideGripMe View Post
    There are trainers/strength coachs that argue both with lots of information supporting and going against both. There is no real right answer. Many people olympic squat, many people do a powerlifting style squat, many people do a mix of both, some people dont squat at all. As long as what you are doing is in line with your goals, it does not matter.
    I'd say it does matter with ATG squats, in that many people can't do them without wrecking their form. The rest is more or less agree with.
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  24. #24
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    No, its not ok to get comfortable with rounding the back (the lower back). The main reason is because you are increasing the weight in a linear fashion, eventually your going to be lifting heavy weight, and it'll be with poor form. That is the recipe for an injury.


    Sure, some people can get away with it, but why take the risk?




    As for the squatting, from a powerlifting or bodybuilding standpoint parallel is ok. From a general strength/health position ATG is superior.

    ATG:
    Increases hip flexibility
    Forces you to use better form
    Lightens the load on your spine, but even with the lighter load your body is still getting worked.



    If ego/competition isn't important I think ATG is worth it, the body feels much better. Also, if you ever want to compete its not hard to revert back to parallel. If you only squat parallel it can be difficult to switch to squatting ATG.


    Even if my squat is 25lbs lighter when its ATG, I still prefer ATG. However I have no intention of ever competing/I'm not doing a bodybuilding split where I have an entire day to work legs.
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  25. #25
    The generalist. iSkinny's Avatar
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    In no context would I ever let one of the athletes I was working with round their back during deadlifts, even if it was for a PR... All you're doing is developing bad habits and exponentially increasing your injury risk.
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  26. #26
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    Originally Posted by iSkinny View Post
    In no context would I ever let one of the athletes I was working with round their back during deadlifts, even if it was for a PR... All you're doing is developing bad habits and exponentially increasing your injury risk.
    If their form is perfect, then it's probably not a PR.
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  27. #27
    You are on ignore CookAndrewB's Avatar
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    To the OP:

    I would ask myself (if I were you) to what end the back rounding serves. Is the end result worth potential injury? In some cases the answer may be yes, but as someone on SS, I would certainly think that safety takes precedence at this point. Later, if you take up a competative sport, that may change.

    Originally Posted by TitanFB11 View Post
    i never got going parallel anyway, why not take advantage of a full ROM? (unless going atg causes you pain)
    There is a very long and detailed answer here, but the long and the short of it is that very few people can attain a full depth squat while maintaining proper lower back position. This is primarily the result of lack of hip mobility. Whatever mobility is lost in one joint has to be made up for somewhere else, in this case the lumbar spine.

    I would say that it is far better to squat correctly to above parallel than to squat incorrectly to parallel or below. That being said, you should always work towards proper squat form at, or below, parallel. I'm not suggesting that you should squat above parallel and stay that way. I'm saying that good form should be higher on your priority list than full ROM... but they are BOTH a priority.
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