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  1. #1
    Registered User tpreston92's Avatar
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    Deadlift - too much lower back engagement?

    I've watched countless videos on deadlift form yet I still feel like my lower back is bearing most of the brunt instead of my hammys and glutes.

    I imagine trying to squeeze a nut between my cheeks when driving the weight up through my foot to try get that mind muscle connection with my glutes and the stretch going with my hammys yet I still feel the majority of the burn in my lower back.

    Is this normal?
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    You can try Sumo Deadlift. It puts less load on lower back than conventional deadlift.
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    I get a bigger stretch going in my hamstrings when I do romanian deadlifts where I'm not lifting off the floor. Would it be worth subbing conventional deadlifts for Romaniam deadlifts and doing a higher rep range?
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    idk wtf I'm doin' ECGordyn's Avatar
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    It's probably just because your lower back is the weakest link in the chain. Does your lower back round, or stay straight? Rounding lower back is dangerous.

    Sumo, RDLs and SLDLs are all perfectly legit alternatives. Deadlifting isn't necessary unless you want to compete.
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    temporary illusion supramax's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by ECGordyn View Post
    It's probably just because your lower back is the weakest link in the chain. Does your lower back round, or stay straight? Rounding lower back is dangerous.

    Sumo, RDLs and SLDLs are all perfectly legit alternatives. Deadlifting isn't necessary unless you want to compete.
    I don't know about that. I'd say for sure it's true for the back squat and bench press, but the deadlift is a real world exercise. When the guy says: "when driving the weight up through my foot" I get the impression that he's squatting the deadlift with a bent back.
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    Originally Posted by ECGordyn View Post
    It's probably just because your lower back is the weakest link in the chain. Does your lower back round, or stay straight? Rounding lower back is dangerous.

    Sumo, RDLs and SLDLs are all perfectly legit alternatives. Deadlifting isn't necessary unless you want to compete.
    I keep my lower back straight and core braced but i still feel most of the tension in my lower back. RDL feel better to me.
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    Originally Posted by supramax View Post
    I don't know about that. I'd say for sure it's true for the back squat and bench press, but the deadlift is a real world exercise. When the guy says: "when driving the weight up through my foot" I get the impression that he's squatting the deadlift with a bent back.
    I meant I drive through my heels to pull the bar like I'm spreading the floor and then squeeze at the top.
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    Originally Posted by tpreston92 View Post
    I meant I drive through my heels to pull the bar like I'm spreading the floor and then squeeze at the top.
    RDLs are great (and so are explosive hard style kettlebell swings), but I wouldn't give up on the deadlift. Try this: After the approach, the bracing, the breathing, everything, when you've got your hands on the bar and taken the slack out... attempt the same hip movement as when you're lowering the bar in the RDL.
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    Originally Posted by supramax View Post
    RDLs are great (and so are explosive hard style kettlebell swings), but I wouldn't give up on the deadlift. Try this: After the approach, the bracing, the breathing, everything, when you've got your hands on the bar and taken the slack out... attempt the same hip movement as when you're lowering the bar in the RDL.
    I'm going to sound dumb but what do you mean by 'taken the slack out'?

    And also in reference to your statement about back squats and bench presses not being necessary unless your competing, I have no interest in competing and just want to gain a bit of muscle for a lean toned physique. Would flat dumbbell presses be a better alternative to the bench Press to really get the squeeze. And what about alternatives to the back squat (I hate them and find it the most difficult lift to master)?

    I'm more about feeling the squeeze and contractions as opposed to explosive strength.
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    Originally Posted by tpreston92 View Post
    I'm going to sound dumb but what do you mean by 'taken the slack out'?

    And also in reference to your statement about back squats and bench presses not being necessary unless your competing, I have no interest in competing and just want to gain a bit of muscle for a lean toned physique. Would flat dumbbell presses be a better alternative to the bench Press to really get the squeeze. And what about alternatives to the back squat (I hate them and find it the most difficult lift to master)?

    I'm more about feeling the squeeze and contractions as opposed to explosive strength.
    There are a billion alternatives to the back squat: front squats, hang squats, jump squats, Bulgarian rear foot elevated split squats, zercher squats and on and on. I do floor presses superset with inverted rows and dips after deadlifts. Seems logical that you'd get a better squeeze with dumbbells, but I don't know for sure. Dips trump everything else for chest development, anyways.

    Slack out of the bar: https://www.t-nation.com/training/st...-your-deadlift
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  11. #11
    idk wtf I'm doin' ECGordyn's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by tpreston92 View Post
    I'm going to sound dumb but what do you mean by 'taken the slack out'?

    And also in reference to your statement about back squats and bench presses not being necessary unless your competing, I have no interest in competing and just want to gain a bit of muscle for a lean toned physique. Would flat dumbbell presses be a better alternative to the bench Press to really get the squeeze. And what about alternatives to the back squat (I hate them and find it the most difficult lift to master)?.
    It was me who said deadlifts aren't necessary, Supra didn't say anything about squats and bench being unnecessary.

    I'd love to say that squats are absolutely necessary unless you have a physical condition, but I respect different training styles.

    About "pulling the slack out of the bar," this vid gives a good visual of what happens. I can't stand the way the guy rambles but you can see what happens when you pull the bar: you get your whole body tight and prepared to generate the most power. You can post a form vid for critique.

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    idk wtf I'm doin' ECGordyn's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by supramax View Post
    I don't know about that. I'd say for sure it's true for the back squat and bench press, but the deadlift is a real world exercise. When the guy says: "when driving the weight up through my foot" I get the impression that he's squatting the deadlift with a bent back.
    "Real world exercise," do you mean it's impossible to fake your way through the lift with bad form? If so, I'd say bench is more "real world" than DL, bench is the most technical lift and bad form will hold the numbers back forever, whereas you can muscle through bad squat and DL form to a greater extent.
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    Originally Posted by ECGordyn View Post
    It was me who said deadlifts aren't necessary, Supra didn't say anything about squats and bench being unnecessary...
    I did, actually.
    In response to your comment : "Deadlifting isn't necessary unless you want to compete."
    I replied: "I don't know about that. I'd say for sure it's true for the back squat and bench press, but the deadlift is a real world exercise. "
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    Originally Posted by ECGordyn View Post
    "Real world exercise," do you mean it's impossible to fake your way through the lift with bad form? If so, I'd say bench is more "real world" than DL, bench is the most technical lift and bad form will hold the numbers back forever, whereas you can muscle through bad squat and DL form to a greater extent.
    I don't know about you, but in my day to day existence, I bend down and pick stuff up one hell of a lot more than I lie on a bench and push stuff away. That's what I meant by 'real world'.
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    Post a form video. Otherwise, we can't definitively say what is going on.
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    Think of the DL as a hinge like a teeter toter,the back/spine should basically remain in a fairly neutral position during your pull.
    Your actually pulling the bar back at a slight angle instead of straight up and down.
    The first part is leg drive to get the bar moving once you get to about knee level you want to think of the hips pushing through while your pulling until your body is in a straight position locked out.
    If your unable to keep your spine fairly straight during your pull and the low back bends it's a weakness you need to address on your DL's.
    You may want to do assistance movements like good mornings and or weighted back raises.
    Do you wear a belt?
    Are you using the valsalva maneuver?
    These are things that can help you stay straighter.
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    idk wtf I'm doin' ECGordyn's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by supramax View Post
    I did, actually.
    In response to your comment : "Deadlifting isn't necessary unless you want to compete."
    I replied: "I don't know about that. I'd say for sure it's true for the back squat and bench press, but the deadlift is a real world exercise. "
    I see now. Couldn't tell by the wording which of my comments you replied to.


    Originally Posted by supramax View Post
    I don't know about you, but in my day to day existence, I bend down and pick stuff up one hell of a lot more than I lie on a bench and push stuff away. That's what I meant by 'real world'.
    By those terms, then squat is the most real world lift for me. I perform knee extension while balancing my body all the time: going up and down stairs, sitting into chairs, getting up from chairs, etc. I rarely pick up things from the floor that are heavier than my bodyweight, as in a DL. If I ever do, I lift with my legs like squatting it up.
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    Originally Posted by ECGordyn View Post
    I see now. Couldn't tell by the wording which of my comments you replied to.




    By those terms, then squat is the most real world lift for me. I perform knee extension while balancing my body all the time: going up and down stairs, sitting into chairs, getting up from chairs, etc. I rarely pick up things from the floor that are heavier than my bodyweight, as in a DL. If I ever do, I lift with my legs like squatting it up.
    There's an argument that split squats are more functional than standard back squats, cuz most everything we do IRL is unilateral. Still, squats are fun. I really only do them cuz they are fun. I'd do split squats if I wanted functional fitness.
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    idk wtf I'm doin' ECGordyn's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by jademonkey View Post
    There's an argument that split squats are more functional than standard back squats, cuz most everything we do IRL is unilateral. Still, squats are fun. I really only do them cuz they are fun. I'd do split squats if I wanted functional fitness.
    From that argument, walking barbell lunges would probably be the most functional, as those combine core stability and upper back engagement with unilateral leg work.

    But then how to get those juicy biceps?....
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    Originally Posted by ECGordyn View Post
    From that argument, walking barbell lunges would probably be the most functional, as those combine core stability and upper back engagement with unilateral leg work.

    But then how to get those juicy biceps?....
    This conversation has gotten a bit odd. If we go with most “functional” it would be going for a walk around our neighborhood.

    To OP - my lower back is always a bit sore the day after deadlift, it is something that is worked. I switched to Sumo for a bit and although I could lift more with a straighter lower back, it bothered my knees.
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  21. #21
    Registered User jademonkey's Avatar
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    Functional for what? For most athletics, single leg typically rules. In athletics you typically have a strength building phase after the end of season and before specificity. Walking won't build strength. Walking weighted lunges or split squats will. To me they seem similar, but split squats one can load up more than half back squat weight and work one leg at a time which seems somewhat better or easier than walking lunges.

    Also, I get sore lower back after deadlift too, but I've not yet been lifting a full year, and still have some lower body issues/imbalances to fully work out - weak low back perhaps, and overactive tensor fasciae latae taking over for glutes.
    August.....................300 / --- / ---................168 lbs
    July 1, 2019.................................................164 lbs
    Late April 2019.........285 / 275 / 440.............178 lbs
    Early March 2019......275 / 245 / 405.............173 lbs
    Oct, 2018..............175x6 / 145x6 / 275x5......163 lbs
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  22. #22
    Registered User TheUnderdog83's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by jademonkey View Post
    Functional for what? For most athletics, single leg typically rules. In athletics you typically have a strength building phase after the end of season and before specificity. Walking won't build strength. Walking weighted lunges or split squats will. To me they seem similar, but split squats one can load up more than half back squat weight and work one leg at a time which seems somewhat better or easier than walking lunges.

    Also, I get sore lower back after deadlift too, but I've not yet been lifting a full year, and still have some lower body issues/imbalances to fully work out - weak low back perhaps, and overactive tensor fasciae latae taking over for glutes.
    You made a statement talking about something being functional for real life without any mention of athletes. My point is very few exercises we do translate to real life on a day-to-day basis, specifically those of us who have desk jobs. I assume there is only a tiny portion of people on this forum that lift to improve in a sport other than the sport of weightlifting. Personally, I lift because I like the idea of looking big, being strong, and improving my overall health. Lifting is a hobby I enjoy, just like you alluded to as you mentioned that you like squats. Never IRL have I actually needed the strength I’ve gained over the last couple years, but I sure do enjoy having it.
    Last edited by TheUnderdog83; 08-17-2019 at 12:46 AM.
    S: 375 pounds x 1 - 168-pound bodyweight 5/2019
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    D: 405 pounds x 1 - 168-pound bodyweight 5/2019
    OHP: 180 pounds x 1 - 168-pound bodyweight 5/2019
    A great guide to nutrition: https://forum.bodybuilding.com/showthread.php?t=173439001&p=1481919401&viewfull=1#post1481919401
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  23. #23
    temporary illusion supramax's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by ECGordyn View Post
    I see now. Couldn't tell by the wording which of my comments you replied to.
    No biggy.


    Originally Posted by ECGordyn View Post
    By those terms, then squat is the most real world lift for me. I perform knee extension while balancing my body all the time: going up and down stairs, sitting into chairs, getting up from chairs, etc. I rarely pick up things from the floor that are heavier than my bodyweight, as in a DL. If I ever do, I lift with my legs like squatting it up.
    The squat, moving the body verticaly, yes, of course. I bolded the word back for a reason. Again, I don't know about you, but in day to day life, if weight is involved, it's not on my back unless I'm hiking.
    It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.

    It's easy to not be afraid of tigers when you're sitting in your living room watching a television program about tigers. When you're in the jungle where the tigers are, it's quite a different story.
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