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Is deadlifting bad for low back pain?

March 28, 2022

Short answer… no!

When performed correctly the foundation movement of a deadlift- the hip hinge, is crucial in the prevention, rehabilitation and in avoiding reoccurrence of lower back injuries.

Injuries deadlifting in the gym, or in real life events mimicking this movement like lifting a child or moving furniture for example, occur due to performing the one traumatic lift or a series of micro loading. 

Let’s break down the hip hinge movement

Primary muscles involved: 

  • Hamstrings 
  • Gluteals
  • Latissimus dorsi
  • Erector spinae 
  • Core/abdominals 

Coordinated contraction of these muscles allows for a safe and strong hip hinge. Being able to perform this lifting pattern is important not only in the gym but in every day life. Think about the amount of times in a day you pick something up from down in front of you… it happens more than you might think, and often without consciously thinking about it. 

Therefore, learning how to perform this movement confidently and consistently is crucial - for injury rehab, injury prevention and athletic performance.

Learning to deadlift (or hip hinge) is a key element in the rehab of chronic low back pain and tightness. Learning to move effectively, and utilising all muscle groups rather than just loading through the lower back.

Does feeling your back in a deadlift mean you have a weak back?

Not necessarily. In some cases low back pain is due to the muscles in your back being used as the primary movers. When we train the movement pattern correctly, increase glute and core contribution and perfect the hip hinge movement, it can significantly reduce pain felt during and after lifting. 

Book in for an assessment to make sure there isn’t any underlying red flags, then your physio can make sure you moving right!

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