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Old 05-06-2014, 08:37 AM   #1
Dare Vodusek
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Deadlift and lower back issue...

I've started with wendler's 531 about two months ago. My own diagnosis is: hamstrings - either are too tight or too weak (most likely both). And because of that I cant keep my lower back tight enough when weights starts to get heavy, somewhere in the area of 80% of 1RM it starts to round. I think this happens because I cant keep hips low enough which might be a sign of weak hamstrings and my lower back not being flexible enough.

Here are some lifts:

70% for 5x: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e_T2McRa38w
80% for 3x: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jKi8U2V5ICg
90% for 5x: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V4pSjPOIZFw
(all WFS, beside some exhalation noises that might sound like something else is going on, and awful background music, yea...my gym sux I know)

The last one is from my 1+ lift and I could do more reps I believe but I felt my back is rounding and stopped. As I want to develop a good solid posture for deadlifting so I dont get any pain or injury. I do mobility before lifting, it helps a bit but not much.

Because of this I also dont add weight with new cycles. But its been now two cycles and it seems rounding is not getting better.

Thats why I seek help as Im gonna start new cycle next week. Shall I keep doing what I am, not adding weight and pay attention to proper form and hoping things will improve on their own or shall I add some extra accessory work to address the issue?

If this helps, my lower back was always tight, even in elementary school I was one of those kids that were not able to touch their toes when bending over and I still cant do it, maybe its genetics, dunno. But still I believe my deadlift can improve with strengthening my hamstrings, I am not looking for ways to improve my deadlift in a way that Id be able to do the straight leg deadlift with totaly flat lower back...
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Old 05-06-2014, 09:37 AM   #2
Luke Sirakos
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Re: Deadlift and lower back issue...

There are a lot of things that need improving form wise. First, your hips shoot up before the bar moves, the bar is swinging back and fourth laterally vs staying in close following more of a straight line up and down, you are cranking your neck back, and you are not staying tight on the way down.

I doubt it is from tight hamstrings, I have stupid tight hamstrings, always have. Increasing hamstring and back strength would certainly help but more than anything getting your form down first is necessary.
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Old 05-06-2014, 09:42 AM   #3
Dare Vodusek
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Re: Deadlift and lower back issue...

Thanks, do you see same issues with 70% lifts too?
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Old 05-06-2014, 10:03 AM   #4
Luke Sirakos
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Re: Deadlift and lower back issue...

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Originally Posted by Dare Vodusek View Post
Thanks, do you see same issues with 70% lifts too?
Less so but it is more pronounced when you do the touch and go. Still looks like you aren't staying tight on the way down.
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Old 05-06-2014, 10:50 AM   #5
Dare Vodusek
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Re: Deadlift and lower back issue...

Maybe Im breathing wrong, I do an exhale and inhale on top, maybe it should be done when barbell on the floor? I was actually experimenting with breathing on all my lifts, and doing it like described seems to suits me better, but if its wrong, Ill change it.
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Old 05-06-2014, 10:55 AM   #6
Luke Sirakos
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Re: Deadlift and lower back issue...

FWIW I breathe in at the bottom, hold it, quick exhale at the top, hold it on the way down, exhale, rinse and repeat. You are going to be much tighter when you are holding your breath, just make sure you breathe between reps
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Old 05-06-2014, 07:42 PM   #7
Josh Groves
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Re: Deadlift and lower back issue...

Couple quick points and questions here..

Are these based on your actual 1RM, or 90% of your 1RM?

For the form, lead with your sternum while pushing your knees back and that will fix the hips shooting up first. Keep the knees moving back until the bar crosses the knee cap, then focus on squeezing the glutes to bring the hips forward for lockout. If you try to lift this way and the bar doesn't move, practice it repeatedly with a lighter load. Also, relax your neck, you're craning it like a constipated t-rex or something. Eyes should be 8-10 feet in front of you on the floor for a general point of reference.
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Old 05-07-2014, 12:04 AM   #8
Dare Vodusek
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Re: Deadlift and lower back issue...

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Originally Posted by Josh Groves View Post
Couple quick points and questions here..

Are these based on your actual 1RM, or 90% of your 1RM?
No, I calculated 1RM based on my 1+ lift to get the approx number. But I did a +20 lb 1RM lift months ago but with awful form and got scared for my back, ever since I try to improve lower back tightness.

Quote:
For the form, lead with your sternum while pushing your knees back and that will fix the hips shooting up first. Keep the knees moving back until the bar crosses the knee cap, then focus on squeezing the glutes to bring the hips forward for lockout. If you try to lift this way and the bar doesn't move, practice it repeatedly with a lighter load. Also, relax your neck, you're craning it like a constipated t-rex or something. Eyes should be 8-10 feet in front of you on the floor for a general point of reference.

I am able to lead with sternum on lighter weights, something like 60, 70%. But as I approach 80%+ I just cant move the weight off the ground without my hips going up first. At least I think so, maybe Ill record my 60% lifts to compare form.

Yea, the head position is awful, but there is a mirror 2 feet away and I try to observe my form in it, need to stop doing that.

Maybe a good idea would be to skip deadlift on my next wendler cycle and focus on deadlift exercises that will improve my form and then re-start with next cycle?
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Old 05-07-2014, 05:39 AM   #9
Robert Fabsik
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Re: Deadlift and lower back issue...

If you are doing Wendler, before subbing out the deadlift and trying to repair piece by piece, you may want to do a reset and do each rep as perfect as possible. Maybe on your squat day for assistance you could see if a small deficit deadlift would help you get more drive and upright position. But start light.

I think your shoulders are too far in front of the bar. It looks like you pull the bar in close to your legs (which is good), but your shoulders aren't directly above the bar or behind it. So you have your butt back (good) but the shoulders forward and your back gets caught in the middle to move the lift.

Ideally, shoulders should be above the bar or slightly behind to counterbalance the weight of the bar. The more weight you can get behind the bar the more you can use it to pull up.

For strength building, I'm not a fan of bouncing the reps since this is reinforcing your bad technique. Do a mini reset between each rep--hips in the right place and shoulders in the right place. Get rid of the momentum from the bounce.
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Old 05-07-2014, 05:53 AM   #10
Dare Vodusek
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Re: Deadlift and lower back issue...

I was actually thinking the same, for the shoulder position, and tried to work on it, but every time I want to go a bit more behind the bar with them, I feel like Im gonna end on my butt.

I never imagined deadlift would be the most complicated lift for me, I always assumed squat is harder because of all the core tightness that needs to be in place, but man...deadlift is really starting to annoy me.

EDIT: one method of putting shoulders behind the bar would be to move the bar a bit forward on the starting position, not touhcing the shins with it. But I guess this is wrong as bar should be toucing the shins, correct?
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