How To Fix Lower Back Pain From Deadlifting

If you are a CrossFitter, then you probably have woken up the day after doing Diane (21-15-9 Deadlift & HSPU) or any workout with higher volume (rep) lower body pulling movements (snatch, clean..etcO and had your lower back so stiff that you could barely move. This pain can be absolutely life wrecking. This can limit your activity to a meager jog, a slow peddle on the bike or even keep you bed ridden completely. And you are completely miserable.

Luckily for you this article will tell you how to fix the dreaded lower back pain.

Did I Herniate A Disc?

Although it is completely possible to herniate a disc from deadlifting, it is also highly unlikely. Your back, especially your lower back, has layers and layers of tough muscle (errector spinae, transverseospinales, quadratus lumborum to name a few) and ligaments that protect the vertebral column and spinal cord.  The pain you are feeling is most likely a muscle spasm. When your brain perceives a risk to the spinal cord, it forces the muscles to get tight in order to protect it.

Then Why Is My Back Getting Tight After Deadlifts?

In the specific instance of deadlifting in a CrossFit workout, your back tightens up because of how you are returning the barbell to the ground NOT because of how you are picking it up. As you lower the barbell to the ground, your spinal muscles need to be isometrically loaded (meaning hold the same position against the forces of gravity and your barbell). If you get lazy and lose the tension necessary to support the load, your back rounds ever so slightly which creates an eccentric loading (slow lowering of load against gravity). It’s pretty common knowledge in training communities that eccentric movements¬† are absolutely devastating to your muscles and tendons. It causes tons of micro-tears in the muscle which means the body has a massive inflammatory response causing you to get sore, tight and unable to move. In some cases this is a good thing (if you want big biceps, trying to get a pull-up or are rehabbing an injury with light weight), but not with 225 or 155 lbs for 45 reps.

deadlift causing low back pain

So How Do You Fix Your Lower Back Pain?

It is a simple 2 step process.

Step 1. Stop the current pain by following these 3 easy self-mobilizations:

Step 2. Fix your deadlift so the eccentric loading doesn’t happen. An easy cue for this is to pull the barbell up with your arms and upper back muscles while you are pushing the floor away with your legs (like a leg press). [see illustration below]


deadlift mechanics


I hope this helps to fix your lower back pain. If you have any questions about your specific low back pain, please contact us  to get more advice.

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