How does deadlifting hundreds of pounds not mess up someone’s back?

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It seems that this exercise goes against the wisdom of “lift with your legs.” Why is that?

In: Biology

47 Answers

Anonymous 0 Comments

As the other poster mentioned, it definitely CAN injure your back.    

But so could any other exercise, the way we avoid injury in exercise is by slowly increasing the weight over weeks and months so your body becomes accustomed to the new load and your muscles strengthen to handle the weight safely.   

If you have not been deadlifting for weeks or months and go into a gym and attempt to go for a personal record lift, you almost certainly will injure yourself. If you however have been working up to it, the chances are much much lower. As well, it is very common nowadays for folks who do heavy deadlifts to wear a weightlifting belt, this belts goes around your stomach and lower back and significantly increases the rigidity and strength of the area to help prevent herniation and disk slippage (Edit: as others clarified, belts are for advanced lifters and you still need to exercise proper form to use the belt correctly)

Anonymous 0 Comments

It can do that especially at heavier weights. Back issues are common in pro powerlifting.

It’s part legs, part hip hinge. Risk of injury is reduced if you keep your back straight and not rounded.

Since it’s also such a good general exercise, the benefits usually utweight the issues. Sets with many reps are typically not recommended tho.

Most injuries come from doing it too often or with too heavy weights.

Anonymous 0 Comments

All exercises can mess you up, but deadlifts are one of the easiest to do wrong. You’re supposed to use your legs to do the lift while the back/core muscles keep your back straight. You’re supposed to use your glutes when thrusting your hips forward to straight up. Glutes are basically your butt muscles. The bending motion should be at your hips, not your waist/lower back.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Proper form involves bracing your stomach which supports your back and also you use your entire posterior chain and legs in the movement so it’s not like the movement is solely on your back. Improper form can lead to injuries

Anonymous 0 Comments

With proper form, a deadlift is how you lift with your legs. With your core braced, you push with your legs before transitioning into a hip hinge. You keep your spine straight (that doesn’t mean vertical) and braced throughout the movement.

The wrong way is to reach down with a curved back and then lift by using your back muscles to straighten your spine.

Anonymous 0 Comments

As you get stronger at deadlifts you also get a stronger lower back. Also not having the lower back shift and move during the movement generally has no issues. It still does slightly in the end, but not too much for people to get constantly injured. Your bone density also increases. You also still use mostly your legs.

Anonymous 0 Comments

It’s important to remember that back damage comes from improper lifting form and trying to lift something much heavier than you are used to. Lifting in the gym is all about progressive overloading which means slow and steady progress. Back damage often happens if you are untrained and you for some reason have to lift something heavy one time with no warmup. That’s a recipe for back injury.

Anonymous 0 Comments

People assume the strain it has on the back is so immense it can cause injury but this is not true while the back is static. Dynamic motion (flexing/extension of the erectors) while lifting is where an easy injury will occur.

As long as your back isnt bending during the lift, it’s very rare to get an injury. Even rounded backs (rounded thoracic spine) are completley safe (not if you look like a scared cat).

You usually cannot lift more than your back will allow statically so if you start bending it it’s definitely an ego lift.

Anonymous 0 Comments

because ‘lift with your legs’ is only good advice for people who don’t regularly lift heavy things and then decide they need to move the couch, your legs can probably handle more weight than your back can.. proabably..

its not wrong but there isn’t anything inherently wrong to using your back to lift something, I mean kind of obviously, you can pick up things off the floor without doing a full squat to go get them

the gym is a pretty ideal place to lift things since you can work to have perfect form, bars are very consistently shaped and easy to grasp in different places and you can dial in precisely the weight you want to lift

when weight gets heavy you do want to keep your back straight and pull up close to your body since having your back straight lets you safely pull with even more force than if not, but even then a lot of the force of the deadlift is hinging at the hips so it does use ‘your back’ at least your lower back

and obviously you CAN hurt yourself too, usually why when you weightlift you do reps of the same exercise and you stop before you hit your max, so doing 8 deadlifts when your max is 10 is totally fine, those last two are more dangerous but also you can totally progress only doing 8 and not trying to push those last two where your form starts to get sloppy

Anonymous 0 Comments

Your spine can handle an insane amount of compressive forces. If you do the lift in a way that the load in your back is compressive and not shear (with a rounded back) then you can load your glutes hamstrings and quads to a very high load and it’s safe. It’s why form and loading properly is of utmost importance.