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My last deadlift
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Spike Offline
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My last deadlift
Today was the last time I ever did a deadlift. For years I've avoided them because I had serious hernia back problems in my early 20's but last week I started doing them again. Today after a proper warm up I kind off wrecked my back on the fourth set. I usually lift pretty heavy with back exercises but I didn't with the deadlift because I wanted to build up slow. Its my own damn cault , in 2012 I also tried to deadlift a bit and hurt my back. Now that I'm making good gains and spurted on by all the "Bro, you need to deadlift" articles online and on YouTube, I gave it another chance. My core strength has improved lots lately and I thought it was good to try again.

Think again, I got a jolt of pain on the fourth rep of the 4th set and quit immediately. I managed to finish the rest of my workout as long as I kept my back straight and forced myself. Afterwards I went shopping a bit and walked like a stiff old man but now 3 hours later I'm in bed. It hurts damnit. I took my mighty 3 year over date Cambodian Valium and I'm resting now. Tomorrow is a usual resting day and I hope that I can do my Friday abs and cardio workout. No more deadlifts for me. No need for herniating a disk.

I didn't even lift that heavy, about 160pounds. Fuck deadlifts, never ever again. Not even once bro.

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(This post was last modified: 04-08-2015 09:48 AM by Spike.)
04-08-2015 09:42 AM
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Seamus Offline
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RE: My last deadlift
You made the right call. Deadlifts are a risk-reward calculation for everybody, and are absolutely not necessary to achieving a great body.

I completely cut them out myself after a severe sports-related back injury, on the advice of both a back doctor and physical therapist, and simply added a few other exercises to plug the gap. Back injuries can completely ruin your life, it's just not worth it in my opinion.
(This post was last modified: 04-08-2015 10:24 AM by Seamus.)
04-08-2015 10:11 AM
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Hardy Daytona Offline
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RE: My last deadlift
And that's why I stay away from deadlifts.
I always hear about the benefits for improving core strength but there's a serious investment risk vs return ratio that isn't touched on too much.
When I was working in the building trade I saw a lot of older men who'd absolutely destroyed their bodies from carrying bags of sand and cement every day and as a result had grave joint and muscular issues.
You can see the parallels with deadlifting. While every lifter should experiment and see what works for them, I wouldn't advise it for protracted amounts of time. Just seeing how many men at my gym have poor form when lifting shows the potential damage.
04-08-2015 10:24 AM
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RE: My last deadlift
Done properly, deadlifts and sandbag/odd object lifts are, in my view, the very best exercises you can do for building a strong and resilient back, and a fundamental human movement pattern.

Any injury obtained is likely the result of either poor form, an existing underlying injury, or a muscular imbalance. There is nothing fundamentally wrong with the exercise, indeed it is an excellent strength and muscle builder, and will encase your vulnerable spine in thick cords of protective and supportive muscle.

Deadlifting a barbell weighing 160lbs should not lead to injury in a healthy adult. Without wishing to be disparaging, I recently saw a video of a 13 year old boy weighing under 140lbs deadlifting 315lbs without any trouble at all. I simply do not believe there is any circumstance where a healthy and otherwise normal adult male lacks the capacity with proper training to out-lift a barely pubescent child.

It sounds to me like your pre-existing injury was not properly rehabbed, or something else was drastically wrong. A hip hinge movement is, as I've mentioned, a fundamental human movement pattern, and if you can't perform it under a very modest load, then you have a much bigger problem than the deadlift.
04-08-2015 10:46 AM
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DarkTriad Offline
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RE: My last deadlift
(04-08-2015 10:11 AM)Seamus Wrote:  You made the right call. Deadlifts are a risk-reward calculation for everybody, and are absolutely not necessary to achieving a great body.

I completely cut them out myself after a severe sports-related back injury, on the advice of both a back doctor and physical therapist, and simply added a few other exercises to plug the gap. Back injuries can completely ruin your life, it's just not worth it in my opinion.

Seamus is a wise man.
04-08-2015 11:01 AM
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DarkTriad Offline
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RE: My last deadlift
(04-08-2015 10:46 AM)H1N1 Wrote:  Done properly, deadlifts and sandbag/odd object lifts are, in my view, the very best exercises you can do for building a strong and resilient back, and a fundamental human movement pattern.

Any injury obtained is likely the result of either poor form, an existing underlying injury, or a muscular imbalance. There is nothing fundamentally wrong with the exercise, indeed it is an excellent strength and muscle builder, and will encase your vulnerable spine in thick cords of protective and supportive muscle.

Deadlifting a barbell weighing 160lbs should not lead to injury in a healthy adult. Without wishing to be disparaging, I recently saw a video of a 13 year old boy weighing under 140lbs deadlifting 315lbs without any trouble at all. I simply do not believe there is any circumstance where a healthy and otherwise normal adult male lacks the capacity with proper training to out-lift a barely pubescent child.

It sounds to me like your pre-existing injury was not properly rehabbed, or something else was drastically wrong. A hip hinge movement is, as I've mentioned, a fundamental human movement pattern, and if you can't perform it under a very modest load, then you have a much bigger problem than the deadlift.

That is one level of understanding it, but it's on about the level as "You MUST graduate college to be a success". It's frequently true, but not true for every person in every situation.

People have got to get away from "one size fits all" suggestions, especially when the OP offered a pretty solid empirical proof in his post.

"Doc, it hurts when I do this"

"Well stop doing that!"
04-08-2015 11:05 AM
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TheWastelander Offline
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RE: My last deadlift
(04-08-2015 10:11 AM)Seamus Wrote:  You made the right call. Deadlifts are a risk-reward calculation for everybody, and are absolutely not necessary to achieving a great body.

I completely cut them out myself after a severe sports-related back injury, on the advice of both a back doctor and physical therapist, and simply added a few other exercises to plug the gap. Back injuries can completely ruin your life, it's just not worth it in my opinion.

What exercises do you do to plug the gap?

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04-08-2015 11:54 AM
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Saweeep Offline
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RE: My last deadlift
You definitely do not need to do deadlifts to get a good body.

There are about a million other exercises that will do the job aesthetically.
04-08-2015 11:56 AM
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samsamsam Offline
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RE: My last deadlift
i would also be very interested in finding out ways to compensate for not deadlifting. Thank you in advance. Much appreciated.

Edit: what exercises would give you the strength of deadlifting. I know aesthetics matter to some but I like functional strength. Thanks!

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04-08-2015 11:57 AM
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RE: My last deadlift
Rows. Lots and lots of BB rows. I think they are the single most important exercise for back size and strength.

Pull ups, shrugs, back-extensions and maybe even front squats if you can do them.
04-08-2015 12:17 PM
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Moma Offline
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RE: My last deadlift
Ne...I mean Spike, the fact that you are tall means that some of those exercises requiring to bend over can wreak certain havoc on your long lumbar region. It's good to see what other tall men are doing. Sometimes these exercises are magical for the short folk but an absolute nightmare for the more gangly gentleman.

Good recognition.

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04-08-2015 01:31 PM
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The Beast1 Offline
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RE: My last deadlift
(04-08-2015 11:05 AM)DarkTriad Wrote:  
(04-08-2015 10:46 AM)H1N1 Wrote:  Done properly, deadlifts and sandbag/odd object lifts are, in my view, the very best exercises you can do for building a strong and resilient back, and a fundamental human movement pattern.

Any injury obtained is likely the result of either poor form, an existing underlying injury, or a muscular imbalance. There is nothing fundamentally wrong with the exercise, indeed it is an excellent strength and muscle builder, and will encase your vulnerable spine in thick cords of protective and supportive muscle.

Deadlifting a barbell weighing 160lbs should not lead to injury in a healthy adult. Without wishing to be disparaging, I recently saw a video of a 13 year old boy weighing under 140lbs deadlifting 315lbs without any trouble at all. I simply do not believe there is any circumstance where a healthy and otherwise normal adult male lacks the capacity with proper training to out-lift a barely pubescent child.

It sounds to me like your pre-existing injury was not properly rehabbed, or something else was drastically wrong. A hip hinge movement is, as I've mentioned, a fundamental human movement pattern, and if you can't perform it under a very modest load, then you have a much bigger problem than the deadlift.

That is one level of understanding it, but it's on about the level as "You MUST graduate college to be a success". It's frequently true, but not true for every person in every situation.

People have got to get away from "one size fits all" suggestions, especially when the OP offered a pretty solid empirical proof in his post.

"Doc, it hurts when I do this"

"Well stop doing that!"

I'm going to *2 what H1N1 said. I lift things using the deadlift motion all of the time. It sounds like there are some other issues at play that are impeding success here.

OP, have you considered going to a sports medicine doctor for assistance?
04-08-2015 01:38 PM
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Spike Offline
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RE: My last deadlift
(04-08-2015 10:46 AM)H1N1 Wrote:  Done properly, deadlifts and sandbag/odd object lifts are, in my view, the very best exercises you can do for building a strong and resilient back, and a fundamental human movement pattern.

Any injury obtained is likely the result of either poor form, an existing underlying injury, or a muscular imbalance. There is nothing fundamentally wrong with the exercise, indeed it is an excellent strength and muscle builder, and will encase your vulnerable spine in thick cords of protective and supportive muscle.

Deadlifting a barbell weighing 160lbs should not lead to injury in a healthy adult. Without wishing to be disparaging, I recently saw a video of a 13 year old boy weighing under 140lbs deadlifting 315lbs without any trouble at all. I simply do not believe there is any circumstance where a healthy and otherwise normal adult male lacks the capacity with proper training to out-lift a barely pubescent child.

It sounds to me like your pre-existing injury was not properly rehabbed, or something else was drastically wrong. A hip hinge movement is, as I've mentioned, a fundamental human movement pattern, and if you can't perform it under a very modest load, then you have a much bigger problem than the deadlift.

It's exactly this kind kind of bro-science advice which is prevalent all over YouTube and forums that suckered me into dead-lifting again. It's just not for everyone. People who have success with deadlifting may have genetically strong lower backs. I don't. When I worked in construction as a carpenter for nearly 8 years my lower back was also always killing me.

I do use slow and proper form in all my exercises and I too laugh when I see people use momentum just to lift heavy weights. I leave my ego in the locker room when I lift. I'm 38 and left all youthful brazenness behind me. I don't need to proof myself to anyone and I don't give if a fuck a 10 year old can do a 500 kg deadlift and I can't.

Like I said, it was the last time I got suckered into this kind of lifting. There's is no one-size-fits-all exercise. I can't barbell squat either. Another one of the staple exercises half the bodybuilding and fitness community is lyrical about.

What can I do? Just about anything but not those two "staple" exercises and with good success and growth but just like everyone else in the gym I'm looking for that little extra edge.

Herniating discs isn't cool bro.

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04-08-2015 01:55 PM
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VolandoVengoVolandoVoy Offline
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RE: My last deadlift
Give your back a rest, and then go right back at it, but be smart. Keep the faith!!! I know back injury and it is awful, but it is not the end.
I'm 5 months into an intense cardio and strength training program designed to return me to peak shape...I began this program mere weeks after one doctor recommended I have spinal fusion surgery due to me having multiple herniated discs (a second orthopedist severely cautioned me on the poor outcomes and lifelong consequences of the surgery).
I don't squat or deadlift. I sit instead of stand when doing any dumbbell lift or curl.
I do a three day split twice a week. Only day off is Sunday. Prior to starting a workout I do 30 minutes on a good elliptical machine at the highest difficulty level on a hill interval mode, and each time I try to burn more calories in the same amount of time. Because of this and some other leg exercises I do, my legs are rock solid, and as big as they've ever been but also lean.
My cardiovascular fitness is now not that far from what it was when I was a competitive swimmer. It can never be the same due to my age. Also, I don't run because of my back.
My strength, upper body and lower body, is now within 5-10% of my personal bests, all of which I achieved 7 years ago when I lived in Peru and hired a bodybuilder as my personal trainer.
I also focus a lot on core strength via ab exercises and doing different kinds of planks.
Flexibility is a focus as well, I stretch a lot. Two weeks ago, I finally managed to touch my toes with knees locked and hold it, which was a major goal of mine, and something I have never done in my adult life. I'm tall (6'3") and have never had good flexibility which I think in part led to my back problems.
I experience little to no back pain in my daily life - the combination of flexibility, muscle, core strength, and legs is protecting me and my posture is good now.
I have 7 weeks until I turn 35, and I want to be in the best shape of my life.

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(This post was last modified: 04-08-2015 02:19 PM by VolandoVengoVolandoVoy.)
04-08-2015 02:10 PM
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Spike Offline
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RE: My last deadlift
(04-08-2015 01:31 PM)Moma Wrote:  Ne...I mean Spike, the fact that you are tall means that some of those exercises requiring to bend over can wreak certain havoc on your long lumbar region. It's good to see what other tall men are doing. Sometimes these exercises are magical for the short folk but an absolute nightmare for the more gangly gentleman.

Good recognition.

Aaaand there's Moma hitting the nail on it's head again. I'm indeed quite tall (6.3 with sneakers on) and most of that length is in legs. That's a long way to go for that barbell from nearly the floor.

Most of those youtube trainers aren't tall at all. at least not the ones I follow like Athlean x and Chris Jones. Not sure how tall Omar Isaf and Brandon Carter are ( that guy is a genetic freak anyway)

PS, just bought your book.

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(This post was last modified: 04-08-2015 02:24 PM by Spike.)
04-08-2015 02:12 PM
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Spike Offline
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RE: My last deadlift
(04-08-2015 02:10 PM)VolandoVengoVolandoVoy Wrote:  Give your back a rest, and then go right back at it, but be smart. Keep the faith!!! I know back injury and it is awful, but it is not the end.
I'm 5 months into an intense cardio and strength training program designed to return me to peak shape...I began this program mere weeks after one doctor recommended I have spinal fusion surgery due to me having multiple herniated discs (a second orthopedist severely cautioned me on the poor outcomes and lifelong consequences of the surgery).
I don't squat or deadlift. I do a three day split twice a week. Only day off is Sunday. Prior to starting a workout I do 30 minutes on a good elliptical machine at the highest difficulty level on a hill interval mode, and each time I try to burn more calories in the same amount of time. Because of this and some other leg exercises I do, my legs are rock solid, and as big as they've ever been but also lean.
My cardiovascular fitness is now nearly equal to what it was when I was a competitive swimmer. It can never be the same due to my age.
My strength, upper body and lower body, is now within 5-10% of my personal bests, all of which I achieved 7 years ago when I lived in Peru and hired a bodybuilder as my personal trainer.
I also focus a lot on core strength via ab exercises and doing different kinds of planks.
Flexibility is a focus as well, I stretch a lot.
I experience little to no back pain in my daily life - the combination of flexibility, muscle, core strength, and legs is protecting me and my posture is good now.
I have 7 weeks until I turn 35, and I want to be in the best shape of my life.

It's great that you're working towards your best shape in your life. I'm doing the same. I'm 38 now and the clock is ticking fast. I'm in very good shape and that's why I gave deadlifting another try.

Not sure how bad my back is this time but it sure as hell isn't as bad as in my early 20's when I even had to wear a back corset for 2 months. Couldn't even take a dump properly. I think my back gave me a serious warning signal today not to fuck around with it anymore.

I think I will be up and running soon enough. My next back workout is on Monday. I might skip the abs workout this week due to the strain on the lower back and perhaps the leg press on Sunday. That leaves me with chest and biceps on Saturday.

I respond pretty good to Valium (diazepam) and taking 5mg before sleep works wonders for me. It induces good deep sleep and is a muscle relaxer. Will take it a few days.

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04-08-2015 02:23 PM
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gadabout Offline
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RE: My last deadlift
Do you have access to a hex bar? I have a rubbish back so my trainer got me on to these. It feels a lot more natural because you can feel the lift directly through the core to your feet as opposed to your back doing all the work. Has the same results apparently. Actually I wonder if squatting heavy dumbbells to the side might do the same job.
(This post was last modified: 04-08-2015 03:00 PM by gadabout.)
04-08-2015 02:57 PM
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Fast Eddie Offline
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RE: My last deadlift
Is it normal to feel a dull, aching lower back pain for several days after doing deadlifts? I don't feel any discomfort during the exercise itself, but for almost a week afterwards I have this persistent ache that doesn't feel like your typical post workout muscle soreness. On the other hand, it's not a sharp shooting pain, either, so I'm not 100% sure if I should be concerned.

My fear is that I may be doing slow, gradual damage to the soft tissue of the spine. If you dislocate a disk you will know it immediately and will have no choice but to stop due to the agony. But it's also possible to insidiously accumulate damage to the cartilage in the spine and gradually move shit around in there, the same way a fat motherfucker wears down his knees over the years without having to endure a specfic catastrophic injury like an ACL tear.

I'm pretty obsessed about my joints because I consider them the single greatest determining factor of your quality of life in middle age and beyond. For this reason I only do deadlifts once every 2 weeks, so that the ache from a previous deadlifting session is completely gone for a few days before the next session. Am I fuking something up with my form, or is this kind of ache normal?
04-08-2015 03:27 PM
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Spike Offline
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RE: My last deadlift
@gadabout - No hex bar at my gym. I have done a few sets of goblet squats last week. That went reasonably well until I slightly pulled a muscle in my glutes. Nothing serious though but it seems that whenever I deviate from my usual routine injuries are close by.

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(This post was last modified: 04-08-2015 03:28 PM by Spike.)
04-08-2015 03:27 PM
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Kieran Offline
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RE: My last deadlift
I injured my back deadlifting too, years ago. My form was good, I thought I'd had a great workout, I didn't feel anything happen. But I went home and a few hours later my back was tight and fucked, and I could hardly move out of the chair. Spent weeks where the only thing that helped the pain was going for walks which seemed to loosen it up.

I do deadlift again now, but only partials off at least 4 inch blocks, and I don't push too hard (I run 5/3/1 for the movement, but only do the prescribed reps, no AMRAP sets). I actually really enjoy the partials and feel like they're just as beneficial, and much easier to keep a neutral spine for taller people.

As for not injuring oneself if using good form etc., I'd generally agree that good form reduces risk greatly, but then I've seen biceps go on the preacher bench on warm up sets, and pec tears on the bench with 135, all with good form (and these were experienced guys with no previous injuries, no imbalances, or tight muscles as far as I was aware).
(This post was last modified: 04-08-2015 03:30 PM by Kieran.)
04-08-2015 03:28 PM
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Spike Offline
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RE: My last deadlift
@fast Eddie. I think you answered your own question in the second paragraph. I wouldn't risk if I were you.

As I said in my OP I make good gains without deadlifting, I was just looking for that extra bit and since everyone always preaches about the 3 big lifts, I was stubborn to the little voice in the back of my head and tried anyway.

It seems like that when I NOT do the "big three", everything's seems fine for me. Last year I stopped using the barbell bench press too and no longer have the shoulder injury that ached me for nearly 16 years. I use the seated press machine now and can even go to the max now since I no longer have the fear of being stuck under the barbell ( I don't have a training partner). I'm growing really well with just isolation movements. It seems my body can't handle the "big three" very well and has no need for them either.

I only care about esthactics. I don't care for personal max or one rep maxes. Body building itself provides much strength already and I don't see the use for super heavy lifting besides for showing off.

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(This post was last modified: 04-08-2015 03:46 PM by Spike.)
04-08-2015 03:44 PM
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Moma Offline
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RE: My last deadlift
(04-08-2015 02:12 PM)Spike Wrote:  PS, just bought your book.

Thanks for the support!

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04-08-2015 04:33 PM
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civpro Offline
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RE: My last deadlift
Personally I love deadlifts, but if you don't want to do them, don't do them. Like who cares at the end of the day. They're not "required". No one lift is required. If you want to build up your legs/posterior chain some other way then do it some other way, i.e. through squats, machines, isolations, etc.

I think deadlifts are the ultimate strength lift, but an overrated bodybuilding lift, and we're not professional athletes here, we're just regular bros trying to look decent. Life's too short to be caught up in some DYEL mentality. And to be quite frank, for attracting girls (if that's what it's about for you) it's more about face, height, & upper body. Anything else is a coping mechanism.
04-08-2015 04:38 PM
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Post: #24
RE: My last deadlift
Have you tried light kettlebell swings and jefferson curls ?

You can decide whether or not to deadlift for yourself, I don't care, but what you've described indicates injury or muscle imbalance that will inevitably get worse.
04-08-2015 04:43 PM
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H1N1
H1N1 Offline
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Post: #25
RE: My last deadlift
(04-08-2015 01:55 PM)Spike Wrote:  
(04-08-2015 10:46 AM)H1N1 Wrote:  Done properly, deadlifts and sandbag/odd object lifts are, in my view, the very best exercises you can do for building a strong and resilient back, and a fundamental human movement pattern.

Any injury obtained is likely the result of either poor form, an existing underlying injury, or a muscular imbalance. There is nothing fundamentally wrong with the exercise, indeed it is an excellent strength and muscle builder, and will encase your vulnerable spine in thick cords of protective and supportive muscle.

Deadlifting a barbell weighing 160lbs should not lead to injury in a healthy adult. Without wishing to be disparaging, I recently saw a video of a 13 year old boy weighing under 140lbs deadlifting 315lbs without any trouble at all. I simply do not believe there is any circumstance where a healthy and otherwise normal adult male lacks the capacity with proper training to out-lift a barely pubescent child.

It sounds to me like your pre-existing injury was not properly rehabbed, or something else was drastically wrong. A hip hinge movement is, as I've mentioned, a fundamental human movement pattern, and if you can't perform it under a very modest load, then you have a much bigger problem than the deadlift.

It's exactly this kind kind of bro-science advice which is prevalent all over YouTube and forums that suckered me into dead-lifting again. It's just not for everyone. People who have success with deadlifting may have genetically strong lower backs. I don't. When I worked in construction as a carpenter for nearly 8 years my lower back was also always killing me.

I do use slow and proper form in all my exercises and I too laugh when I see people use momentum just to lift heavy weights. I leave my ego in the locker room when I lift. I'm 38 and left all youthful brazenness behind me. I don't need to proof myself to anyone and I don't give if a fuck a 10 year old can do a 500 kg deadlift and I can't.

Like I said, it was the last time I got suckered into this kind of lifting. There's is no one-size-fits-all exercise. I can't barbell squat either. Another one of the staple exercises half the bodybuilding and fitness community is lyrical about.

What can I do? Just about anything but not those two "staple" exercises and with good success and growth but just like everyone else in the gym I'm looking for that little extra edge.

Herniating discs isn't cool bro.

I don't usually argue on the internet, but I think this needs to be addressed.

Nothing in my post is bro science, it is demonstrable fact. Hinging at the hip under moderate load is an absolutely fundamental human movement.

There is nothing inherently dangerous about a movement that involves hinging at the hip to lift something off the floor.

I was very clear that issues experienced as a result of deadlifting are the result of pre-existing injury that has not been properly rehabbed, an imbalance, or bad form. Healthy (read: adults with no lingering injuries) do not hurt themselves lifting light loads.

None of that suggests you should have been deadlifting. It is most likely that you have failed to properly rehab your previous injury, developed negative posture traits during your injury which have created imbalances over the intervening years, or have some kind of degeneration in the disk itself. Any one of those would be a perfectly good reason for you personally, with your own injury history, to avoid deadlifting.

What is not an excuse is height, or that the lift is fundamentally dangerous. That is the only broscience, and anyone without a pre-existing back condition, who is to all intents and purposes healthy, has nothing to fear from it. Deadlifting and picking odd objects up from the floor are the most effective way of adding strength and mass to your spinal erectors and back more generally.

Crashbangwallop is perfectly correct that rows are an excellent way of adding muscle to the back, although they do not add muscle to the lower back particularly effectively. This is not at odds with my original post, and at no point did I say you must do deadlifts. If your lower back is weak, it seems reasonable to suggest that you ought to try to strengthen it, even if you personally cannot do deadlifts or odd objects.
04-08-2015 04:56 PM
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