IS ROUND BACK DEADLIFT BAD FOR YOU ?

round back deadlift

Before we start discussing whether round back deadlift is ok or not, I would like to ask you to weight a few seconds for the video to load and watch how the Latvian competitor and world record holder for raw deadlift, Konstantīns Konstantinovs, does it. Some internets might be slow, just be patient.


Konstantinovs Deadlift 426kg(939lb) RAW

 
So why rounding your back is bad ? You watch professional power-lifters like the one in the video and they deadlift that super heavy weight with their backs looking like cat stretching after a long nap, shouldn’t you learn from them ? The answer is yes, if you are after your max deadlift you should, and there is nothing wrong with rounding your back if you know what you are doing. Actually you would be really surprised how much more you can deadlift with a proper round back position… Ho ho, slow down, before you run to the gym and injure permanently your lower back, you need to stay on this page and read this article carefully, the above picture and the video are a lot different than what they seem to be. Deadlift is actually a more technical and more complex lift than you think. I can assure you that the majority of those nice, round cat shaped backs in your local body-building gym, are probably not exactly the same round backs that we’re going to talk about here.


Importance Of The Round Back

To make things clear right in the beginning, you are not rounding your lower back, your lower back is supposed to be flat or in the neutral position if you prefer, and this is how you should strive to maintain it during your lift. Think about it in terms of your vertebral column function. The lumbar spine is meant to stabilize and the thoracic spine and muscles of the mid-upper back, are meant to round and load weight. If you arch your lower back too much over the course of the lift, it is no longer being used for stabilization. A mid-to-upper back and its surrounding muscles round naturally, and they are meant to do it, this is when you are at your strongest. In a rounded position, your hips will be closer to a vertical line with the bar, which will give you a mechanical advantage in moving the weight off the floor. This is also why Olympic gymnasts maintain that hollow position (rounded mid back), it helps utilize the strength of the scapular and other back muscles during all this crazy positions like planches, front levers etc. Without strong hollow, it wouldn’t be possible to perform some of these feats. So, if your goal is to deadlift some crazy weight, you need deeper understanding of the deadlift than the one you acquired at one of the personal training courses.


Deadlift Technique

Training deadlift is much more than lifting bar from the floor. It is a very technical movement and for high level competitive lifters, it requires training flexibility, technique, and many other supplementary exercises to develop muscular as well as ligamentous strength. All these need a serious and very well thought through approach, which can be different between gyms and coaches. For an average gym goer the best explanation will be the below video. Just listen carefully to what this guy tells you, if you follow his instruction you will acquire this flexed thoracic position without specially paying attention or thinking how to keep your back rounded. He also has many other good points which

 
I bet you have done slightly different way. More advanced lifters can take a look at this video which shows one of the exercises to specifically train round back for deadlifts. I say more advanced because I would not prescribe this exercise for an average fitness enthusiast, newbies need some serious number of hours practicing conventional deadlift and doing a lot of other prehab exercises to strengthen muscles, ligaments and tendons, which will also minimise possibility of a serious injury. Remember, do not simply start attempting your heaviest deadlift with deliberately rounded back, the Round Back Deadlift is a tool for teaching how to use this thoracic flexion that will often occur naturally with near maximal deadlifts, you shouldn’t make these attempts just like that.


Hyperextending Your Hips

lockout-deadlift
Let’s quickly mention the lockout. Exaggerating the lockout by leaning back is something really bad for your lower back, same as is Deadlifting with a round lower back. Again, you will see those guys in your local fitness gym, locking out the position and than deliberately hyperextending their lower backs. Geez, when I think about it, it sends the shivers down my spine. You need to keep in mind that power-lifters will sometimes do this to prove the judges that they’ve locked the weight, but proving something to win competition is a totally different story. I can assure you that when they train lockouts, they do not do what your friends from the gym do. Training lockouts is a part of the deadlift workout, but first it requires identifying a problem and than applying a smart approach. If you think you have a problem with it, you might want to read a little bit more before you start arching your back with heavier weights, meanwhile, just lock the weight out by extending your knees, pushing your hips forward, giving your glutes a good squeeze and standing up straight, your ankles, knees, hips, shoulders and ears should be in one straight line at end of a rep, No need to lean back.


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Disclaimer

The physical activities described herein are for informational purposes only.They may be too strenuous or dangerous for some people. If in doubt consult a physician or a professional trainer before engaging in them. The author of this article will not be responsible in any manner whatsoever for any injury or mishaps that may occur through following the above instructions.



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