It is not normal to have lower back pain after deadlifts if it is a regular occurrence. If it happens once in a while it’s not a big deal.

It is normal to experience some muscle soreness after deadlifts if you haven’t deadlifted in a few weeks or you recently increased your intensity or volume of workouts. 

I’m a powerlifter and doctor of physical therapy and I’ll be answering a few common questions that you may have related to this topic. 

We’ll start with the key takeaways and then expand a bit further into each one. 

If you’re wondering how to fix low back pain after deadlifts check out this article I’ve linked to.

Let’s go!

masters deadlift

Key Takeaways

  • It’s not normal to have lower back pain after deadlifts if it’s happening regularly.

  • If you do experience lower back pain after deadlifts don’t freak out, stay moving, get back to normal activities and lifting with lighter weight and it’ll likely get better in a few days to a few weeks

  • You are not doing more harm than good. Deadlifts are safe and great to build muscle and strength. 

  • It is not common to experience lower back pain with deadlifts regularly, either. It’s common to experience back pain for nearly 100% of the population at some point in life, so if this happens with a deadlift it’s likely just happenstance. 

  • Think about deadlifting and lifting weights as training for daily life. You will build up the resilience of your body and reduce your chance of injury while also extending you life and quality of life.

Is The Deadlift A Safe Exercise For The Lower Back?

The deadlift is a very safe exercise for your lower back. 

Just like any exercise, start with light weight, learn how to do it properly, and you will likely be okay. 

People run into issues when they start trying to lift too heavy and too quickly without warming up and without a proper progression of weight, over time. 

But even so, if you strain your back or even experience a severe back spasm after deadlifting this is not a cause for alarm. 

You likely just strained a muscle which if you keep moving and return to normal activity as soon as possible will likely get better in a few days to a few weeks. 

I’ve seen this happen with dozens of people at this point so I know it to be true. 

So the Deadlift Is Safe? Are You Sure It Doesn’t Do More Harm Than Good?

Still not convinced? 

Okay, I will admit that some people will develop pain after deadlifting. However, like I shared above, this is usually not fatal, and people will recover in a few days to a few weeks. 

Additionally, people who lift weights routinely tend to have less pain and disability than those who don’t lift weights or exercise. 

So sure, you can ‘harm,’ yourself lifting, but you can harm yourself doing anything. 

The reality is that in life you are going to do things that place physical stress on your body. Lifting weights, and especially deadlifts help you prepare for those times of physical stress. 

Think of deadlifting and lifting weights as training for daily life. 

At some point, you’ll need to pick up the heavy bag of dog food, your children, or something else. 

At some point, you will need to move your couch, your chair, your bed, a cast iron skillet, or something else in your home. 

Heck, you might even be moving! And yes, you can hire movers, but you still will have to package things up and move items into boxes. 

Are you getting the message now? Lifting weights is training for everyday life. It’s safe, it can be extremely effective, and the cool thing is the more you do it, the better you get. 

There are few things in life where there is such a direct path to becoming good, that you can see. This is why I love lifting!

Is It Common To Experience Lower Back Pain After Deadlifting?

So you now understand that it’s not normal, but is it common?

I don’t think it’s common, either. 

It’s common for people to brush their teeth, take a shower, and drink water everyday. 

I don’t think it’s common for people to experience lower back pain after deadlifting.


What I do think is common is for people to perceive that it’s common. 

We do this all the time with different occurrences in life. 

We hear a story from someone about how their brother Joe Smoe pulled his back deadlifting, and then we hear it again from someone else, and then we hear it on the news, on google, etc. and we assume that this is just happening all over the place. 

It’s an epidemic!

But we don’t have the whole story.

We don’t know the base rate. 

What is the base rate you ask? Well, let me share a little statistical knowledge with you. 

The base rate is how many times people experience lower back pain with deadlifts per day, divided by how many people deadlift per day. 

I guarantee you that if we had that number (the study hasn’t been done to my knowledge), the percentage of folks that have back pain after deadlifting would be insanely low. 

You probably have more people who have back pain from sitting in their office chairs.

But I digress, you get the point. 

Big picture. Go deadlift. It’s good for you. 

If you aren’t sure where to start, hire a trainer, watch some youtube videos, and start light.