It happens every time. Yesterday’s workout was full of deadlifts. High volume, heavy weights, and you thought about skipping all day (even as you pulled into the gym parking lot). This morning, you felt yourself dragging out of bed a bit slower than usual, the aching and soreness in your back weighing you down and commanding a gentler pace for the day. As specialists in helping fitness athletes get out of pain and back to performance, we’re commonly asked what to do when the lower back is sore after deadlifts. Here are a few of our favorite movements to dial down the discomfort!
As a disclaimer, if you are dealing with more than just muscle soreness and think you may have an actual injury, please check out our schedule to book an assessment for faster relief individualized for your issue.
Lower Back Sore After Deadlifts? Try Segmental Cat / Cow
We’ve all seen or done the standard cat/cow exercise. On the contrary, with the segmental cat/cow variation, we’re striving to be a bit more intentional with the mobility work we are doing.
Place a resistance band over the area of greatest soreness and hold the opposite ends in your hands. Slowly tuck your tailbone under and then try to slowly, as if segment by segment, round your spine as much as possible. The key here is to try and move only one vertebra at a time. That isn’t really possible, but this focused, intentional movement will help to unlock those stiff segments.
We can’t say that these won’t have your friends laughing at the gym, but what we can say is these have helped tons of athletes we work with. These are a great option for rapid relief when athletes complain about their lower backs being sore following deadlifts.
Side-lying Lumbar Rotations
This is another great movement to gently mobilize your lower back that few athletes know about and utilize. Use your bottom hand to hold your knee down as the other hand grabs your lower rib cage and helps pull it down towards the bench. As you move into the stretch, exhale to sink deeper into the movement. Repeat on both sides.
Hip Hinging with Dowel
Finally, let’s do an unloaded deadlift by practicing our hip hinge with a dowel. This movement works on our ability to move from the hips while keeping our low back rigid, which is ideally the same position we want to maintain next time we deadlift. With lower back soreness after deadlifts, doing this unloaded movement is a great way to loosen things up and keep moving.
Be sure to also check out this article discussing improving your deadlift technique.
Assault Bike Intervals
Yes, I know that NO ONE wants to do assault bike intervals, but they are a great way to start pumping some blood into your lower back to wash away the chemical inflammation and irritation. This does a fantastic job of decreasing your lower back soreness after deadlifts.
Here’s our recommended workout:
- 5 rounds:
- 3-minute Assault Bike at 50/45 RPM
- 2-minute Assault Bike at 55/50 RPM
- 1-minute Assault Bike at 60/55 RPM
- Rest 1 minute between rounds
Dealing with more than a little muscle soreness? Schedule an appointment today to get back to feeling and performing your best as soon as possible! Our physical therapy clinics across the country specialize in helping fitness athletes get back to the barbell after tweaks!