Are deadlifts safe for your back?

If an apple a day keeps the doctor away, then a deadlift a day keeps the back pain away!

Lower back pain is a common presentation that is often influenced by a multitude of factors that fluctuate day to day. We know that things such as sleep, stress, diet, exercise, energy levels and mood can all influence how and what we feel on any particular day. Along with the other great exercises that we use, deadlifts are a safe exercise and a great addition to a rehab program, targeting muscles, ligaments and tendons. They are often utilised for athletes, powerlifting and as well general strength and conditioning.

Deadlifts are a great tool for managing and preventing lower back pain

They are also great for building full body strength, decreasing symptoms and giving our lower backs the support we need in our day to day lives, improving overall quality of life. They are a functional movement that we often find ourselves doing at home, these things include lifting laundry, picking up heavy grocery bags, moving furniture, lifting children and much more! Having adequate strength, endurance and control during a deadlift movement which allows us to confidently go about our daily lives.

Deadlifts target the muscles in our posterior chain, the muscles along the backside of out bodies.

The glutes and hamstrings are the primary drivers of the deadlifting movement, as well as our core muscles and deep back muscles acting as stabilisers for the spine when we lift. Deadlifts also requires a strong stable shoulder girdle, so essentially it’s a full body workout!

Similarly to other exercises, there is a potential risk of injury, however when performed safely and with the correct form, the benefits of lifting are much greater than the risks. Research shows that a tailored deadlifting program with a gradual progression in weight and reps, may be effective in reducing lower back pain as it improves back strength and endurance of the muscles that support our spine.

Overall, the deadlift is a great addition to any strength and conditioning program, with or without lower back pain. It is a functional yet efficient exercise that targets many muscle groups within your body.



Berglund, L., Björn Aasa, Hellqvist, J., Michaelson, P., & Ulrika Aasa. (2015). Which Patients With Low Back Pain Benefit From Deadlift Training? The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research29(7), 1803–1811. https://doi.org/10.1519/jsc.0000000000000837

Cole, A., & Shafer, A. (Faculty M. (2020). Can a Conventional Deadlift Exercise Reduce Low Back Pain in Physical Therapy Patients? Scholarworks.montana.edu. https://scholarworks.montana.edu/items/af0b3305-2c20-4a74-bacd-b8bf964415b8

Fischer, S. C., Calley, D. Q., & Hollman, J. H. (2021). Effect of an Exercise Program That Includes Deadlifts on Low Back Pain. Journal of Sport Rehabilitation, 30(4), 672–675. https://doi.org/10.1123/jsr.2020-0324

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