The kettlebell swing, the deadlift, the hip thrusters, were not responsible for hurting your back. The way you do them did. In fact doing deadlifts, swings and hip thrusters are great for your back, you just have to do them right. The deadlift done wrong will leave you in a world of back pain but the deadlift done right is one if not the best things you could do to bulletproof your back.
Side note – – I would highly recommend doing a functional movement screen test to see if you have earned the right to deadlift or swing. Yes you have to earn the right to deadlift/swing. If you don’t it is probably going to be a fast route to an injured back.
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There are usually a handful of reasons why you hurt your back while deadlifting or swinging. The big ones I see are
Hips that get too tight.
When deadlifting you want to get full extension from the hips, but if the hips are tight you typically end up getting extension from the lower back. As one extends through their lumbar spine all the discs back there squash down one another and ultimately result in pain
You’re not creating enough intra-abdominal pressure
Intra Abdominal pressure is a mechanism for stabilising the spine. Essentially filling your belly with air by sharply inhaling through the nose will increase your intra abdominal pressure resulting in a compression like stiffness that will surround and support your spine.
If your breathing is off then you will not be able to create the core stability your spine needs to hold strong.
Your glutes are weak
Your glutes are the primary muscles involved in deadlifting and swinging. If you have weak glutes because you sit on them all day then something else will have to pick up the slack when you lift a given weight. That something else is usually the lower back and that’s not what the lower back is designed for
The stronger your glutes are the safer your back will be
Your patterning is poor
For whatever reason your brain just can’t seem to figure out how to pattern the deadlift or swing. With every exercise you do there is a level of “getting organised.’’ This is your brain telling your body which set of muscles and joints need to stabilise and which set of muscles and joints need to move.
Some coaches use cueing techniques such as ‘’push your butt back ‘’ or ‘’keep your chest up’’ to remedy this and while that is okay what the smart folks have found is that we actually learn to pattern far better when we use our sensory systems for feedback. In the case of patterning a deadlift you might start by using a dowel on your back and hinging back from the hips towards a wall
Babies don’t learn to walk by us telling them how too, they learn to walk by looking and feeling it out. We are no different.
Not doing deadlifts and swings will make you weak and you will hurt your back while trying to put socks on 🙂
Doing swings and deadlifts badly will result in some kind of back pain
But perfecting the deadlift and swing will bulletproof your back and make you even more of an awesome athlete and get you shredded and you will look 10 years younger and you will probably win the lottery 😉