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Suggestions for deadlift replacement exercises?

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  • Suggestions for deadlift replacement exercises?

    I would like to strengthen my back, but have limitations due to an old injury. Every time I load up the barbells for a few sets of five reps, I end up with a low back muscle spasm and I'm out for another month. This has happened several times now, so I've concluded that deadlifts just are not going to work for me.

    It is possible that I am having form issues, but from what I can tell from the mirror and comments from observers I'm not making any egregious errors in my technique. I am following Rippetoe's instructions to the letter.

    I started doing kettlebell swings, and that seems to be helping my back, but I am doing 50+ reps so it is more of an endurance exercise than real strengthening, though I am slowly increasing the swing weight. I am doing barbell back squats pretty religiously which also works my back somewhat, and does not provoke the spasms.

    Suggestions? I realize I'll likely have to try several alternatives before I find something that avoids injury yet really builds the muscles in my back, so really just looking for ideas.
    Click here for my hiking and backpacking Youtube Channel

  • #2
    good mornings. glute-ham raises. bird dogs. maybe use a trap bar to shift the focus a bit. perhaps use less weight and really get the form in check?

    i'm not a fan of kettlebell swings at all. I mean, the 1 handed ones are a decent exercise, but most people opt for the god-awful 2 handed ones. which are a disaster waiting to happen

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    • #3
      I'd definitely check form. Seems strange that any attempt to deadlift results in you being out of commission for a month.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Sonoran hotdog View Post
        I would like to strengthen my back, but have limitations due to an old injury. Every time I load up the barbells for a few sets of five reps, I end up with a low back muscle spasm and I'm out for another month. This has happened several times now, so I've concluded that deadlifts just are not going to work for me.

        It is possible that I am having form issues, but from what I can tell from the mirror and comments from observers I'm not making any egregious errors in my technique. I am following Rippetoe's instructions to the letter.
        Then just suck it up, listen to your guru and try to figure out how to deadlift without pain!

        If you have lower back problems I guess it will affect you when doing T-bar rows or barbell rows as well, so dumbbell rows with knee on the bench, or chest supported rows can be a replacement possibility. Also try reverse hyperextensions if you can do them...
        "All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident."

        - Schopenhauer

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Sonoran hotdog View Post
          I would like to strengthen my back, but have limitations due to an old injury. Every time I load up the barbells for a few sets of five reps, I end up with a low back muscle spasm and I'm out for another month. This has happened several times now, so I've concluded that deadlifts just are not going to work for me.

          It is possible that I am having form issues, but from what I can tell from the mirror and comments from observers I'm not making any egregious errors in my technique. I am following Rippetoe's instructions to the letter.

          I started doing kettlebell swings, and that seems to be helping my back, but I am doing 50+ reps so it is more of an endurance exercise than real strengthening, though I am slowly increasing the swing weight. I am doing barbell back squats pretty religiously which also works my back somewhat, and does not provoke the spasms.

          Suggestions? I realize I'll likely have to try several alternatives before I find something that avoids injury yet really builds the muscles in my back, so really just looking for ideas.
          I vote for RDL's. You should see a gradual increase in the range of motion until you strengthen the wonky section and I bet you'll be able to pull from the floor eventually.
          The Champagne of Beards

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          • #6
            I do strictly bodyweight exercises.

            Check these out:
            Poly deadlift

            Reverse sit-up

            http://www.alkavadlo.com/2012/09/04/...-alternatives/

            http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=hJn2UPa...%3DhJn2UPaicZc

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            • #7
              Originally posted by not on the rug View Post
              good mornings. glute-ham raises. bird dogs. maybe use a trap bar to shift the focus a bit. perhaps use less weight and really get the form in check?
              i'm not a fan of kettlebell swings at all. I mean, the 1 handed ones are a decent exercise, but most people opt for the god-awful 2 handed ones. which are a disaster waiting to happen
              Thanks for the list - now i just need to look them up to see what they are...
              Why the opposition to KB swings? I do the god-awful two-handed ones with no issues. What disasters have you seen?
              Click here for my hiking and backpacking Youtube Channel

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              • #8
                Originally posted by quikky View Post
                I'd definitely check form. Seems strange that any attempt to deadlift results in you being out of commission for a month.
                I can get a back muscle spasm from bending over and making the bed....though I haven't for some time.
                Click here for my hiking and backpacking Youtube Channel

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Gorbag View Post
                  Then just suck it up, listen to your guru and try to figure out how to deadlift without pain!

                  If you have lower back problems I guess it will affect you when doing T-bar rows or barbell rows as well, so dumbbell rows with knee on the bench, or chest supported rows can be a replacement possibility. Also try reverse hyperextensions if you can do them...
                  I've tried to suck it up several times to no avail.
                  Oddly enough T-bar rows don't seem to be an issue, though I have gone for higher reps and not heavy weights. I sometimes do reverse hypers as a warmup, including before my abortive attempts at deadlifts.
                  Click here for my hiking and backpacking Youtube Channel

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by RichMahogany View Post
                    I vote for RDL's. You should see a gradual increase in the range of motion until you strengthen the wonky section and I bet you'll be able to pull from the floor eventually.
                    Good thought. Why RDL's as opposed to a regular deadlift from mid-shin? When I look at the diagrams they look like a recipe for back pain.
                    Click here for my hiking and backpacking Youtube Channel

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                    • #11
                      Landmine rows buddy ! Stick a towel in the corner of the room/gym and then stick one end of the barbell into it. Load up the opposite end with weight and you are good to go. When I use my left arm I brace my right arm across my legs with my hand on my left knee, this helps with the stability and relieves the lower back a little. I obviously do the opposite when working the right side.
                      One other tip with these is to also apply downward pressure on the bar as you perform the row, this really helps add extra tension into the back muscles.
                      I've been making some great gains since doing this movement, give it a try and let me know how it works out.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Primal_BK View Post
                        I do strictly bodyweight exercises.
                        Check these out:
                        Poly deadlift
                        Reverse sit-up
                        Bodyweight Deadlift Alternatives
                        http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=hJn2UPa...%3DhJn2UPaicZc
                        These look pretty interesting, thanks. I do a partial bridge (shoulders on the floor) and reverse sit-ups every morning. The one-legged deadlifts look very interesting.

                        Which brings up another side-topic - I've had another post I've been thinking about making for some time now wondering whether the PBF should include explicit balance exercises. Yes, its often covered in the "play" activities implicitly, but as we age it might make sense to target balance as a specific fitness outcome.

                        Thanks. Yours was a very helpful response.
                        Click here for my hiking and backpacking Youtube Channel

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Sonoran hotdog View Post
                          Thanks for the list - now i just need to look them up to see what they are...
                          Why the opposition to KB swings? I do the god-awful two-handed ones with no issues. What disasters have you seen?
                          Rationalizing the Swing: Why the American Swing Is Wrong | Breaking Muscle

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Sonoran hotdog View Post
                            Thanks for the list - now i just need to look them up to see what they are...
                            Why the opposition to KB swings? I do the god-awful two-handed ones with no issues. What disasters have you seen?
                            I fail to see how the Kettle bell swing could even be considered as a half decent back exercise. Other than working the lower back the function and style of the lift makes it very poor for the rest of your back.
                            To work the back you need a vertical pull ( Pulldowns, Chin ups, Pull ups )and a Vertical row ( Seated machine rows, cable rows, barbell rows, dumbbell rows or as I suggested previously and highly recommend One handed Landmine rows).

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by OldSchhool View Post
                              Landmine rows buddy ! Stick a towel in the corner of the room/gym and then stick one end of the barbell into it. Load up the opposite end with weight and you are good to go. When I use my left arm I brace my right arm across my legs with my hand on my left knee, this helps with the stability and relieves the lower back a little. I obviously do the opposite when working the right side.
                              One other tip with these is to also apply downward pressure on the bar as you perform the row, this really helps add extra tension into the back muscles.
                              I've been making some great gains since doing this movement, give it a try and let me know how it works out.
                              This has promise, thanks. When I Google it, there seem to be a number of variations: one-handed, two-handed (straddle bar), lateral twisting motion, etc. Did you try several variations before settling on the one-handed variation? Why one-handed instead of two?
                              Click here for my hiking and backpacking Youtube Channel

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