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  • Dr. Michael Mollenhauer

Topic: Deadlifts

This one always gets me going. If you lift weights and have seen me in my office, this has been discussed. I’m not going to go over the technical details on the technique of deadlifts, my plan is simply to tell you to quit doing them. Forever. Here’s why:


Deadlifts are a main component of many workout routines and one of the big three for powerlifting events. They are commonly performed all over the world. None of these facts makes them a great idea. I tell people in my office all the time “if I had a quarter for every time someone came in to my office and SPECIFICALLY identified deadlifts as the cause of their back pain, I’d have enough to dine out and order one of everything on the menu”. This is not a joke.


Why are they a bad idea? Because you have good technique, right? So doing a deadlift shouldn’t be a big deal. Guess how often people tell me their technique is sub-optimal? I am still waiting for the first time. The overall risk reward with deadlifts is VERY poor. I won’t argue that muscles are not being exercised doing this motion, but the risk associated is extreme.


Another issue is even for the rare few that have decent technique, when fatigued, that goes out the window. This is especially important with competitive situations. If the person across from you just did 8 reps, you certainly need to do 8, if not 9. Normally at that weight you stop at 6, you see where this is going. Fatigue deteriorates technique and your back is the loser (me the winner).


Having said all this, most people will continue to do deadlifts. We all know smoking is bad and more than zero people do that. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.


Until next time, do lunges instead.

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