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Client is reporting intense quad burn during DL sets

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  • Client is reporting intense quad burn during DL sets


    I am working with a client who, as the title suggests, has a pretty bad burn in her quads when she deadlifts. The way she's describing it, it seems like it's an intense lactic acid burn in her quads. This is present when she sets up for the deadlift, especially when she takes her time setting up for a rep. The burn gets so bad that it seems to prevent her from completing a rep of any sufficient weight on the lift. My temporary fix for her is to set up for the rep quicker, as this helps to mitigate the burn, but it's only temporary. She'll end up getting the burn eventually in the workout.

    She usually DLs after squatting, but even when she DLs first in the workout, it's present.

    I've asked another fitness "guru" about this on another forum, and he suggested that she's getting soreness that's residual from previous workouts, and that she needs to eat more food so that she's not under recovered, but I'm highly skeptical of this, and I'm pretty sure eating more won't fix this problem. She's a little discouraged as the Deadlift is her favorite lift.

    The burn is only present when she works out, and any sets of 4 or more in the squats, or even sets of 3 with paused squats seems to instigate this burn. How can I help her, and what is going on with her, and have you seen this issue before? Thank you for your time and I appreciate all of your help!

    She's approximately 5'3" and ~120lbs if that helps. Thanks again!

  • #2
    Hi there!

    Thanks for reaching out. I am sorry that your client is experiencing thus symptom. It’s quite hard to provide specific recommendations without providing your client with a remote consult as there are many factors that could be in play.
    I would encourage you to consider the following:
    1. Training history. Is this individual new to training? Has she experienced an acute increase in her training load? Are we doing too much too soon? Sometimes the answer is just try doing LESS for a little bit.
    2. Have you tried doing something different? It sounds like your client really enjoys deadlifts, but there are many varieties of a conventional deadlift. Can you pivot away from her deadlift for a period of time and try something else (sumo, RDLs, paused deadlifts, etc). Once she gains symptom relief you could slowly grade back in her deadlifts. It also wouldn’t hurt to be trying some single leg movements at this time (SLDL).
    3. Is your client lifting with a belt? If so, she could try loosening slightly as sometimes the belt can be too tight and mimic some radiculopathy symptoms in the legs.
    There are many different ways to approach this. I hope that some of this is helpful to you. If your client isn’t seeing any relief, I would recommend a remote consult with our team in order to dive a bit deeper.

    Good luck!

    Hannah Mora, PT