Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Deadlifts - Is it worth it?

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Deadlifts - Is it worth it?

    Short question - Is the risk-reward ratio of a conventional deadlift worth the potential risk of injury for a recreational lifter?


    More context...

    I’m 35 and have been deadlifting for about 5 years now. (I’ve always lifted conventional)

    I’m able to deadlift twice my bodyweight. Currently 80kg, deadlifting 160kg for 1 set of 5 reps. Haven’t tested my 1RM however most i’ve ever deadlifted was 170kg and then my progress stopped due to life (going on holiday, lockdown, etc).

    I’ve always had good form (video myself, push with my legs, brace, etc) however when I do reach heavy loads, I am aware of the loads I am putting on my lower back. I’m well aware of how to brace and have started using a belt to help, however I’m also aware the deadlift is a very unforgiving exercise and it's not always easy to maintain 100% impeccable form especially as lifting heavy loads.

    I’ve been reading more and more about strongmen/bodybuilders/weightlifters in the industry saying to avoid the deadlift, how the risk vs reward ratio isn’t worth it, etc and it’s got me thinking… Should I avoid it?

    I appreciate it’s a very personal decision however I am curios in getting an answer to these questions…
    1. What is there for me to gain by trying to increase my deadlift? As mentioned above, I'm already deadlifting twice my bodyweight. No longer interested in chasing numbers for the sake of it.
    2. If I was to give up deadlifts, will there be any disadvantages in doing so? I will still be squatting, benching, rowing, etc
    3. My lower back is my main concern, so would it be advisable to switch to sumo instead?
    For the record. I am not planning on competing, I am simply a recreational lifter who lifts weights for health, aesthetics and general well being.


  • #2
    Max,

    Thanks for the post. I think we address this question from a neutral place where we are open to the idea that the deadlift may or may not pose a unique risk of injury in resistance training. To answer that question, I think it's best if we have a better understanding of injury risk in resistance training as a whole.

    First, injury risk is relatively low compared to other non-contact sports at an average 2-4 injuries per 1000 participation hours for competitive lifters across all barbell sports. For context, walking and recreational cycling approach this lower bound. Of these injuries, the majority are short -lived and self-resolving, lasting less than two weeks and requiring no medical care.

    Specific exercises have not been associated with higher or lower incidence of injury, though continued participation in a particular sport increases the likelihood of injury while participating in that sport. It's a a numbers game at that point.

    With regards to the deadlift, the current data comparing incidence of injury in those who deadlift vs. those who do not does not support the claim that the deadlift is uniquely injurious. However, the data does not show that it is protective against low back pain either. Thus, there does not appear to be an increased risk with the deadlift, though the magnitude of the reward requires further personal exploration.

    To your specific questions:

    What is there for me to gain by trying to increase my deadlift?
    Increased strength in the deadlift and exercises it transfers to. Additional muscle mass in the trained muscles unless the muscle groups are trained significantly by other movements.

    If I was to give up deadlifts, will there be any disadvantages in doing so?
    Reduced strength in the deadlift and exercises it transfers to. Reduced muscle mass in the trained muscles unless the muscle groups are trained significantly by other movements.

    My lower back is my main concern, so would it be advisable to switch to sumo instead?
    3) There's no real difference in low back "strain" here, but if you're not going to compete and you're open to variation...I'd train both.

    If you enjoy the deadlift, you should probably keep deadlifting. If you don't want to, that's fine too.

    -Jordan

    Jordan Feigenbaum
    Moderator
    Last edited by Jordan Feigenbaum; 01-11-2022, 04:04 PM.
    Barbell Medicine "With you from bench to bedside"
    ///Website /// Instagram /// Peri™ Rx /// Whey Rx /// Barbell Medicine Podcast/// Newsletter /// Seminars ///

    Comment


    • #3
      Hi Jordan

      Thanks for the response.

      I do agree with your points. I guess I’m just at a place where as I get older, I am more aware of the risks I put myself under as I push for heavier loads.

      Although I don’t suffer from anything serious, I do have niggling lower back pain from time to time however I believe this is mainly from having an office job so sit a lot during the day. It is because of this I am highly aware of anything that would aggravate my lower back pain.

      With the deadlift, I have been in situations where I’ve gone heavy and my form has compromised and I’d feel a twinge in my lower back. A couple of times I even thought i’d pulled something and had to stop immediately. Exactly what Alan Thrall describes in this video -

      This has happened more than once and hasn’t really happened on any other exercise, which is why I say the deadlift seems to be an exercise more unforgiving than others.

      I am not too concerned about getting much stronger with the deadlift (as I once was) but regarding muscle mass, you do mention the benefits of deadlifts “unless the muscle groups are trained significantly by other movements.” This is exactly what I’ll be doing. I’ll be doing Squats, lunges, hip thrusts, Rows and more which I feel, from a hypertrophy perspective, a lot more effective in hitting those areas. This is why I was thinking what extra I’ll gain from deadlifts.

      I do like your idea of training both conventional and sumo though so may carry on with that and introduce sumo and see how I get on. I may decide Sumo may be the answer or simply keep everything the same and just keep the loads manageable. Lots to experiment with!

      Thanks for helping me clarify my thoughts!

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Madmax View Post
        Hi Jordan

        Thanks for the response.

        I do agree with your points. I guess I’m just at a place where as I get older, I am more aware of the risks I put myself under as I push for heavier loads.
        In addition to being only 35, the risk of injury from RT does not seem to increase with age. Not saying you need to deadlift, but I will challenge the belief that getting older makes you inherently more frail.

        You are free to do what you want and what brings you joy, training-wise, for sure
        Barbell Medicine "With you from bench to bedside"
        ///Website /// Instagram /// Peri™ Rx /// Whey Rx /// Barbell Medicine Podcast/// Newsletter /// Seminars ///

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Madmax View Post
          I’m 35 and have been deadlifting for about 5 years now.
          God, you kids kill me. You're still a spring chicken.

          Comment

          Working...
          X