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Lower Back Pain From RDLs: Tips And Relief

Lower back pain rdl

If you’ve done RDLs before then you know stress it places on your lower back. Deadlifts are such an elite exercise but Is it worth the risk? In this blog, we’ll give you the tools to prevent lower back injury from RDLs while keeping the exercise in your training routine. 

Lower Back Pain From RDLs - Quick Fixes

Right off the bat, there are some things you can do to help prevent low back pain from RDLs. The first thing is not trying to be a hero and maxing out. Poor form is one of the most common reasons people experience lower back pain from RDLs. 

Not engaging your core or activating your glutes can result in back pain when doing RDLs or B-Stance RDLs. You should feel like you're pulling back and away from the bar instead of just straight up. That being said you should make sure the bar is as close to your shins as possible to take the most pressure off your lower back.

Going in cold and rushing the exercise is another common way people injure their lower backs from rdls. Lifting the weight off the ground in a jerking-type motion is never going to do your lower back any favors. Especially without any warm-up or stretching, this is a recipe for disaster. Fast twitch movement limits how quickly your stabilization muscles (erector spinae) can activate, forcing the burden on the lumbar spine. Lower back pain from deadlifts and lower back pain from squats also have the same effect.

This can potentially lead to muscle imbalances, strains, sprains, disc problems, or other serious injuries.

Do RDLs Target The Lower Back?

When completed properly the RDL can be a great exercise for strengthening the lower back along with the glutes and hamstrings. 

rdl lower back pain

Although the hamstrings and glutes are the main targets of RDLs, the muscles of the lower back are also important for maintaining the stability of the spine during the exercise.

As you keep your back straight and lean forward at the hips, this stability supports the load which helps in maintaining appropriate spinal alignment. To do the exercise effectively, the lower back muscles must collaborate with the hamstrings and glutes, working the entire posterior chain. 

RDL Lower Back Pain - Post Lift:

Whether it be the RDL exercise or not, if you're experiencing any lower back pain from lifting, it is critical to tackle it before getting back into your routine. Distinguishing the difference between pain and soreness is important in understanding what you're dealing with. Lower back pain tends to ache and cause sharp pain, especially when bending over, lifting, twisting, or making an awkward/sudden movement.

Pain has the potential to become chronic if ignored. Soreness on the other hand can be tracked by how tender the muscle is to touch and normally goes away in one to three days.

does rdls work lower back?


Feeling RDL In Lower Back? Try This

Pain from RDLs frequently causes the muscles in the lower back to become stiff and tight, which can be irritating and painful. 

Quadratus Lumborum:

The quadratus lumborum (QL) muscle is a thin, flat, quad-shaped muscle that wraps ​​from the top of the hip to the lowest rib and also connects all along the lumbar vertebrae [1]. These connections give Quadratus Lumborum strong leverage in side bending the torso, and also in stabilization of the spine.

The QL acts as the deepest layer of defense to the spine, and when this muscle breaks down or becomes tight, it can cause a great deal of lower back pain, especially post-RDLs.

With an exercise such as the RDL, stress is placed on the QL muscle that is higher than other exercises which can affect its capacity to handle said load.


Relieving tightness and Pain In The QL

Below is a video on why the quadratus lumborum is so important and a tutorial of the the muscle being released effectively with the QL Claw tool. 

Stretching and deep tissue massage are best-used hand in hand with RDLs to increase mobility and release chronic lower back pain.

In this video, we walk through a set of stretches that are intended to focus on the main muscles used in the RDL movement. This will help improve your flexibility and speed up your recovery between lifting sessions.

The QL Claw is the only massage tool designed specifically for Quadratus Lumborum muscle release and muscle-induced lower back pain for cases like this.

QL Claw

Other at-home remedies include warm or cold therapies as well as active recovery methods. But, to avoid aggravating any further problems, it's crucial to allow enough time for recovery in between lifting sessions. Over time your body and especially lower back will thank you.


RDL Lower Back Pain FAQ

Is it normal to feel pain from RDLs in your lower back?

Yes, it's normal to experience some lower back pain following RDLs, particularly from poor form, lifting too much weight, or if the muscles aren't properly warmed up.

What muscles do RDLs work?

RDLs is a full-body exercise that primarily targets the hamstrings, gluteus maximus, and erector spinae of the lower back. 

What's a good alternative to the RDL?

Stiff-legged deadlifts and good mornings are popular substitutes for RDLs since they focus on the hamstrings, glutes, and lower back. A few less strenuous RDL alternatives include back extensions, hyperextensions, glute bridges, and hip thrusts

Is lower back soreness normal after RDLs?

After RDLs, lower back discomfort is common, especially if you're new to the exercise or have just upped the weight or intensity. 


[1] Donnelly, Joseph M. Travell, Simons & Simons Myofascial Pain and Dysfunction: the Trigger Point Manual. 3rd ed., Wolters Kluwer Health, 2019.

[2] Davies, Clair, and Amber Davies. The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook: Your Self-Treatment Guide for Pain Relief. 3rd ed., New Harbinger Publications, Inc., 2013.

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