The Deadlift: Friend or Foe? Part 1, by Susan Tyfield

The deadlift is one of the best large compound exercises that you can do to target major muscle groups throughout the body. It would probably be easier to list the muscles a deadlift doesn’t work as it is such a great overall body exercise. Major target muscles are:

  • Gluteals
  • hamstrings
  • erector spinae
  • quadriceps
  • adductors

as well as other stabilizers such as the:

  • trapezius
  • latissimus dorsi
  • rhomboids
  • rectus abdomens
  • abdominal obliques,
  • gastrocnemius

However, research has shown that as one progresses, it is also one of the compound exercises that is most likely to cause injuries, especially low back pain, sciatica, sacroiliac joint pain and facet joint sprain. 1.

At Waterloo Chiropractic Clinic we see a lot of both casual and experienced gym goers that suffer from some form of low back pain or sciatica following an injury involving deadlifting.

Your form when doing a deadlift is extremely important, as is warming up and choosing the variation that works for you. Bracing your core and making sure you avoid rounding your lower back by keeping it flat, avoiding rounding your shoulders and keeping them back and tight, and hinging from the hips are integral to avoiding injury.

With new training styles like CrossFit and F45 where rate of performing an exercise are faster it is even more important to choose a gym where trainers can make sure you aren’t sacrificing form to push out the reps you need for that activity. 2.,3.

To have your low back pin, sciatica or to get some new core stability exercises or earm up ideas, book online at or give us a call on 02 9690 0911 to see one of our chiropractors.

1. International Journal of Sports Medicine. Injuries and Overuse Syndromes in

Powerlifting. J. Siewe1 , J. Rudat, M. Röllinghoff , U. J. Schlegel , P. Eysel , J. W.-

P. Michael. 2011; 32(9): 703-711

2. Rehabilitation process and outcomes. Identifying the Most Common CrossFit Injuries in

a Variety of Athletes. Kirill Alekseyev, Alex John, Andrew Malek. First Published January

22, 2020

3. The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. The nature and prevalence of injury

during Crossfit training. Hak, PT, Hodzovic, E, Hickey, B. 2013

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