Dead Lift caused strange pain


Active Member
So, two weeks ago I went out and bought an Olympic weight set. Two weeks ago I also started doing dead lifts for the first time in years. So I have been taking it slow trying to get my form right.

Last night I felt really, really good so I thought it was time to find my 5 RM. I kept adding 5 lb to each side doing one rep until I though I was close to what would be my 5 RM. I got to that weight and still felt great. Form was good, my back felt strong…everything was good.

Then, I got ready to try what I thought would be my 5 RM. I got setup, started to pull and…..POP! I have never felt anything like this before and the pop came from someplace I never would have expected doing a dead lift. The pain was right where my abs come together with my ribs on my left side. Actually right were my first short rib is (the ribs that don’t connect to the sternum).

It only hurts at the point right where they come together. My ribs themselves don’t hurt and my abs don’t hurt though. It is really strange. It does hurt badly if I twist my trunk to the right and stretch the abs in that location. There doesn’t appear to be any swelling or bruising though unless it is under my abs and I can’t see it.

The only thing I can figure caused this to happen is that I didn’t have my midsection properly tightened before I started to pull. This prompts a question. When doing a dead lift should you expand and tighten your midsection while you are standing up before you get into the starting position or do you do it while you are in the starting position. I was doing it in the starting position. But the more I think about it, it seems like that is not where you would want to do it. So which is correct?

Any insight into this would be appreciated.
At the bottom of the deadlift, when your butt is down like in the hole for an olympic squat, you take a full breath pushing your diaphragm down to get a "belly full" of air and hold it, pushing your abdomen out. This internal pressure pushes the abdominals out and the back musculature out, preventing anything from "giving". This uses your built in weight belt and saves your back. it also saves you from injuring things like your ribcage.

I'd say the pop was likely some kind of adhesion turning loose from going heavy on a movement you aren't used to. Your 5RM on deadlift is a damn heavy weight for your body to handle, keep working lighter for a while until you are totally comfortable and competent with the movement.
Thanks for the reply Vagrant.

Your description on how to prepare for the lift is exactly what I was doing. I have performed the dead lift in the past with no problems. But it has been a few years since I have performed the lift which is why I took the first two weeks slow and fairly light. I guess I still pushed it a little to fast and probably should have given it a couple more weeks before going that heavy. I guess I have no choice but to wait now while my abdomen heals.

What exactly do you mean when you say "the pop was likely some kind of adhesion turning loose"? Are you talking about a ligament or other connective tissue? I will probably give it a week or two of rest to see how I feel and if there is no improvement I will go get checked out.
I'm new to them too man. I'm having a bit of a time trying to simultaneously "explode" every muscle in the body, as I read you're supposed to, meanwhile, pressing the abs, pumping out the chest, and a dozen different mental things we're supposed to be doing at once...while blood is trickling down into my shoe from my shins, the weight is a little intimidating, and none of the pro's have checked me out for form yet.
Are you officially a PL when your shins bleed? Dang, those knurls are sharp!
Weak on your abs. Do you wear a belt? I have heard guys say they never wear a lifting belt, but when I am going heavy for squats or deads, the belt keeps my core from 'popping'. I will never go heavy without it (5 rm or more).
No I don't use a belt.  I have never liked them because I'm always afraid I may be relying on it to much and not developing the core strength I need.  I guess I have always thought that if I can't lift the weight without a belt then I shouldn’t be lifting it.

I guess by my own admission I shouldn't have been lifting that weight, eh?  

Seriously though, I'm not lifting enough weight that I should need a belt.  If I were pulling twice my body weight I would probably be using a belt.  But I'm no where near that weight yet.

I think what happened was that I didn't have my core stabilized before I started the lift that time.  I think it was probably from a lack of concentration.  What I will probably do in the future is not wear a belt for my 15's and 10's but wear it for the 5's as scientific muscle suggests.  This should help continue to develop strength in the core but allow the extra support for the heavier weights.
(quadancer @ Jan. 27 2007,17:01)</div><div id="QUOTEHEAD">QUOTE</div><div id="QUOTE">Are you officially a PL when your shins bleed? Dang, those knurls are sharp!</div>
Yep, I think you are officially &quot;in&quot; Quad.
Bulldog, I never wear a belt when I squat or deadlift, not that I'm a stevejones though, I just don't think they're necessary unless you're trying to lift too much. I can full squat 405+ and deadlift 500+ without any problems. The &quot;pop&quot; was probably your form, maybe you started the lift with your shoulders.

If you think your &quot;core&quot; is weak, then do overhead squats. Not only will they really bring up core weakness, but you'll get the strangest looks from the others in the gym.
An adhesion is where some of your &quot;parts&quot; on the inside have stuck together from not moving around enough or properly. Post operative patients get them a lot. Sedentary women get them around the reproductive organs a lot.

When I'd been training in the martial arts for about a year and my ROM in my hips was improving, I felt a terrible tearing sensation in my right lower back near my hip. My teacher told me it was just an adhesion tearing loose and to back off on the height of my round kicks for a week or two, after a week it was all better and everything was more effective than ever.
Liegelord, that's kind of how I have always felt as well.  I'll just have to re-evaluate that as I continue lifting and do whatever I feel most comfortable with.

Vagrant,  I hope you are right on that!  That would be nice because then that would be a good thing that it happened and not a bad thing.  I guess I'll find out in a couple of weeks.

I guess now would be a great time to pick up &quot;Starting Strength&quot;. I'll have some time to read through it so I can make sure I get my form right when I start deadlifting again.
Although this could be a&quot;core&quot; issue, and although some will disagree, I am with Sci on this, although somewhat differently I always wear an elastic back brace for the heavier lifts.

It is just wise doing so you protect your lower back and you can build up core strength during your 15's and 10's.

Just My opinion!
Well, it's been 4 days and I'm feeling much better already. Hopefully that is an indication that it was nothing major. There is still a little soreness but it's not bad at all. Today is a scheduled lifting day and I will probably just do some very light dead lifts just to see how it feels. But I probably won't do any more than that for dead lifts. And everything else will be light as well to make sure I don't make things worse.
Well, everything is going really well in dead lift land! The pain is completely gone (it was gone by last Thursday) and I'm easily lifting the weight that caused the pain. I'm convinced it was do to not properly stabilize my core before I started the lift.

So far I really like dead lifts (aside from the one painful day) and I can't believe I didn't do them more frequently when I was younger. What a great lift. I can feel it from head to toe which is great! It really is the king of all lifts.
Just a side note from my experience of late: I was scheduled to hit 385x5 last week, but switched my stance to outside - not a full toe-crunching Sumo, but knees over ankles, hands inside - and did 405 for a max. My fear of my back was overcome for one thing, and being 5'11&quot;, the outside stance puts me more upright, making the legs do most of the lift.
I don't know what that would do for you.
I'm only 5'6&quot; tall and so far regular dead lifts have felt pretty good.

Somewhere on here I saw a link to a page that explained how to take measurements to see if you are better suited for regular dead lifts or sumo but I can't seem to find it. Does anyone have that link?
<div></div><div id="QUOTEHEAD">QUOTE</div><div id="QUOTE">I'm only 5'6&quot; tall and so far regular dead lifts have felt pretty good.</div>

Hey, another shorty, I'm exactly the same height and likewise the reg. dead suits me just fine!
Yeah, I quit growing taller when I was 15 years old. I'm still hoping for another growth spurt!