Why are my hamstrings sorer than my back after deadlifts?

January 7th 2019

As my deadlift workouts approach each week, I thought about this question, why are my hamstrings sorer than my back after deadlifts?

Where you get sore varies greatly on your body mechanics, strengths and weaknesses. If you have good form, with an efficient setup, and neutral spine, the deadlifts will train your entire body. What is likely happening if your hamstring is more sore than your back is that your hips are probably at a high starting point or you have not done deadlifts in a while. But overall, it is a great accomplishment to feel soreness in your hamstrings and back after a deadlift.

Upper back sore after deadlifts

Though the lower back and hamstrings are the more common areas to feel soreness, it is not uncommon to feel sore in your upper back after deadlifts.

From experienced lifters to beginner strength training individuals, it is normal to experience soreness from this full body lift.

Upper back soreness could be related to the development of your traps.

Your traps help stabilize your upper back so that you can perform the deadlift safely.

Your traps can also help your deadlift lockout and to feel powerful during the entire movement.

Sharp lower back pain after deadlifts

If you experience sharp lower back pain after deadlifts, I would highly recommend that you stop deadlifting as soon as you feel this sort of pain.

Any sharp pains are extreme warnings from your body that something is wrong.

You should not be feeling any pain, especially sharp pain when you are doing deadlifts.

A common location to have this sharp pain is in your lower back and it can be traced back.

What is most likely the culprit is that you have bad form, with your back rounding while you are doing your deadlifts.

This rounded back position puts your back at risk for injury since it is not a safe way to lift weights.

Your powerful back muscles cannot protect and stabilize your spine from doing deadlifts, immediately putting you at risk for snap city.

Deadlift soreness recovery

Active workout recovery

Active recovery workouts were and still currently being used by athletes of all levels.

There are many benefits for doing active recovery workouts and are usually done once or twice a week.

  • Increase body temperature to allow mobility and flexibility training
  • Improve blood flow to muscle tissues
  • Another day at the gym so athletes can still feel that they are working hard
  • Low-intensity sessions that allow your body to recover and repair itself


Even with all these benefits of active recovery workouts, there is still a big overarching rule.

Your active recovery workout should not be fatiguing.

But other than that, it is really as creative as you want it to be.

Active recovery workouts can help work on your agility, mobility, flexibility, balance or hand-eye coordination.

For example, if you are feeling sore after a deadlift workout, once a week, I invite you to do an active recovery workout if you have not tried it already.

You can work on anything.

Maybe do some toe touch stretches, some core work and other exercises that you may find beneficial.

Soft tissue massage

A soft tissue massage is to help break up any scar tissue and release tight contracted muscles.

This helps promote healing.

However, I decided to do some research and find the best time to get back to the gym after a soft tissue massage.

I found that it is recommended to go back to the gym 24 - 48 hours after a soft tissue massage.


You want to give your body time to react and adapt to the soft tissue massage and to heal from it.

After a soft tissue or deep tissue massage, you may feel sore.

You will feel much better and feel very relaxed.

This is good and your body needs to stabilize from the treatment.

Otherwise, lifting heavy may undo all the work the therapist did and you may put yourself at risk for injury.

You can, however, do some light form of exercise.

Doing an active recovery workout is recommended since you are not doing anything with high intensity.

So, taking a light jog or doing brief stretches can be beneficial for you as you start to recover both from your active recovery workout and your soft tissue massage.

Nutrition and sleep

What you do outside the gym will determine your progress inside the gym.

So, if you are feeling sore after a deadlift workout, congratulations!

You have completed half the journey.

The next half is to work on your recovery, which is your nutrition and sleep.

The average adult needs about 7 hours of sleep to function.

Since you decided to become great and started to work on deadlifting heavier and heavier, you should aim for at least 8-9 hours of quality sleep.

In addition to high-quality sleep, you want to make sure you are eating enough high-quality food as well.

Depending on your food preferences, this could range so much from individual to individual.

I found that the best way to determine what is best for you is to listen to your body.

But at the same time, continue to challenge yourself and grow with new ideas.

See what other world-class athletes are doing to see if you can continue to learn.

There are many great athletes that offer their nutrition advice.

But if you want a monster deadlift or a big powerlifting total, you would want to listen to the best of the best.

For example, Stan Efferding highly recommends that you incorporate steak, white rice, daily fruit and the daily carrot for your meals.

Stan “The White Rhino” Efferding is a professional bodybuilder and world-class powerlifter.

He holds all-time powerlifting records in the 275lbs weight class with a 2,226.6 lbs raw total and a 2,303 lbs raw with knee wraps total.

And here is a quick video to recap his feat of strength at a powerlifting competition:

His results may be atypical for the average viewer.

But put in 10-20 years of dedicated training, recovery, and progression, what do you think you are capable of achieving?

What muscles should be sore after deadlifts

The deadlift is a full body exercise.

While there are some muscles, like your back, glutes and hamstrings, that are actively work to create power for the deadlift, many other muscle groups, like your upper back, quads, shoulders, and calves, work to help stabilize your body in order to create an efficient and safe position.

Overall, it really depends.

It depends on your training history, your body mechanics, your genetics, and so many other factors.

For most lifters, your glutes and hamstrings should be the primary muscle groups worked when doing a deadlift.

However, this does not mean you will not feel back soreness.

For other lifters, they may experience back soreness every time they deadlift; this can be normal due to form, body leverages, or a combination of other factors.

Mid back sore after deadlifts

If your mid back is sore after deadlifts, this can be considered a normal area of soreness.

Depending on your body leverages and form, you may be using more power when you engage your back in the deadlift.

While it is typical to feel glutes and hamstring soreness, you can feel soreness on your upper to mid back.

Your back may be stabilizing your deadlift form, causing you to experience soreness.

You may be using your back to help contribute to executing the deadlift.

There could be a ton of reasons why you may feel mid-back soreness but if you have good form and followed many of deadlift tips I researched for the conventional and sumo deadlift, you should be fine.

By the way, I have been deadlifting for about six years now and I came across a lot of advice throughout the years.

I have researched, gathered and shared these tips I found that was most helpful for me.

I spent close to 24 hours writing that article so it has a lot of comprehensive information along with videos for visual and audio learning.

So, if you are interested, feel free to take a look at what the best deadlifters in the world are doing and what new techniques or ques you can implement to help your deadlift.

Deadlift lower back pain one side

Lower back pain after exercise is not good.

If you have lower back pain on one side and you have been deadlifting, you should immediately stop doing deadlifts.

Your body is designed to adapt to stimulus and if you are experiencing pain on only one side, stop working out and seek a medical professional.

Continuing to lift in pain increases your risk of injury or worsen an already existing injury.

Lifters should never go to the gym in pain and that is usually a sign that there could be muscular imbalances, structural imbalances, or some other factor.

Be sure that you are not favoring one side during your lifestyle.

For example, walking or sitting, while leaning on one particular side. How are your balance and hand-eye coordination?

Any past injuries?

Injuries that never healed properly?

Some of these seemingly unharmful aspects may cause bigger issues in the future if you are not aware that they are actually contributing to your pain.

Deadlift sore lower back next day

This is considered normal.

When you deadlift, to maintain a neutral spine, you are engaging your spinal erectors, which run down the length of your spine.

And since you are doing deadlifts, you are causing these muscles to experience micro-tears, which cause you to experience soreness.

That being said, your lower back should be sore.

Not in pain. Not feeling super tight or tender to touch.

There is a fine line but usually, lower back deadlift soreness is nothing serious.

It is just the body’s process to begin rebuilding your muscles to enable you to deadlift more weight next time.

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