4 Tips to Avoid Neck Pain with Proper Deadlift Form
Do you wake up the day after deadlifting with a sore or tight neck? Do you notice it the morning after working on a heavy deadlift? It's probably because you aren't using the proper deadlift form.
Neck pain from lifting weights is VERY common and super easy to avoid when you do the movement correctly. The main culprit is lack of body awareness and inability to keep a neutral spine throughout the deadlift.
If you find yourself aching from weight lifting, then keep reading. This post will be extremely useful in helping you optimize your spinal position to develop proper deadlift form.
Symptoms of Neck Pain During a Deadlift
There are many different ways pain can manifest from performing an improper deadlift. Most of the causes stem from improper cervical spine (neck & head) position, or from bending the arms and shrugging the shoulders. You might feel any or all of the following during a lift:
- Pain in back of the neck
- One-sided neck pain
- Tension headaches
- Pain when looking certain directions
- Tingling sensation in the upper back or arms
Preventing Neck Pain from Lifting Weights
Mastering the hip hinge is the first step to building a pain-free deadlift. However, In order to begin properly lifting weights and avoid neck pain, you must first learn a certain level of body awareness.
Once you master holding your body in a neutral position you can begin adding in movements like the hip hinge and ultimately the deadlift.
Proper Deadlift Form
The number one way to prevent any injury or pain in your body is to do it correctly. Easier said than done, we know, but there are some movements you learn in the Forever Fix Program that can help you improve your lifts.
- Neutral Spine
- That means your hips, ribs, and head all need to be in alignment. This will carry over into MANY other exercises, and life in general.
- Remember that keeping the spine in neutral alignment means the entire spine. That doesn’t mean you have to move like a robot, but you should be aware of what neutral looks and feels like and how to shift back to that. Consider it your “home position.” This neutral position should be your main focus when performing a proper deadlift.
- A great drill to check this positioning is to use a PVC pipe on the back of the head and tailbone, or the #HeadBackCrack as we like to call it. This will give you some important feedback on what your neck and lower back are doing during your hip hinge or deadlifts.
- Neutral Head Position
- When your central nervous system is in a good position your body can send all the energy to the lift. Otherwise, your body is going to be focused on keeping vulnerable parts of your body safe while performing the lift. This will in turn decrease power output and strength.
- To achieve this, keep your chin tucked and imagine a string pulling up throughout your body. This will ensure that your spine is in a good position.
- Arms & Shoulders
- It is extremely important to keep your shoulders down away from your ears and your arms straight. If you bend the elbows and shrug the shoulders during the deadlift this will put a larger majority of the tension in your neck and back instead of using your legs and hips.
- Think about pushing your arms as far away from you as possible and driving from your legs and hips.
- Focal Point
- Where you look is important a key component to maintaining a proper position when deadlifting!
- Look straight ahead not up at the ceiling or down at your feet. This will expedite you achieving proper deadlift form. Pick a spot on the floor 8-12 feet in front of you depending upon your height. Try to look at that position throughout the entire movement.
So the next time you're unloading the dishwasher, picking up a sock off the floor or going for a new personal deadlift record, remember the 4 pieces of the puzzle you’ve been missing:
- Neutral spine
- Chin tucked back and pulling you tall
- Look 8-12 feet on the ground in front of you
- Keep the arms straight and shoulders down
Avoid deadlift associated neck pain and all other exercise and posture related pain by learning body awareness and positioning with the MoveU Forever Fix Program. Learn more about what the program does for your body here!