How to fix hunchback deadlifts - Upright Health

How to fix hunchback deadlifts

Rounded back in your deadlifts?

When people have a rounded back in the deadlift (also known as a hunchback deadlift), they often find all kinds of bad information on how to fix it. In this post, we're going to look at the truth about having a rounded back in the deadlift AND how you can fix it.

How do you keep a straight back in the deadlift?

The very first requirement in keeping a straight back in the deadlift is the ability to move your SHOULDERS separately from your UPPER BACK. 

Why?

Look at any proper straight back deadlift. This is what happens:
1. Your arms MOVE from a hanging position towards your sides.
2. Your upper back REMAINS straight the entire time.

This necessitates independent control of your UPPER BACK and your SHOULDERS.

This is why the "shoulder blades back and down" cue can be so unhelpful for the deadlift.

If you rely on squeezing your shoulders "BACK AND DOWN" in order to keep your upper back straight, then you CAN'T move them how they're supposed to in the deadlift.

Here's how to fix the hunchback deadlift!

The exercise progression taught in this video shows you to achieve separate control of your UPPER BACK and SHOULDERS.

1) The WALL OVERHEAD PELVIC TILT teaches you how to ARCH your upper back without OVERARCHING your lower back.

2) The WALL FOREARM SLIDE teaches you how to MAINTAIN a straight upper back while you MOVE your shoulder blades on your rib cage.

3) The QUADRUPED HIP LIFT teaches you how to properly use your LOWER BACK, UPPER BACK, and SHOULDERS together.

4) The TUCK PLANCHE LEAN teaches you how to MAINTAIN a straight back while you MOVE your shoulders as they would in a proper deadlift.

5) The PLANCHE LEAN shows you how to further strengthen your ability to MAINTAIN a straight back while you MOVE your shoulders.

The bottom line on rounded back deadlifts?

Fixing your rounded back deadlift requires that you strengthen your ability to move your SHOULDERS independently of your UPPER BACK. ​

Squeezing your shoulder blades doesn't fix the problem! With these exercises you can learn how to get control of your spinal muscles separate from your scapular muscles - and thereby fix your hunchback deadlift!

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About the Author

Matt Hsu is a trainer and orthopedic massage therapist. He fought a long battle with chronic pain all over his body and won. He blends the principles he learned in his journey, empirical observations with clients, and relevant research to help others get their lives back.