Ma Strength posted a video on Facebook with the following description:

"To be prepared beforehand for any contingency is the greatest of virtues.” ---Sun Tzu The Art of War

During maximal attempts, it is very possible for technique to break down which increases the risk for injury. For example, here we see Chen Xiaoting (53kg) with a gnarly save at 101kg to win the snatch gold medal at the 2015 world championships. A sub-optimal pull resulted in her catching the bar off balance and saving it by rounding her back and twisting.

Normally this rounded position could result in lower back injury however Chinese weightlifters insure against this situation by incorporating rounded back deadlifting because of their ability to work the erectors through a greater range of motion not covered by traditional deadlifts and pulls. While one must gradually build up tolerance for such movements, the end result can prevent injuries when technique is not perfect. So make sure to train for contingencies and strengthen the whole body to secure your position.

Beginners following a strength training program, usually don't train under supervision and attempt to lift weights that take their maximal effort, especially when they go beyond their bodyweight, which may break down their technique.

In my case, I was squatting and deadlifting weights 1.2 to 1.5 times my bodyweight with poor form, in StrongLifts 5x5 program. Many times I simply skipped sets just to be safe from injury. I know deloading and working on the form is best way forward. But in spite of conscious efforts to maintain form, there is a strong possibility that in the future, under heavy weights, my technique may break down and I get injured.

Question: Just as a safety measure, should I not prepare my body for it by incorporating Rounded Back Deadlifts? If yes, how to integrate them into StrongLifts program?

  • "Many times I simply skipped sets just to be safe from injury." Wait, what? How did this come up? How did you account for this in your progression? Dec 12, 2015 at 22:14
  • @DaveLiepmann: It was all between those 2 weeks I spent between 70-75kg I was talking about. I didn't add weight further. I just attempted same weight next time. I was just trying to get my squats on track and played within the range of 67.5 and 75. Its only when I couldn't find any hope I asked that question.
    – claws
    Dec 12, 2015 at 22:44
  • 1
    In that case, part of the solution is deloading and working back up while really focusing on doing the failing-with-greater-weight portion of the lift exactly correct. But part of the solution is also attacking the bar, and really insisting that you are gonna lift it and it is going to go up. Dec 13, 2015 at 7:16

1 Answer 1


There's the answer in the general case, and there's the answer for this case. First this case, then the general.

You Are Fucking Around

Starting Strength, but with carrying exercises...StrongLifts, but with Olympic work...no, wait, pull-ups...then planks and front squats...plus overhead squats...and now round-backed deadlifts? I don't say this to be mean, but you seem to have a bad case of fuckarounditis. Deadlifting properly will prepare your body for everything you plan to do just fine. Stop worrying about fixing your deadlift with other lifts. Deadlifting is productive and difficult enough on its own. Just deadlift.

Fuckarounditis is particularly common when the weights start getting heavy. I know this because I've fallen victim to this mistake. It's mind poison. Look: deadlifting 1.5xBW is going to feel different, and harder, than deadlifting 1xBW. Deadlifting, pressing, and squatting light is basically just form practice and remedial ligament prep for when you really start deadlifting, pressing, and squatting by putting challenging weights on the bar. That's when you need to buckle down and do the work. There is no assistance exercise that can make squatting heavy weights easy. It's never easy. You just do it anyway.

Round-backed Deadlifts are Sometimes Appropriate

The well-respected exercise website exrx.net recommends very light round-backed/straight-leg deadlifts for some people, with caveats, in order to practice full range of motion and to strengthen the lower back. I see no particular reason for you to pick this exercise up, and your recent troubles with proper form makes me think it's not a stellar idea.

You Should Just Deadlift Normally

Just do the main lifts, focus on them, get good at them, eat well, and get strong. Worry about mucking with your program after you're squatting 1.5xBW and deadlifting 2xBW. Until then just do what it says, as diligently as you can.

  • I second Dave here. To get better at Deadlifts you should Deadlift the same applies to Bench, Overhead Press and other. Focus on a Goal and work for it, the reward will come for sure, just be patient and consistent.
    – mitro
    Dec 12, 2015 at 22:23
  • This video nicely covers the reasons and difference between straight-back vs rounded-back, and conventional vs sumo stance deadlifts. youtu.be/lyAK9FWxFlQ
    – Alex L
    Dec 13, 2015 at 0:04
  • But in light of what @Dave Liepmann covered here, I wouldn't worry about those until you legitimately stall.
    – Alex L
    Dec 13, 2015 at 0:05

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.