After I complete some dead lifts, and lower the weight back to the ground and begin to stand back up straight un-weighted, I feel an uncomfortable stiffness (EDIT)in my lower back at the top of my buttocks directly behind my hip bones on both sides, but not the center: ie. definitely not spinal pain.

Why would I feel this only after I stand back up straight from the low position without weight, but not with weight? That doesn't seem to make sense.

In other words, if I made the same motion with a 200lb dead-lift load for another rep (comfortably), I would not feel this same disconcerting sensation while loaded, but once I stand back up after the set is done, I feel like I am doing the "old, hunched over, man, 'ow, my back'", motion trying to stand back up straight unloaded.

It is not a sharp pain, but more of an unsettling sensation, and it is only experienced while I am in transit from being bent over to standing straight up again, and once I am straightened out vertically, the sensation quickly goes away.

Should I be concerned about this, or is this commonly accepted as a normal experience?

  • 4
    That's a good question, and I know exactly what you're referring to. I can't say I have the definitive answer (so I'm making a comment instead), but I've always taken for granted that you're just feeling a compression of your spine as a result of loading a lot of weight on your shoulders, which presses downward. One thing that helps me is to do a deadhang for a few seconds after each set. I do the same after sets of squats for the same reason.
    – Alec
    Commented Mar 17, 2019 at 15:03

2 Answers 2


While You're using the muscles and they're loaded the same neural pathways responsible for sensing discomfort are used to stimulate the muscles (or so I've read in Becoming Supple Leopard by Kelly Starret).

I think it also depends on the ratio of different fiber types that were used in the movement.

Research has suggested that postural and phasic muscles respond differently to stress, with postural muscles responding by shortening, but phasic muscles becoming inhibited neurologically and thence weakening. This behaviour will have structural outcomes in the longer term.

(Smith J. 2005, The Muscular System. Structural Bodywork)

I strongly suggest checking this paper.


I think I have determined what this sensation is. It is definitely declining as I continue to train, even with more weight, and was likely a result of me being new to this type of lift.

In the same way that runners get pain in the connective tissues of their leg muscles, known as 'shin splints', I was getting this in my glutes' tendons from the tensions I was not used to.

This is probably normal for beginners, but even at higher weights, not experienced by intermediate lifters.

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.