So I've seen the following post, but there doesn't appear to be any mention of what the shoulders should do during a single-leg deadlift:

Correct form and technique in single leg db deadlifts in detail

I've been doing this exercise over the last few weeks, and it feels like it's doing wonders for my weak hips and hamstrings.

Only problem is, it seems to be causing issues with my upper / middle back. It leaves my back feeling quite tight / sore... and I'm pretty sure this exercise isn't supposed to work your back like that (bear in mind I'm currently doing it with no weight). There's been times where I've woken up in the morning with what feels like a strained Rhomboid but it eventually dies down.

Originally I wasn't properly doing it with a straight back (I was looking too far up without realising) which really didn't agree with either my upper or lower back.

But I've since watched a lot of YouTube videos and even started filming myself in the gym so that I can check my form. Both of which have been a massive help and I'm pretty sure I've almost got it all down to a tee.

The only thing I can think of which might be aggravating my back, is that sometimes I have trouble keeping my shoulders retracted. And they sometimes round forward slightly.

Could this cause upper back issues despite me using no weight? If not that I'm almost at a loss as to what could be causing it.

  • 1
    Any chance you could post a video of yourself doing this exercise? It would really help make it easier to spot the error. Ideally though, your upper back should be flexed the whole time, shoulders pulled back. If you get kyphotic during the lift, that could potentially be the reason for upper back pain. But again, it would be easier if we could see you perform the lift.
    – Alec
    Jan 4, 2020 at 17:48
  • 2
    Why do you think this exercise shouldn't work your back? The target muscle is likely the hamstrings/glutes but the erectors are going to be involved.
    – C. Lange
    Jan 7, 2020 at 22:10
  • I don’t think the shoulder blades getting retracted or not is the main culprit here. I’m guessing you’re “standing up” from your mid to upper back towards the end range of hip extension. Do you find yourself standing upright through your back, or does the movement happens at your hips?
    – Jun
    Oct 7, 2021 at 17:49

1 Answer 1


Soreness is more linked to new exercises/routines than anything else.

You can be a big bodybuilder and get sore from a some sit ups or a run if you never done them

Or it might be just a muscle strain, when fatigued muscles can get pulled with light weight or even with no weight at all.

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