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  • Writer's pictureChris Cooper

Rebuilding Confidence to Deadlift...Again

If you ever had low back pain, even the thought of picking a weight off the ground will send you running. Theres something about the perceived danger of picking weights off the ground, or deadlifting that causes us to back away.

However, building back to deadlifting is more about the mental confidence and trusting your body than the physical strength of it.

You have to begin by putting yourself in positions that you trust and have confidence in.

Tall Kneeling Hinge

The first thing you need to do in order to build back your deadlift is to own the hinge movement. This is the key to making sure you’re using hips and not your back.

We accomplish this goal by using a tall kneeling position, which eliminates a few places that the deadlift or hinge breaks down.

With this position, we learn how to separate hip movement from lower back movement. We learn this reach the hips back versus bending over.

Using this you can build the capacity to move from the hips, which will carry over to when you stand up for the same drill and ultimately when you use a weight.

Manual Resisted Glute Bridge

The next step to take in rebuilding confidence in deadlifting is to provide a little resistance in what is a “safe” environment.

Fear creeps in when we add load, but if we do it while giving ourselves the resistance, we can control more of the environment. In this case, it’s controlling the contraction part of the hinge where we lock out the hips and use the glutes.

With this bridge, we prime our body to use the hips and glutes at the top rather than the lower back. These also reenforce moving with the hips and owning that hinge movement.


In the first two exercises, we learned to separate the hips from the back when we move and how to use our glutes instead of our back.

The band pull-through ties them both together in one exercise. The cable forces you to reach back with the hips and then once you feel tension through the legs, you push and use our glutes to finish.

This is our first step towards loading the deadlift/hinge without having to put too much stress on the lower back.

Kettlebell Deadlift

Rebuilding confidence in deadlifting again means putting yourself in positions to succeed. Positions that are safe not only physically, but mentally as well. If we have that mental block where we feel we’re gonna get hurt (again), it‘ll stop us.

Using a kettlebell, were placing the load in the middle of our feet, which allows the weight to stay underneath us. This gives you better alignment and allows you to lift in a more upright position.

Rack Pull

Let’s get a barbell in your hands. While everyone doesn’t need to or have to lift with a barbell, if it’s what you’ve done in the past, eventually you’d like to get back to it

With the rack pull, we rebuild picking things up by elevating the bar to a manageable height. This decreases the range of motion we need and reduce the stress to your body, especially the lower back.

As your confidence and strength in the lift grows, lower to bar to increase the range of motion you work through.

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