How to Deadlift Pain-Free With a Bad Back

Fix Your Back Pain

Today’s article, in addition to the video above, will outline one of the ways that I help individuals I work with improve their back and leg strength, overall hip mobility, and decrease some of the back pain they may experience with deadlifts. Practicing this movement is incredibly crucial to moving properly and pain free in life, which is why these modifications can be great for you!

Equipment Used

In the video above, we did use a light kettlebell, in addition to a small step boost to do the deadlifts off of. If you did want to check out either of these pieces of equipment, feel free to use our affiliate links below to see the products!

Deadlift Modifications With A Bad Back

In the video linked above, we showed three different ways we modified the deadlift to help with the individuals lack of mobility and strength. Those two ways were the use of a kettlebell, and a boosted height.


Using a kettlebell for a deadlift, is a great way to alleviate some of the back pain that might be associated with normal barbell deadlifts. This is because, a kettlebell deadlift puts the weight over the middle of your foot throughout the entire movement, decreasing the over stress on the back. For individuals with poor mobility and decreased strength in the back, this can be a great way to lay the framework of basic back strength, before doing a normal deadlift again.

Decreased Range of Motion

Another great way to implement deadlifts into your workout routine, if you are somebody with poor mobility and back strength, is to decrease the range of motion slightly. As noted in the video, I used a couple of weight plates stacked on top of each other to do this. You could purchase one of the cardio steppers I linked above, or just find a box that is sturdy and allows you to lightly put the kettlebell on each repetition.

Slower Speed

The last way we modified this exercise to accompany any back pain and poor strength, is to slow the speed on the movement. Many times, speed adds too much complexity to strength movements, which can actually lead messing up the exercise in itself, and potentially lead to more pain. Throughout the video above, you will see my client control the movement at a very slow tempo going up and down at about a 3-5 second cadence. Over time, you would try to make the “up” portion of the movement slightly faster, but when dealing with back pain, slow and steady wins the race!

Before You Leave..

If you want to continue to improve your health and knowledge of the gym, regardless of your current abilities in life, you need to subscribe to our blog. Otherwise, I think you would also enjoy this other article I created, talking about how to modify lunges if you have poor vision, balance, and strength.

How to Modify Lunges For People With Poor Vision, Balance, & Strength

Modified Lunges 101 Lunges are a great exercise to strengthen your quads, glutes, and your entire lower body. Unfortunately, it takes quite a bit of mobility to do a full lunge to depth, for individuals with limited mobility. Todays article, in addition to the video above, will briefly detail how I help individuals work their…

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