Deadlifts are effective for excerise-treatment of lower back pain

Disability due to low back pain is common. While evidence exist that exercise is effective in reducing pain and disability, it is still largely undetermined which kind of exercises that are most effective. This study aimed to evaluate and compare the effects of a high-load lifting exercise (deadlift) and individualized low-load motor control exercises (LMC) for individuals with low back pain.

The study was a randomized controlled trial including 70 participants with low back pain. Participants were randomized into training with either the deadlift (high-load lifting exercise) or individualized low-load motor control exercises (LMC). All participants completed twelve sessions during an eight week period.

The results showed that deadlift was not more effective than the LMC intervention in reducing pain. Both interventions resulted in significant within-group improvements in pain intensity, strength, and endurance.

The results imply that the deadlift, when combined with education, could be considered as an exercise to produce clinically relevant improvements on pain intensity in individuals who prefer a high-load exercise.

@maria_ekblom, a member of #teamEBT. Licensed physiotherapist and personal trainer.


1. Aasa B, Berglund L, Michaelson P, Aasa U. Individualized Low-Load Motor Control Exercises and Education Versus a High-Load Lifting Exercise and Education to Improve Activity, Pain Intensity, and Physical Performance in Patients With Low Back Pain: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy. 2015;45(2):77-85.

2. Berglund L, Aasa B, Hellqvist J, Michaelson P, Aasa U. Which Patients With Low Back Pain Benefit From Deadlift Training?. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. 2015;29(7):1803-1811.

3. Berglund L, Aasa B, Michaelson P, Aasa U. The Effects of Low-Load Motor Control Exercises and a High-Load Lifting Exercise on Lumbar Multifidus Thickness-A Randomized Controlled Trial. SPINE. 2016;:1.

4. Michaelson P, Holmberg D, Aasa B, Aasa U. High load lifting exercise and low load motor control exercises as interventions for pati

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