The deadlift is one of the best exercises and have an immense amount of benefits in terms of fitness, building muscle, and building strength. But have you ever experienced neck pain after doing deadlifts? You may have wondered “Why does deadlift hurt my neck?”. The deadlift is a complex exercise, it may seem simple at first, but as you start doing the exercise, you’ll quickly learn there are many small details that all need to be done correctly to achieve good form. If you’re wondering “Why does deadlift hurt my neck?”, most likely you aren’t using proper form.
The reason you’re experiencing neck pain after doing the deadlift is most likely due to incorrect deadlift form. The most common issue is neck positioning and rounding of the back. You want your head, neck, and back to be aligned during the deadlift. You want to imagine a straight line going from your head to your hips, this is the position you want to be in throughout the lift.
Disclaimer: If you are experiencing serious neck pain it is recommended to consult with a doctor immediately. Always take the advice of your doctor over anything you will read online because your doctor knows and understands your situation best. You doctor can also provide you with the answer to “Why does deadlift hurt my neck?” and the best solutions for your situation to help you train pain free.
Lets get right into the details of how you can stop neck pain after your deadlifts.
Neutral Head Position
A common mistake seen in most people who perform a deadlift, even in competitions, is incorrect head position. If you are wondering “Why does deadlift hurt my neck?”, I would advise you to look at your form, more specifically your head and neck position. Are you looking up, straight down, or straight ahead when deadlifting?
The key to neutral head positioning in a deadlift is to keep your head and neck aligned straight with your body. You should be able to draw a straight line from your head to your hips. You can also imagine someone placing a long ruler on your back, going from your head to your hips. The goal is to keep this straight and aligned position throughout the entire lift.
Use the image above as a guide to how your form should ideally look. Notice the alignment of the body. The first picture has too much extension and the neck is way too high, this will lead to neck pain and stiffness, especially in a intense exercise such as the deadlift.
So if you ever find yourself asking “Why does deadlift hurt my neck?”, look at your form and compare it to the picture above.
Neutral Upper and Lower Back
This was slightly touched on above in the first technique tip. When suggested to imagine a straight line or ruler going from the top of your head to your hips, it was because every part of that area should be straight throughout the movement. The reason this is so important in the upper and lower back area is because injury can easily occur in those areas. Pain and stiffness in the upper and lower back can travel up into the neck very easily. It is common for people with tight upper backs to often have neck pain. So if you’re wondering “Why does deadlift hurt my neck?”, it could be due to back rounding or tightness in the back.
One great technique I learned which helped me keep my form from breaking once I started the deadlift was learning to correct breathe and brace for a deadlift. Bracing is extremely important as it will prevent form breakdown during the lift and if done correctly it will help straighten out your back.
One incredible video that everyone who deadlifts needs to watch is this. Watch that video because it will greatly improve your deadlift form after learning that technique and no longer will you ask “Why does deadlift hurt my neck?”.
Arms and Shoulder
It is very important to keep the shoulders down and away from your ears. As for your arms, make sure they are straight. Do not bend the elbows during a deadlift because this is how bicep tears can occur, tearing a muscle is something you do not want to experience, so please keep your arms straight, use them as hooks for the weight and use your body to lift the weight, not your arms.
As for the shoulders, keep them down and away from the ears as I said. Do not try to use your shoulders to shrug the weight up, this will cause tension and stiffness in the traps and neck area. If you see anyone trying to shrug up a deadlift, their form is wrong and they are lifting a weight that is clearly too heavy for them. You must lower the weight and build up strength if you find yourself doing this.
Following this tip will help prevent tension in the neck and overall keep you safe during the lift. This is a technique that will help you if you’re wondering “Why does deadlift hurt my neck”.
Focal point is basically just where you look during your lift. It is important to not look up at the ceiling or down at your feet because you will bring your head into a bent position which will cause stress and tension in the neck. This can be a main reason to why you’re experiencing neck pain from deadlifts.
There are many opinions on this subject but I personally prefer to look straight ahead when deadlifting or at least look straight ahead, 8 to 12 feet and look a little bit above the floor. This will ensure your head and neck remain straight and aligned with your back and hips. This will keep your neck safe and prevent neck tension and stress. This technique takes a bit of time to get used to and I suggest diving more into deep research on this.
Figuring out and mastering this technique will lead to neck relief and you’ll no longer have to deal with neck pain from deadlifting. You wont have to ask “Why does deadlift hurt my neck?”.
This last one may seem a bit obvious but its very necessary because flexibility is important, not only for deadlifts but for overall health. Working out and building muscle will tighten your body if you don’t consistently stretch, it is extremely important to keep improving flexibility while you build muscle. If you allow tightness to build up you will experience pain in many areas of the body and this can lead to injury. If you’re wondering “Why does my deadlift hurt my neck?” I would advise you to check your flexibility and try out stretching for a few weeks before and after your workouts.
I suggest targeting flexibility in the lower back, upper back, shoulders, and most importantly, the neck. These areas will tighten up greatly, especially if you are consistently doing deadlifts and building strength. The deadlift will quickly pack on muscle onto your body, so you must prepare for this with stretching and improving your flexibility. Flexibility will not only help ease your neck pain but it will also help make your body much resistant to injuries, stress, and tension.
Luckily we have some amazing articles that will both help you with your neck pain and improve your flexibility at the same time, I will list them below for you to try out.
I highly suggest implementing these technique tips into your deadlift immediately to help relieve your neck pain and prevent it from happening in the future. The deadlift is a very complex and hard exercise to perform. This exercise can take its toll on the body and it must be done with good form or else you’ll be much more prone to injuries. The deadlift demands a lot out of you, so it is best to follow the tips I listed above to prevent pain in the future. If you asked “Why does deadlift hurt my neck?” now you should understand the answer and be able to prevent it.
I also often wondered why the deadlift hurt my neck, but once I implemented all of these techniques to improve my form, I quickly saw the changes and felt them too. I have 2 herniated discs in my neck from sports injuries and I am able to deadlift pain free. If I can do it, so can you.
If you are still experiencing pain after a week and it has not reduced, I highly suggest seeing a doctor immediately. I also suggest seeing a doctor if your neck pain has become worse, find out what the issue is and follow what your doctor says, then you can come back and use these tips to improve your technique and prevent this from ever happening again.