In the collegiate strength and conditioning setting, that's a common response to the deadlift. Even with a laundry list of cues – keep your chest up, sit back with your hips, pull the slack out of the bar, etc. – athletes will still have issues with the deadlift. The potential culprit? Sacroiliac joint issues and a lack of spinal rigidity.

So squeeze your glutes and take a breath in with the belly before you lift the bar.

Jake Tuura

Why? A couple reasons:

  • The glute squeeze helps to normalize minor SI joint abnormalities.This decreases and sometimes eliminates back pain and discomfort. Most often this helps those who have back pain only on one side.
  • The belly breath increases intra-abdominal pressure, improving spinal rigidity. This stabilizes the spine against shearing forces. This usually helps those who have back pain on both sides.

These simple cues can take athletes from back pain and frustration to feeling great and setting PRs.