Deadlifts are a crucial exercise for building size and strength in the posterior chain—the hamstrings, glutes, and back muscles—but many lifters have trouble keeping their back straight when doing them. And a dude resembling Quasimodo midlift either means there is a weakness, he’s lifting too heavy, or he just isn’t mobile. This poses a problem since the sheer amount of flexion that the lifter’s spine is experiencing will most certainly cause an injury down the line.

To help save your back, employ these tips when you deadlift.

1. Go Light

Perform explosive reps with 65% of your one-rep max. Lifting lighter weight will allow for quicker recovery and help you lock in proper form, which will help you with future heavy lifts.


2. Work on Mobility

If your mobility is poor, it’s impossible to reach the bar without rounding your back. Before each deadlift session, perform three sets of five to eight reps of downward dogs.


3. Strengthen Your Lower Back

To add strength to your spinal erectors—which surround the lower portion of your spine—add 45-degree back raises for reps of 12 to 15 and good mornings for reps of eight to 12 to your next back day.


4. Record Yourself

Most people can’t even feel when their back is rounding. Start recording your sets from the side on video. Then assess them honestly. You’d be surprised how simply being aware of the mistake will help you to correct it midlift.