The deadlift is the most powerful lift anyone can employ when doing CrossFit. The load will be higher than anything possible with any squat or overhead lift. By employing the largest muscle groups (posterior chain), one is capable of lifting a significantly greater load, often 1.5x to 3x his/her bodyweight.
With this increased load comes a significant amount of danger if done improperly. Any deviation from center during the lift (bringing the bar out and around the knees) greatly increases the torque/load on the lower back. Loss of tension or stress within the posterior chain (rounding the lower back) will also greatly increase the torque/load on the lower back. Both of these culminate in a nice "pop" emanating from the lower back and rendering the individual severely limited for 3-8 weeks.
As a victim of this terrific "pop" sensation (twice... learn from my mistakes...), I fully understand the fear associated with the lift. So, how do you avoid this horrible noise? If you have any fear of deadlifts but want to improve that number:
- Work first on perfecting technique (60% 1RM or less, small sets)
- Practice explosive movement with "Speed Deadlifts" (ask a coach) at 50% 1RM or less
- NEVER "power through" a lift, it's not worth it...
With a little technique work and putting that ego in check, the deadlift will turn into the safest lift you can do and the fear will shift to a healthy level of respect, a necessity when doing any powerlifting.