What Happens When You Have A Pulled Glute From Deadlifts

April 11th 2019

Deadlifts are the best exercise to develop your posterior chain.

Tackling on your glutes, hamstrings, back, and hips, deadlifts are the foundation for every strength training and bodybuilding program.

Progress and strength come from being consistent and healthy in the gym.

But what happens when you feel that you pulled your glutes from the deadlift?

Pulled glute from deadlift

If you pulled your glute from a deadlift, stop and evaluate the situation.

If you can still deadlift, proceed cautiously.

Use your best judgment and find out the best ways you can move while not causing yourself any agony and pain.

Glute strains, glute tears, and torn glutes are rarely seen in many medical practices as glute strains are characterized by excessive tearing of one or more gluteal muscles - the gluteus maximus, the gluteus medius, and gluteus minimus.

A majority of glute strains that occur are usually classified as a grade 2 strain, which means a significant number of muscle fibers are torn, with a moderate amount of function loss.

Most deadlifters who pulled their glute usually experience some pain but are still able to use their glutes.

This would be classified as a grade 1 strain.

Here are some strategies to cope with having a pulled glute from deadlifting:

New to deadlifting

If you have not been doing full deadlifts in the past, there is a good chance you may pull your glutes.

After doing some research, there are some lifters that only do Romanian deadlifts for a couple of months as their main deadlift movement.

Things are all well and good.

They are making progress every workout and they are getting stronger. However, one workout, these lifters decide to do full range of motion deadlifts instead of the usual Romanian deadlifts they were accustomed to. After a few reps or even after the set, these lifters immediately felt a strong tension in the glutes. Their glutes are twitching, and they definitely feel as if they pulled their glute muscles.

Aside from never practicing a full deadlift, your legs were also very straight, which means you were performing a close variation to a stiff-legged deadlift, one of the best exercises to hit your posterior chain.

So, if you have not done deadlifts at all, either because you have taken a gym hiatus or you are new to lifting, you may feel an incredible amount of pressure in your glutes for the very first time.


As a beginner or someone who is returning to the gym, this is the normal process to get accustomed to heavy lifting.

Your body needs to train itself to handle the training weights so that you can hit the gym hard next time.

If the pain and tightness do not go away after a few days, consult with a doctor.

Usually, newbies can experience DOMS for up to 10 days, depending on how hard you pushed yourself during the first couple of workouts.

Piriformis Syndrome

Piriformis syndrome occurs when there is an irritation of your piriformis, a muscle that runs across the middle of your butt and is located behind the gluteus maximus, that causes pressure to be exerted on your sciatic nerve.

The sciatic nerve runs across your butt and into your thighs and lower back.

An inflamed, tight or strained piriformis can lead to pain in your glutes, legs and lower back.

The pain usually gets worse when you are sitting down or when you start to actively fire your glutes.

The piriformis is responsible for rotating the hip outward when you point your toes out to the side.

It also helps your hip abduct when your hips are in a flexed position.

Which deadlift style can lead to piriformis syndrome

The sumo deadlifter is more likely to develop piriformis syndrome than a conventional deadlifter.

In a sumo deadlift, less strain is placed on the lower back due to having a wider stance.

As a result, more pressure is placed on the glutes and quads in order to pick the weight off the ground.

Since you are also externally rotating your hip, all deadlifters who point their toes out can definitely increase their chances of developing piriformis syndrome.

Weak or inactive glutes

At the same time, lack of activity can also be blamed for piriformis syndrome.

If you spend most of your day sitting down, jumping straight into deadlifts without any proper warmups may create more harm than good.

Your piriformis can be irritated and you may feel that you have pulled your glute.

However, many strength training and conditioning coaches advocate with performing deadlifts to alleviate any painful piriformis issues.

So, it is definitely advised to continue to do deadlifts in order to strengthen your glutes.

At the same time, be mindful of your recovery and whether or not you need to warm up more.


Stretches, rest and mobility work of your hips, glutes, and hamstrings can help alleviate tension in your glutes.

Lying piriformis stretch

With your back on the ground, keep your hips also on the ground and fold the leg with the impacted glutes on top of the other leg.

Lift up the other leg so that the folded leg is closer to your chest.

Gently, push the folded leg down so that you can feel a stretch in your piriformis.

Hold it for 20-30 seconds and repeat on the other side.

Sitting piriformis stretch

While sitting in a chair, bend the leg of the impacted glute so that your ankle rests on your other knee.

Then, bend forward until you can feel a stretch on your piriformis.

Your goal is to try to get your chest towards your bent leg.

When you begin to feel a stretch on your glutes, hold it for 20-30 seconds.

Glute medius

These muscles are located in the upper region of your glutes.

Lifters will usually experience pain or soreness during the top of the deadlift lockout.

The pain will persist as long as the lifter continues to do deadlifts.


Many lifters found that this is not a serious injury and can usually be remedied at home.

By massaging their glutes and doing light stretches, many lifters are able to resume their normal training workouts within a week.

Usually, lifters use foam rollers to relax their glutes and to promote more blood flow in the area.

Another solution is to reduce the volume or taking a couple of days off. If you have been strength training for a long time, a couple of days of rest can do you some good.

Gluteus medius standing wall stretch

With the impacted glute facing the wall, the leg closest to the wall will be crisscrossed behind the front leg.

Now, placing one hand on your hips, push your hips into the wall.

Your back leg can come off the ground and lean over in the opposite direction with the further shoulder.

You should feel a stretch in your upper glute and hold that position for 20-30 seconds.

What to do if you have a pulled glute from deadlifts?

Stop deadlifting, for now at least

Many lifters will tell you to push through the pain.

However, that does not make too much sense.

If your body was healthy, would it send any pain signals to stop you from doing any lifts?

Something is wrong and you should address it.

Do not try to manage through the pain unless you want to take more time to recovery from your pulled glute.

Pain-free movement

One of the keys to recovery is to find pain-free movements that you can do.

Are deadlifts giving you glute pain?

What about squats?

Can you do Romanian deadlifts?

What about rack pulls?

There are a lot of lower body compound exercises that you can choose from in order to temporarily substitute for the deadlift.

In fact, check out these deadlift accessories to see if any suits your situation.

The main point is to find exercises that do not cause you pain or discomfort.

However, you might feel that once you pull your glutes during the deadlift, that you might want to just take some time off.

I have had injuries and have taken both sides of the approach - full rest and doing nothing and training pain-free.

I felt a lot better physically and mentally when I trained.

Even though I barely take time off in the gym, doing partial movements that I could do was still great for me. 

By the time my injury healed, I did not have to do a full reset on the lift.

Only a partial lift since I was still working the same muscles just as hard.

Glute Activation

After a couple of days of rest and you no longer feel pain, one of the best things you can do is to start moving.

Two very good exercises to do are bridges are straight leg raises.

There are tons of glute activation exercises that you can do.

Trying to activate the muscle and stimulate functionality and flexibility is important or recovery.


Glute pulls from a deadlift can be a result of one or more things.

However, overutilized or underutilized muscles are usually two contributing factors that decide whether or not you will feel any muscular or nerve pain from deadlifts.

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