Weightlifting & Exercise/deadlift injury


Hello, Karen Fili Sullivan

I recently started going to the gym ( after several years ).

I started out with lower back exercises. I wanted to use the barbell to perform deadlifts but there was not a single barbell available at that time, so I decided to do my deadlifts using dumbbells instead.

When I was doing the deadlifts with the dumbbells I felt pain in my ( right ) knee. I do not see any connection between my back and my ( right ) knee, and I'd like to know what I did wrong.

It helped to reduce the weight, but I'd like to know what was the cause of the pain in my knee ( bad technique, lack of warmup etc )

Thank you

You familiar with the children's song "the hip bones connected to the leg bone?" Well, that is how it works. This is called the kinetic chain.  Yes, the back can affect the knee and it works the other way around too. The erector spinea, gluteus, hamstrings all tie into the knee. The hamstring (muscle running down back to the legs) has an origin point on the pelvis and the femur with an insertion at the other end of the thigh on the femur and the tibia. (Behind the knee).

You may have twisted slightly, had your knees locked straight, or did too heavy as a start. It's impossible to say without having seen you doing the exercise. This is my first thing I watch for with a client. So, now that the damage is done you need to get it to heal.

1. Rest
2. Ice
3. Elevation

I would not stretch until pain lessens. When you do stretch start by lying on the floor and pull your knees into your chest. Then cross one ankle over into opposite knee.  Pull that opposite knee into chest and stretch the butt. Any butt, IT band stretch is good.  Once you feel release do a stretch in the hamstring that releases the whole muscle. Standing with Heel on floor....bend down so you feel stretch in your hamstring up into your butt.  Then straighten the knee to get hamstring to release behind the knee. GENTLY. Never bounce. Be easy. Be gentle. 3 times for each leg...3 times a day.

Hope this helps.
Be Well!

Weightlifting & Exercise

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Karen Fili Sullivan


Get on the inside track with Karen and her daily advice. http://karenfilisullivan.com. Or on FacebookLIKE us at ZWL - Zen of Whole Living I have more than 30 years experience and can help with lifting technique, muscle recovery, weight loss, body building and powerlifting. I've been certified by AFPA as a Personal Trainer and 12 years ago acquired a second certification from the same agency as a Post Rehabilitative Exercise Specialist. Any recommendations or advice rendered are based on fitness information as specified by the American College of Sports Medicine and the American Fitness Professionals and Associates. Follow my Blog on http://karenfilisullivan.com


Almost 25 years coaching and training. Wow! I feel old. Before that I was a competitive bodybuilder and powerlifter (ask my Chiropractor -- he can tell you). I have trained kids ages 12 to 89. From sports specific training to stroke rehabilitation. I love helping people move more gracefully, powerfully and safely.

A few.

Published in Spring of 2013 The Zen of Weight Loss: A Mindful, Livable Approach to Fitness Get your copy at Square Market. https://squareup.com/market/body-restoration-by-karen/zen-of-weight-loss-in-mo

English with a Journalism concentration was my college education. My training has been with my mentor, Jack Michaels, ACSM and professor at the College of William and Mary. My certifications are with the American Fitness Professionals and Associates. AFPA. I hold a certification as a Personal Trainer and a Post Rehabilitation Exercise Expert (Isn't that a mouthful?l). My continuing education requirements have been fulfilled at a number of organizations and are monitored by AFPA. I keep my Red Cross CPR and First Aid current.

Awards and Honors

Past/Present Clients
Clients include athletes training for marathons, mountain climbing and general weight loss. In addition I have clients troubled with COPD, Fibromyalgia, and Parkinsons as well as stroke rehab. She was the Strength and Conditioning coach for Williamsburg Aquatic Club, a USA Swim Team, in Williamsburg, Virginia for 3 years.   Karen is presently working at Main Street Gym in Historic St. Charles, Missouri where she teaches Pilates and continues her work with clients. Her training reaches across the country with her long distance Body Restoration eTraining. Her dedication to fitness reaches into the nutritional supplementation with Shaklee products. She only works with clients who add nutritional supplementation to their training. Read more of her story on www.shaklee.net/BodyRestoration

©2017 About.com. All rights reserved.