Back Injuries

Hey all,

I’ve been trying to get back in shape for a while now. I was able to spend a few months at the gym last year until family events kept me from going for a several months (my wife was injured in a car accident) I’m looking to gain probably 10 or 20 pounds of muscle and tone up quite a bit, however I do need to also cut fat (I gained quite a bit of weight in the last few months… After the accident I didn’t really take the time to keep track of what I ate and often went to fast food. Things are getting back to normal though, so I should be able to spend the time making lean meals at home).

I wanted to get my workout looked over before I start back up. Also, before the accident I was having a lot of difficulty with squats and had thrown out my lower back several times, preventing me from working out for several days afterwards. I try to keep my back straight, look up, and tighten my abdomen when doing the squats, so I think I’m doing them right (I do them the same way I do deadlifts, and I haven’t hurt my back doing those) I know my lower back is weak though (I was only able to deadlift around 150 pounds), so I think that may be the problem… I’m not sure if I should hold off on squats (and do either short-step lunges or leg-presses on a machine) or if I should try a variation (such as front-squats). I’ve also heard that placing a block under my ankles can help alleviate some strain off the lower back. Any advice on what I should do?

Here’s my routine:

Age: 23
Height: 5’11
Weight: 185 lbs
(I’ll try and post more detailed measures and a pic in a few days)

Upright Row
Chin-up (Reverse have better synergy with Rows? More focus on biceps, less on traps)
Bench Press (Dumbbells)
Crunch (Monday), Hip Raise (Wednesday)

Calf-Raise (Standing using squat machine)

(All workouts are 5x5 except abs and chins)

I also plan on jogging a couple miles over the weekend.

Thanks for any help.

Re your squat question: if you regularly put your back out doing squats, you are either doing them wrong, using too much weight or have some back problem. (Or a combination of these factors).

Solutions: 1. don’t do them. As you suggested, you can sub single leg stuff for the leg strength without putting stress on your back. Deadlifts will give you all the back strength you need. 2. Do front squats. These keep you much more upright. 3. Keep squatting, but keep the weight down until your back is much stronger. If you can only deadlift 150, you are very weak. Get this up to 300 or more and the squatting may be less of a problem.

well, even though i’m no expert it does sound like you are overcooking the weight.

take it easy… i’m writing this from hospital with a fractured lower spinal vertebrae. not a gym accident, i’d come home and slipped on a pair of my wifes shoes… landing on my back and knocking myself out…

i have to wait for the doc to decide what he is going to do… but i want to be out of here and back in the gym.

excuse the typing, i’m on one of the hospital bedside touchscreens…