And now for some background. I really got into lifting about six months ago, and I love it. I’ve cut a good eight pounds of body fat, and my upper body training has been progressing well. My upper body strength is quite good - when I started off I couldn’t do a single pull up, but I’m up to sets of five now. I’ve upped my bench and have been steadily increasing weight on my other upper body lifts.
The problem is with my lower body. Lower back problems run in the family, and for over a year I’ve been having sciatica and lower back pain for no apparent reason. MRI and X-rays came out fine, but I have all the symptoms of a pinched nerve. There’s no easy fix for the problem, so I’m just having to work around it. Since the scans came out fine, the doctor said I’m fine to do whatever I can tolerate as far as lifting goes. Lifting has actually seemed to help, but poor squat form was making it worse.
So I stopped doing weighted squats and I’ve been really practicing my form with wall squats; I’m not quite there yet but I’m improving. My problem is after I hit parallel my lower back rounds. Anyway, although I’ve been lifting for months, I’ve seen very little improvement in my lower body. I’m avoiding spinal loading exercises (squats and deads) until I can build up my lower body some more and (hopefully) do them without pain.
I’ve been doing a lot of barbell hip thrusts, walking lunges, leg curls, leg extensions, and split squats. I’ve also been doing some extensions to build up my lower back a little. I’ve noticed some improvement, but my lower body is still lagging pretty badly.
Leg curls: 4x6-8
Leg extensions: 4x6-8
Walking lunges: 3x10
Hip thrusts: 4x6-8
BW squats: 3x15-20, sometimes I’ll do a few sets of 5 with just the barbell to work on form.
This is a typical leg day for me. Since my progression was poor, I changed up my workout a few weeks ago to this scheme, which I usually do 2-3 times/week. Any changes/additions to the exercises or rep schemes you would recommend? Or should I just stick with it? Spinal loading and high impact are no-no’s, so no running, sprinting or weighted jumping. I haven’t tried box jumps.