T Nation

Back Pain...Help!

I was doing squats today and I felt a sharp shooting pain in my lower back on the 5th rep of the 2nd set when i got down to the very bottom of the squat. I stopped and just finished the day with lunges.

I hurt my lower back before doing deadlifts (poor form), but the pain went away after a few weeks. I started squatting again since last month, and have been making progress. However, now that I’ve hurt my back AGAIN, I was was wondering what are some substitute exercises I could do for my legs that would not require putting stress on my lower back (until the pain goes away). Only thing I can think of are lunges and leg presses hurt my lower back.

Also, I have only been performing some basic stretches (cross knee to other leg), are there any other stretches you guys know of that could help me recover?

Thanks for the help.

First, be very careful man. You’re better off taking it easy for a little while than putting your self out for maybe a couple months… or longer. Try some hack squats, barbell hacks, trap bar squats, sissy squats or even dumbbell squats may surprise you. You should be able to do SOMETHING with one of those with a little common sense until you get better. Low back problems can be persistent and eventually practically permanent. Be smart.

I am not well versed in the other leg exercises you can do to substitute the ones you listed, but I do know a lot about back pain. Like you I hurt my lower back because of deadlifts (poor form).

The only reason why I am lifting again is because I strengthened my core, and that is what i suggest you do. Search “myofascial release” and get a foam roller, itll do wonders for your back, and make sure u strengthen ur core…(e.g. back extensions, crunches, trunk rotations, etc)…

Lower back pain sux, dont do anything that might make it worse or ull be sidelined for longer…(I couldnt lift for 6 months)…keep good posture and strengthen ur core…good luck

You might want to start strengthening your back before you try squats and deadlifts.

The deadlifts could have strained your spinal erectors, especially if you were performing it with poor form, such as a rounded lower back mixed with lifting your hips too high, or pulling with too great (forward) an angle while pulling from the bottom.

Keep strengthening your back through your standard exercises, such as chin ups, seated row, lat pull down, t-bar rows, bent over rows. Through in some one-arm rows, whichever your preference.

Be careful with some lower back exercises, but you should be working with some hyper-extensions. Start with body-weight and higher reps for a few weeks then work up to holding a plate, then a heavier dumbell etc. As Eric Cressey and other authors on here have pointed out, don’t hyper-extend beyond the 180 degrees. Only to parallel is fine.

For more lower back work and working on strengthening your hamstrings, do some cable pull-throughs. If you don’t know how these are done, you face away from a cable stack, use the lower attachment, preferably with a rope. While standing upright, away from the cable machine and rope between your legs, punch your butt back as far as possible, arms entirely straight, feel the stretch in your hamstrings. Then push your butt/pelvis through as if you were performing a deadlift at lockout and ‘f*cking the bar’. Your back and legs will be on fire.

If you’re still wanting to work your legs, without overloading your back, give the old pistol squats a go. These can be done at home - the one legged squat. It’s quite a tough one to do but you can work up to holding a dumbell against your chest. Otherwise try some lateral lunges, bodyweight and weighted with a barbell on your back, to work the inside of your thighs, your adductors, as if you were performing a wide squat. Still keep using the leg press to work your quads.

This should take care of your back, lower back, hamstrings, and strengthen parts of your legs such as your adductors for when you get back to squatting and deadlifting.

And check out some foam-roller exercises incase your back is overly tight and needs some tissue release. Rolling on a tennis ball will even help.

Three things:

1.Foam roller

2.Magnificient mobility dvd

3.Lots of prone/side bridges

Along with some of the articles on the site, it will help you get your back stronger and more stable to handle the weights as well as develop more dynamic flexibility.

Just be careful not to flex your spine when lifting stuff regularly so you don’t further aggravate it.

Good luck. If it hurts real bad, and you have the means, seek professional medical help.
Take more time, next time. Better to have gained 1 lb a workout for a long time, over and over, than to try 50lbs more, hurt yourself, start again., etc. Do all the little things like others have mentioned. They aren’t so little in the big scheme of things.

thanks for the replies. ill try the various exercises u guys have mentioned and maybe even try dumbell squats for a couple weeks.