T Nation

Beginner Prep School and Lower Back Work

I trained using the Starting Strength Linear Progression for two months before jumping ship to 5/3/1 BPS because it allowed for slower progression, assistance work, and aligned better with my athletic goals. Towards the end of my LP I was still making progress with ease, but my lower back, especially in the squat, has always felt “suspect”.

My current template is pretty much vanilla BPS with a push/pull/core BW circuit at the end with no additional weighted movements.

My question is: what can I add in to strengthen my lower back? I don’t have access to a back raise machine, so would light, high-rep good-mornings suffice?

Any insight is appreciated.

Hi puzzled - couple questions first. Can you elaborate on “suspect”? Is it just unstable, is there pain, or something else going on? Also, what are you currently doing as your BW circuit?

Video will be a huge help as well, there’s some pretty smart fellers on here.

How much abdominal work do you do?

  1. Should have clarified “suspect” - Meaning it gets super-pumped during the FSL work and doesn’t feel as rigid or strong as it should be. Almost feels like my entire lower back has been hollowed-out and numb by the end of squatting. No pain. Hope that makes sense.

  2. BW circuit is:
    KB squats or KB swings (30-50)
    30-50 chin-ups
    Low-rep dips (20-40) or high-rep push-ups (40-60) depending on day
    Hanging leg raises (30-40) or pull-down abs with band or light-weight (~100ish)

Hanging leg raises (30-40) or pull-down abs with band or light-weight (~100ish)

Ok that makes more sense. I think we’d need a video to best help ya. I’m guessing it’s either your technique or that your low back is weaker compared to the rest of your body and is fatigued easier. Any injury history or athletic background?

Forgive me, but

Aren’t kettlebell squats, kettlebell swings, and using “light weight” all, by definition, not bodyweight movements? Or does BW not mean bodyweight.


DB squats/swings are part of the BPS program outlined by Wendler.

When I say light abs pulldowns it’s something like 30# for about 100 reps just to get some volume in.

I’m guessing I’m just weak. Period.

No injury history and my previous athletic background was in high school where I played soccer and lacrosse. No previous training history aside from aforementioned SS.

Sounds about right then, you’re probably really taxing your low back for the first time in your life and it just needs to catch up. Probably best to stay the course and keep pushing it. If you want some reassurance you’re not doing something different that’ll get you hurt you can post a video of your squats and DL. Best of luck!