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Big Legs With Limited Mobility?

I’ve been lifting for several years now, and have a reoccurring low back injury. I was never able to get past lifting more than 180lbs on squats or deadlifts without straining my back. I’ve worked with both a Certified Starting Strength Coach, and have done a lot of rehab and mobility work to no avail. I ended up taking a year off lifting, and my back seemed to be almost 100% better.

Well, I finally got it diagnosed, and it turns out that my right hip socket was never fully formed. Doc (orthopedic surgeon) said I should no longer load my spine while bending more than 70 degrees. He also said I will not gain mobility from stretching, and that stretching could make my back worse. He was very firm on this.

I just started lifting again, and decided to do rack pulls and light weight squats to feel it out. After my 3rd workout, I flared up my injury again squatting only 110lbs. I’m not entirely sure the flare up was due to the squats or pulls, the pain came a day after the workout (I am certain it’s not DOMs).

I would really like to work around this. I like squatting and pulling, but it’s apparent now that that’s out of the question. I want to get big legs, and I am not sure the best way to go about it.

I can most likely do lunges and hopefully rack pulls. Is this enough to build big legs? I have a home gym, and don’t have access to machines, but I would consider signing up if I should be doing leg press and extensions. Any other ideas?

A lot of people seem to be going crazy for split squats.

Sprinters seem to get pretty big legs without necessarily squatting much or at all.

Backward sled dragging lights up my quads like nothing else.

Would hip belt squats be out of the question?

Lots of walking lunges like Paul Carters big wheels no weights plan?

Higher rep squats with lower weight? I would imagine tabata front squats could get pretty unpleasant even with an empty bar. Or the 8 minutes of squatting in the hungarian oak training plan?

Just throwing some ideas out here man. Most of them should have links included.

Thanks for the input.

Split squats I can do for sure. I was alternating between these and lunges a couple years ago, but stopped because my ego kept getting me to move to barbell squat instead.

I don’t have room for a sled unfortunately.

Hip belt squats I can definitely try. The other thing I wanted to try was Hex bar deadlifts but was hesitant to spend the money on the bar if the movement wasn’t going to work for me.

I’ve done high rep squats (jump squats), but at some point it turned into more cardio and the sets would take forever.

Sounds like lunges, split squats and hip belt squats are worth a try for the long term.

Hopefully rack pulls are safe, I’ll see after I let my back get better for a few weeks. Maybe I can find a hex bar on Craigslist for cheap to experiment with. Seems like the only way to really hit the hamstrings.

I really wish I had a leg press. But maybe it’s not necessary with the exercises above.

Yeah not a doc, always follow medical professional etc.

Yeah do loads of bodyweight stuff/lunges as mentioned. Try occlusion?BFR training -can get tons out of light resistance.
If get in a gym in future this is good stuff…

Try this some of the stuff on this guy’s channel, tons of outside the box ways to improve movement and mobility…(as before run by a medical professional if in any doubt)…

I would also not forget about the usage of a sled! Lightweight, heavy weight. Sprints, heavy pushes, forward pulling, backwards pulling, etcetera. All would seem like a safe way to stimulate the lower body perhaps.

I’ve got a home gym as well and have the Rogue Echo Dog Sled from Rogue Fitness. I push it outside in the drive way and sometimes will just leave it in the back of my truck with some weight and pull it out in vacant parking lots.


I really doubt that your back pain is unresolvable or at least unmanageable but let’s just say that it is and go from there.

The best approach will depend on what u can do pain free. For example if loading is an aggravating factor than we try to minimise that. If certain positions and postures aggravate than we avoid those. Is there anything u can add to the list of what u need to avoid or are capable of doing?

Lunges are great for the whole lower body. Split squats are a close variations. Whichever of these two you prefer you can progressive overload easily with a barbell. If you get to a point where you are doing full range of motion lunges up and down the gym with weight on your back your lower body will be pretty developed. If you are limited to 100 lbs give or take it may not be enough.

Might take a bit of creativity setting up at home but maybe try some of these and their progressions or regressions as appropriate:

Step Ups
Barbell Hip Thrust
Sissy Squats
Pistol Squats
Hamstring Slide Curls & Variations
Nordic Hamstring Curls & Variations

Leg Curls/Extensions can be set up with bands but they are like burn/metabolite movements not your main builders. Would work better for these if u could go to a gym and hit up a machine with a big weight stack.

^^^^^^ what guineapig said x 2.

I’ll try to paint a better picture of my hip problem.

If I stand hip width apart, toes pointing straight ahead, and relax, my whole torso rotates 45 degrees to the left. That is my natural rest position. It’s pretty jacked up.

That means that any exercise requiring me to stand with both feet in line and me looking straight ahead is technically twisting my spine into a position that it doesn’t naturally fall into. Any exercise that is loaded in that position I shouldn’t be doing according to my doctor (especially if it requires bending last 70 degrees or so).

For my torso to not twist when standing, I need to stand with my right foot about 6 inches in front of my left foot.

Most of the exercises you mentioned above look good, except pistol squats, maybe some day, but much to advanced for me now, and I don’t have nearly enough mobility to preform them or their variations.

We don’t hear about such variations in anatomy too often.

Have u ever tried moving/lifting in that staggered stance? There’s exercises that are purposefully staggered this way and Klokov comes to mind as someone who does his lifting (weightlifting in his case) with an uneven stance because of his anatomy.

If u can do single leg like lunges and load it up to like 200 he’ll even 300 lbs on your back your lower body will be pretty jacked.

Split squats will be more quad and better for you I think because u don’t needa bother with taking steps and positioning your body right just start in the right position, lock it in and bang out reps.

I’ll add a single leg modifier to that hip thrust. Can load with a landline set up

Maybs be helpful to you

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I have not. I’m skeptical to because I have not seen any demonstrations on how to do it safely. And honestly, I haven’t really even thought of that as an option. If I did something like staggered squats, I would assume it wouldn’t work both legs the same way. But maybe that’s not a big deal.

Edit: I just looked up Klokov, and wow, that staggered stance he does might make a ton of sense for me. I will do some research on that for sure.

In the meantime, I and definitely going to do the one leg variations, especially split squats and hip thrusts. I’ve never thought of doing them with the landmine like in that video!

I’m getting giddy watching this. This might be exactly what I need, definitely worth trying this.

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Some material you might want to read to spark additional ideas for how to perform your exercises once you find ones that you can do.

I like this one, because as you’ll learn absolute poundage itself isn’t a growth trigger,

and this article contains some lower body work with some interesting methods that should prompt muscle growth in your legs (iso pre-fatigue, Darden 30-10-30),

If you do not sign up for a gym you’ll be more limited. Nordic glute ham raise are tough, but start with the range of motion that you can and work on the eccentric until you can drop down to the floor safely I guess (use your arms to reduce the load!) and just progressively make the exercise harder.

If you have say a weighted rugsack, you could sit on a chair and do a leg-extension with both legs and resist the weight on the eccentric with just one leg.

Someone recently posted this in another thread (do not remember which one, maybe it was posted by @kd13)

And of course, sissy squats.

Good luck, and remember, a lot of things suck if you do it with an 8s eccentric! And 1+1/2 reps too

Don’t go too crazy bro. If u can do something in that stance I reckon it’s worth. Even if it’s just a warm up with moderate weights it’s still a decent stimulus if u do reps on em. U can do the bulk of your work in the ways we’ve talked about after.

Tangent but Ive met Teo IRL many times. Not so much now that I’ve changed gyms and he got his own place but still. FWIW He’s a good enough guy but for his info is pretty bro sciency and is DYEL

That might be (I wouldn’t know, this is literally the only thing I’ve come across), but regardless it looks like those quads are having to put some work in isometrically, which is why I posted it. After all, if this

is what needs to be worked around (which is hard to even fathom) all I can do to pitch in is to share some stuff that feasibly could work.



Just calling it like I see it. Put a shirt on him he disappears. Maybe I’m less focused on leanness :man_shrugging:

Maybe DYEL was meant in a “Maybe she’s born with it. Maybe it’s Maybelline.” kind of way? :thinking:

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Not every one is blessed with a large frame and the genetic ability to be a mass monster. I agree he isn’t massive but DYEL, come on. He has packed a good amount of well balanced muscle on.

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@guineapig I’m not trying to start a conflict with you, but with regards to the topic-matter and where it is (Beginners) do you think that an interjection such as,

has any benefit to the OP?

It just seems unnecessary to introduce such a point of contention when I presume that — leaving your own personal standards out of it — you are aware that a lot of individuals would kill to look like the image previously posted,

Ironically, not as many people would put in the work and the discipline…