I've had a lot of trouble with my squat and deadlift since I injured my back. I don't back squat anymore only front squat at high rep range. I do goblets too. Initially I was worried about my lower back but I spent a long time mastering hyperextensions and strengthening my core. Now I'm back to squating and when I go heavy and deep I get pelvic instability and pain plus knees buckle in so I know we hips are now the weak link in the chain not my lower back.
My immediate goal is a strong enough posterior chain to actually squat in a rep range that is low enough to be useful. I do power cleans from the hang to strengthen my hips along with barbell hip thrusts, resistance band hip thrusts and wrap resistance bands around my knees and open them up keeping ankles together.
That's all the exercises I have directly related - I also do pull throughs but I'm not sure what else I can do to strengthen my hips. I know I'll be able to go heavier and deeper on the front squat(to build posterior chain and overall strength + legs hypertrophy) if I can fix the hips.
Yes, it is my hips. Although I'm a beginner I have been doing squats of one sort or another for some years and picked up on what I need to do to progress. First my core wasn't strong enough and it took me a long time to master the hyperextension after back injuries. Now my hip strength is the weak link. I can tell from my form breakdown when I go too deep and heavy.
It's been a bit disorganised and I'd have to explain a lot of things like why I'm using light weight mostly and why I'm doing certain exercises and not others. I'll try to summarise:
I have lower back injuries and I'm a beginner so it's difficult but I don't do anything like a beginners program nor any progressive squat / deadlift program as I just can't do it. So I just concentrate on posterior chain and core strength. Three or four leg days and just a little upper body in between.
Shoulders - Side raises, front raises, overhead presses. I pump the delts full of blood by replacing Dumbbells with resistance bands after sets.
Triceps - dips, close grip triceps push ups
Lats - pull ups and lying face down barbell rows
And push ups. That's all the upper body I do in a week.
The rest it's legs / core. Replaced squatting with weight for bodyweight split squats, leg press machine, leg extensions, dumbbell squat variations and lunge variations and Glute Ham Raise variations.
As I can't go heavy I spend a lot of my energy on bodyweight split squats which have helped me get stronger. But I can't go heavy enough on squat or deadlift without lower back and pelvic concern / pain. Even the 45 degree leg press is too much for my pelvis when I go heavy.
So, hips are a weak point then lower back and with legs I'm quad dominant so I spend a lot of time on hamstrings. Can't go heavy on RDLs, straight legged deadlifts etc but have been doing them a little in high rep range.
And I have tried to add a lot of volume with legs to make up for the lower loads but I run into the same trouble with form breakdown and pain so I have to back off and go back to bodyweight split squats and lunges.
Sorry that's a bit of a mess but that's the only way I can explain it. I sometimes miss upper body training but I never miss legs or core training as that's my focus. Legs / core / posterior chain / lower back / hips etc is all rehabilitation to get me into a position where I can squat and deadlift in useful rep ranges or if I can't I'll just keep getting stronger with hard bodyweight work and use machines to avoid the shear forces on pelvic hinge and lower back.
With lower back I'm convinced my weakness initially was not erector spinae but rather TVA, obliques etc. I still do a lot of stuff to keep my core strong but as I said my hip strength is now the weak link in the chain. I want to focus on hip strength and then I'll be able to front squat heavier and deeper which will allow me to add mass to my legs(one of my goals).
Diet was keto but I couldn't function on less than 50 grams of carbs a day so I'm eating a slight surplus in a sort of clean bulk in approx ratio 60% fats 35% protein 5% carbs. I don't actually want to lose any more bodyfat as I'm starting to look a little too skinny in places. But my diet is solid and consistent although I need to add a little more carbs pre-workout and post to fuel my workout and replace depleted glycogen. I've noticed my energy is really low from trying to get to metabolic ketosis.
And just to summarise my actual goals:
Aesthetic full body symmetry - rather than full body beginners I do a split week but focus on legs / posterior strength. Recently been hitting hamstrings to bring them in balance with my quads. I also want leg hypertrophy as my upper body is bigger than my lower body.
Rehabilitation for injuries and posterior chain / core strength for injury prevention and to allow me to do the above.
Olympic lift technique - I want to learn technique as some of the variations can be useful for a few things. I practice form with an empty(36lbs) bar and do a limited number of sets with a light weight but I don't ever go high volume on these.
I've heard about Tom Platz's high volume leg workouts but of course he was strong enough and juiced up enough to take high volume. For me I can do it without injury by careful choice and order of exercises but it turns into HI cardio that just eats into muscle tissue scavenging for fuel when I'm on a low carb diet and not in metabolic ketosis. That's why I've upped my carbs a little to restore glycogen and spike insulin post-workout and give me enough energy to get through intense leg days. So I'm trying to eat a slight surplus in calories and to eat enough carbs and at the right time.
Hope that gives you a better idea of where I'm at and what I'm trying to achieve. Lower body / legs / posterior chain / core come first and upper body is largely just shoulders and lats. I need delts hypertrophy for aesthetic symmetry and I suppose lats too. Pull ups are limited by shoulder joint pain so I move on to a barbell row that's face down on the bench with the bar underneath - this variation allows me to go heavier on rows when my core is too fatigued to do standing or bent over rows.
I don't bother with flys or curls for upper body.
I have done lying leg curls for hamstrings but I've found GHR variations more effective and I do a little light sets of RDLs and similar variations starting and finishing high to avoid posture / form breakdown and injury.
I NEVER allow my form / posture to breakdown on these lifts as I will injure myself. That's why I can only go light. I need to fix each weak link in the chain as it appears to safely progress. And right now it's HIP STRENGTH. Flexibility is fine. It's just their strength isn't up to par.