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Extension Based Lower Back Pain

I have kind of strange lower back pain. It’s sharp and instant and lasts for sec. Its happening whenever I extend my spine(bend backwards) and when I am coming back from extended to natural. Its really painful and frustrating. My lower back feels tight when I am extending also.
I am afraid it’s disc pushing nerve but I can’t get it scanned until summer. I still train though. I have no problems with any lifts except Bench press. It’s not about weight because I have pain with empty bar same as 90%max. I know I should extend with my upper back but as soon as I lay on bench I get that sharp pain for like sec. The worst thing though is getting up after set because I get that stabbing sharp pain which goes instantly but my lower back feels tight after.

I can do overhead press without any problem by keeping my glutes and abs flexed which kind off keeps my back natural.

I also have problems with cat camel exercise(stretch). It feels good flexing but as soon as I go to extension stabbing pain…

I have this problem for quite some time.
I was told to stop lifting and take painkillers and I can’t get MRI until summer so i am pretty much fucked.
Would appreciate anyone’s advice/experiences with this.

lots and lots of anti-extension core exercises.

Planks would be the first step, then you’d progress from there.

Progress slowly, because a single fucked up rep on an anti-extension core exercise will drop you into a nasty hyperextension and fuck you up. Don’t take your reps to failure or anything crazy like that.

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Thanks for reply Yogi.
I started doing ab exercises after every workout(4times per week). I do circuits of weighted crunches, leg raises, ab wheel and paloff press. I will incorporate planks too.

And yeah I know what You mean, I hyperextended once during ab wheel and it was pretty much workout over…

I really feel frustrated because it feels like i have so limited range of motion. (I want to be able to extend without pain.)

Should I do any stretches? Hip flexor stretches?
My hamstrings are tight also :confused:

Crunching type moves aren’t doing much for you. They can actually cause a shortening of the rectus abdominus and make your pelvic tilt worse.

Ab wheel’s actually pretty advanced. I’d get bitchin’ at things like planks, swiss ball jacknives and stir-the-pot before I attempted them. If you must do a rollout, a swiss ball is a better choice in my opinion. If your posture’s as jacked up as I think it is then at the peak of the movement your shitty shoulder mobility’s going to try to push you into hyperextension (your arms are overhead like an overhead press). No bueno.

You have a limited range of motion because your nervous system is limiting your movement to protect you. I’ve given this piece of advice 5 million times on this forum and nobody ever fucking listens to me, but do this:

-Try and touch your toes. Don’t let your lower back flex to compensate. Keep your spine neutral and don’t try to force the stretch. Easy does it.
-Now do 3 sets of bird dogs. Nice and slow, getting a good contraction in your core.
-Now try and touch your toes again.

Holy shit! You just got way deeper into the stretch! What is this voodoo? Well activating your core told your nervous system “hey it’s cool, bro, my core’s all active so I can move without getting hurt” so your tight muscles got to relax.

Your hamstrings are tight because your pelvis is tilting forward, pulling them into a stretch. No point in stretching them - they’re already stretched.

So strengthening your core musculature and glutes is the way to go. Hip flexor stretches are great but without the accompanying strengthening of the core and glutes they won’t do a damn thing.

Best of luck with it all.


Excellent point about the Nervous System.

If you don’t know how to brace, all your lifts will be wrong, and all your lifting will be done in poor position. Then your brain “learns” this bad position more, and then “forgets” the good way.

After awhile, you just get a little bit extended, all the time.

Stuart McGill is a smart dude who talks about it.

The curl up teaches you how to use front abs to get neutral.

Side plank teaches using obliques to get neutral. I do it on 1 knee, cause I’m a puss.

Then the bird dog teaches you to hold neutral while you use your glutes.

This smart guy even has a special way to bend over.

After that silly stuff, I got Neuro Gains. By using the right muscles to get into proper neutral position, I learned it. So then my brace was better, and my lifts got better.

The only problem is that I need to put my hands on my knees and wedge myself in before every set of deadlifts. Like a cool dance move.

Also, get that belt!

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Thank you guys for such a constructive replies!
I ll definitely incorporate those core exercises.
Yogi I do ab wheel on my knees so it’s not that hard like one where you are on your feet.
Also my posture is indeed jacked up but I had no problems whatsoever with overhead presses. I extend my thoracic spine a bit but that’s it. When I am standing I can keep my lower back natural.
But bench press fucks me over … I flex my glutes on bench and squeeze my shoulder blades but still it’s trouble for my lower back.
How do you brace for bench press? I am used to breathing into my chest when benching so that I can keep my chest high.
here is a most recent video of my bench form.

(I noticed my right leg is a lot more in front of my left so i put plates on floor so I can feel where my feet are)
Also my legs feel somehow tight in this position. I can’t push them out or closer up.
You may not notice but hardest part was standing up from bench press coz it triggers that sharp pain -.-

Is there any articles about that core/cns correlation? I would like to know more about it. Thanks again Yogi and FlatsFarmer.

All back, but no abs. You just have to learn how to use all your “trunk muscles” front, sides and back to get tight. Right now, all the tightness is coming from your lower back, you’re extended and your back gets all pinched up.

I would try some McGill curls ups, then bench with feet up, or do floor presses with knees bent and feet on floor. Figure out how to keep your lower back flatter, abs tighter, and more of the arch in your upper back.

I’m bad at it too. I bench with my feet out in front of my knees, and feet kinda wide. Like a squat stance. I even think about getting tight for a squat, as I lay back. I can’t maintain good position with my feet under my butt and my heels close together.

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Tight hips making you hyperextend your back when you bench; happens to me too. Same advice about glutes and core applies as before. Put some aerobics steps under your feet to put your low back slightly into flexion. Works a treat.

Chad Waterbury was the guy I learned all about the core/cns stuff from. He was putting out some amazing content on that a few years ago. I think maybe there was even an article on this site from him about it.

@Chris_Colucci is that ringing any bells? Need your encyclopaedic T-Nation T-knowledge.

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I hate to disappoint, but I’m drawing a blank on specifics. I know Waterbury had a two part interview with Dr. Stu McGill (Part 1 and Part 2), so there should be a ton of back-health info there.

I did the toe touch test and after 3 sets of that core exercise I had like insanely larger range of motion.

I guess this was the article.

yes! That was the article! That’s where i first read it, but he went into way more detail about it in his blog and published loads of articles on there with more exercises and stuff. Worth digging around to see if you can find it.

Waterbury is a great resource all round.

I will check more of him.

I was doing ohp today and felt some pain in my right elbow (inside). ;/ It’s not first time but it got better and now it’s starting again.
I think i lack mobility to get into top position.

Any advices? Or should I ditch it?
(I d really love not to)

Well “if it hurts, don’t do it” but if it’s just a little niggle I’d not freak out too much.

Stop doing that thing with your neck where you look like you’re trying to fellate someone at the top of each rep.

Do you feel like you’re hyperextending? Does OHP bother your back? If not then you don’t need to drop it.

Nope It doesn’t aggravate my lower back pain at all. It feels good except that elbow pain that comes and goes sometimes :confused:

I also suffer from some chronic wrist pain. I used to do handstand/planche training 2-3 years ago and I am pretty sure I fucked up something in my right wrist. Loading my wrist in dorsiflexion feels really painful but it happens sometimes in gym unfortunately. In back squat for example I feel that, and what is strange is that it happens more when I try too keep my wrist natural.
I am guessing maybe it has to do something with elbow pain on ohp?
This picture shows exact area where my pain occurs. It doesn’t really affected my training much except that I can’t do pushups on the floor or front squat position.

I ll eliminate head movement for sure though.