I started lifting in October 2015. My buddy thaught me his broscience and my form on squats and deadlifts wasn't very good (i wasn't lifting with rounded back but still not perfect form) . He told me "go for lighter weight and more reps on squats and deadlift so your back will get used to it".
After 4-5 months i started to feel that something is not right there in my lower back. At that point i discovered t-nation and i started to read lots of articles. I improved my form on all exercices. And then i started to lift more and more weight. I was lifting like 200 for 3 sets of 7 reps on deadlift and 135 for 4 sets of 10 reps on squats. At that point i started to feel more pain in some positions of my back.
Then i took an one month break cause i went into a septum surgery. Then i started lifting again. I also did 4 sets of 10 goodmornings with 90 lbs on my back. This time my form was good (touching the ground with weights on deadlifts, high bar squat to parallel, back nice and tight) . Pain apeared again and i tried to figure out what the fuck am i doing wrong. My pain started being more severe. I had pain even when i bent over to catch something. I tried stretching. I tried to warm up better. Even lighter weight with more reps. I mean everything! (except going to a doctor. that's excluded).
I remember a day when my back was really sore and i tried to do my 90 pounds goodmornings and i felt like my lower back broke itself on the 2nd rep. That day i stopped doing any squat, deadlift or goodmorning. Sad thing cause i loved that feeling you get when you move big weight. After a few weeks i tried again to do light squats from 66 pounds and increase them by 5 pound a week. At 110 pain was back in my back (lol) and it was the final "SCREW IT!".
So after one year of lifting i gave up on the most important exercices. After about 5 months i had an idea: what if i squat ass to grass and i fucking "sink" my body between legs, like some articles say? Sounds science! I tried it in a few sessions to see if the pain comes back and it was all good. So i started to do Jim's Wendler 5/3/1 on squats too, with some goblet squats before as a warm up. It went all good.
After a month i started doing deadlifts too (no goodmornings this time cause fuck that) and everything seems to go right. Last week i fucked up the last rep on deadlifts but my back forgave me for that.
In conclusion i have some advices for you:
- High reps/light weight sucks because you lose tension as your core fatigue
- Big weight won't screw your back if you use decent form (i mean check your form even if you think it's perfect)
- It's all about maintaining good form on the whole range of motion ("nice and tight" doesn't mean your face looks nice at that moment)
- If your back hurts because you are lifting, then give it a break, else you should see a doctor
- Every time you finish a rep, get ready for the next one, keeping that core thight
- TIGHTNESS !!
- Don't even try to replace squats with leg press because that puts stress on your lower back even more than squats.
I hope this brotips will help you. My back is bulletproof now and i can do whatever i want, like lunges, overhead press, bending over to tie my shoes, breaking your lower back with my lower back and other shit... I want to thank to T-nation for poviding me such great articles. Special thanks to Jim Wendler, the creator of the 5/3/1 program (the single lifting program that didn't hurt my back and also improved my strenght like no "chest and arms" workout). Have a healty back!