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I Keep Hurting My Back

I’m 42 and have been weight training since my 20s. A few years ago I hurt my back on deadlifts and since then I have hurt my back again at least 2 or three times each year. When ever I start seeing strength results, just like clock work I get hurt again and have to back off and start over again. Over the years I have read articles and watched many form videos and still doesn’t help. About 2 months ago I hurt my back on squats and just the other day I hurt it again on hexbar deadlifts of all things. Anybody have advice or had similar experiences?

Buy Stuart McGill’s book “Back Mechanic”, follow what he says and start doing the McGill big 3 exercises every day. He has fixed numerous powerlifters and other athletes as well. I messed up my back last year and now I’m squatting and deadlifting 600, it works.

Also learn to brace properly and don’t lift with a rounded back.

Thanks for the advice. I have actually watched some videos about the big 3 but haven’t actually done them. I will definitely try this.

I just had a major herniated disc in my lower lumbar at the first disc above my sacral area, forget the numbers. If it was any worse it would have required surgery.

I’m not a lifter, though I used to be. After seeing a couple spine docs and doing PT it boils down to not having good core muscles.

Im a dad with an office job so I sit on my ass alot. Ruined my core, so when I lift heavy things it turns out my spine and other ligaments/cartilage take the weight.

If you have a strong core it should help prevent lower back injury. So I’m rebuilding my weak core to try and get back to where I was.

Food for thought

Come to think of it I haven’t been directly working on my core as much lately. This may have something to do with not bracing properly when I got hurt.

In going to be a bit controversial.

All lifting injuries, barring freak accidents, are load management issues.

Unless you deadlift like a fishing rod towing a whale it’s far more likely that you keep injuring your back because of failure to manage load properly.


Here is an interesting concept


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Yes, Incredible how much load we can move.

Notice that you’ve discussed this years ago! I recently studied deeper, and just recently understand the connection that I now can actually apply to truly balanced loading in all of my exercises. It seems incredibly easy to move weight when in balance. But, is it it strength or a skill at balancing the mechanisms of tensegrity?


Is this rhetorical or a pointed question? Bit hard to tell, sorry

FWIW, it’s my belief that every motor program is a skill, and increasingly complex programs just layer skills on top of one another

Awesome man, what resources did you use?

I’m not sure where I’ll lead myself … beyond exercise. But I do expect to re-look at my inroading as an attempt to isolate a particular muscle into tension/compression without dissipating load into my overall biotensegrity chain. I am also beginning to apply these tension compression concepts to some of my manufacturing designs. I am heartened to say I am very new and likely years away from your expertise. Statics … here I come. I will move this into the new topic … :+1:

That’s why the McGill big 3 is good, core work plus bracing drills.

Not disagreeing, but in some cases the load includes poor movement outside the gym as well.

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Definitely very much a factor, but how would you define poor movement?

Like severe lumbar flexion to pick things up or tie shoes, bending awkwardly, other stuff that isn’t exactly movement like sitting on a couch or riding a bike in spinal flexion. If your back is is good shape then that sort of stuff might not be a problem, but for some its the straw that breaks the proverbial camel’s back.

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Well said. How do you feel about Jefferson curls?

Spinal injury waiting to happen

Fair enough. I know McGill isn’t a fan at all

this sounds a lot like me. It’s taken me years to get to where I’ve stopped regularly injuring my back. I kept looking for a silver bullet fix and there just wasn’t one. For me it’s just been all about load management. Adjusting load, frequency etc. I can’t train like I did when I was in my 20s. I still train hard, but you have to be smart about the cost of everything you do in the gym. I can still do things like pull heavy, but I have to account for it. I’ll need to do my next sessions limiting spinal loading and recovering while doing things like hypertrophy accessory work. I also now mainly use main lift technique that minimizes lower back involvement even though I’m weaker at it because the cost is lower and I can high bar squat 2 sessions or low bar squat 1.

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