T Nation

Leg Day Low Back Work Around

So, I have a leg day tomorrow or sunday, but my low back wasnt 100% for deads today (maybe like 85-90%, to use some fake numbers) and I want to give it time to recover before my next ME DL day. So, I am looking for some low-back friendly leg exercises.

Right now it is all machines and looks like:

Main Exercise:
Leg Press

Calf Raise
Leg Curl
That mule kick leg machine only girls and I use (thinking of it as dead assistance, plus was born with no ass so it couldnt hurt)

So, what else? I dont like leg extensions, they do not jive with me. How about those Brett Contreras weighted hump things? Do they fatigue the low back? Or the (I believe it is called) hack squat machine where you push the sled up with your shoulders? Ive never done that either.

And yes, dont fret, Ill be rotating out DL for a Squat Variation to murder myself on after one more big DL day. I can only be hardcore 95% of the time…

walking lunges

Ooh good one. Havent done unilateral stuff in a while

Front Squats arent as low back intensive as back.
x 2 on the lunges, you can destroy yourself with them.

Hack squat should be a staple, hop on that thing!

I don’t feel stressed in my lower back from front squatting.

Really? I find front squats taxing on the low back from just stabilizing the weight. Probably more mid back than low, but I wouldnt think to do them if I was trying to lay off the back.

Most lunge variations…focus on “staying tall” at the bottom of each rep, while maintaining a tight midsection and tight natural arch in the low back

Step ups can work well also, if the angle of the knee is 90 degrees or greater in the starting position

Single leg hamstring curls…vertical body postion if possible (on a leg curl machine, not using a cable)
**Be sure to maintain a tight arch in your low back…you want to avoid excessive hip extension

Reverse Hypers if possible…this is one of the best execises to strengthen the postterior chain WITHOUT loading the spine…focus on squeezing the glutes hard at the top of each rep
**These can also be done using just your body weight by lying prone on a bosu ball that is on top of a stretching table…anchor your upper body with your hands under the edges of the table…you can’t use much for external load (maybe a DB between your feet), but these will help keep the low back musculature mobile and loose when experiencing low back issues

A proper glute activating (and posterior chain) warm up is a must before EVERY workout if back issues are frequent, even if they’re not.

A lot of low back issues can be avoided (or minimized) by learning to fire your glute muscles properly. This takes time and patience. Often, the low back and hamstrings compensate for weak glutes, leading to chronic back, hip flexor, and hamstring issues.

Also, be sure to foam roll and stretch all muscles surrounding the hips (above and below) after a proper active warm up and immediately after training.

Hope this helps.

I like weighted hump things (as I also lack ass) but I find that my back starts to kick in if I load it too heavily.

Split squats. Did some last night. My glutes and quads are destroyed. A little more than half of your back squat weight = low back saver.

Only video I could find that even begins to demonstrate what I used to do. Basically that, except square yourself infront of the bar so you don’t have to twist so much, it takes it from being a core exercise to a leg exercise… Just go heavy and don’t listen to The Fray while doing it, or ever for that matter, and you should be fine.

Also, x2 on the walking lunges… they destroy me.

I think you mean putting the bar in a position like a t-bar row, rack the bar in one of your shoulders and squat up and down. I have seen this before somethere.