T Nation

Lower back pain


I've been having pain associated with bent over rows. My back workout starts off with deadlifts, then either chins or pullups, then bent over rows. Here's how my row goes:

The bar starts off on a stand about waist high. I pick it up, step back, set my feet, arch my back, and bend over to just above parallel to the floor (my upper body makes a 100-110 degree angle with my legs, and I don't round my back). My hands are a little narrower than a medium- to wide-grip bench press and are facing towards me. I then pull the weight to my stomach/lower chest, lower, then repeat.

The trouble comes when I stand up. I stand up slowly, and feel a little hint of pain in my lower back on the right side. It feels almost like my love handle is hurting. Well, that pain isn't bad. When I rack the weight, and step back, it hurts like hell to stand up straight, but once I do, I'm fine. This used to be a minor problem (i.e. very little, if any pain, just a funny feeling), but today was pretty bad.

Any suggestions on what could be wrong?


work your abs and hams ALOT. A few people i know have had lower back problems. After that suggestion, within a few weeks, all pain is gone. This is because these are the muscles that erect your spine and thus lower back.


ART if available as I always say. I have yhe same problem, but have very strong hammies and abs. It's just old stuff that can act up. don't let your new stuff become old stuff. There are a ton of possible problems that won't totally heal with just exercise.


I say dump the BB rows. "over training the back and never seen them done right" - charles staley.


It could be QL or psoas that is giving you some grief. Some ART, ATM or NMT on those and other muscles may help releive your pain. Can't really help you unless I see you person.


My last training partner started to experience back pains during compound movements and was told by his doc. to ease way back onquad work and ramp up hams. The weaker hams were tightening and causing low back pain.

Guru X


Develop hamstring strength and psoas flexibility. I had similar problems and this helped where six years of doctors couldn't. Thanks again Christian T.


Are you keeping your abs tight during the movement? The tighter you keep your abs, the more support for your lower back. I was fucking my back with deadlifts when I figured out that I'm not tightening my abs during the movement...


You're already doing deadlifts prior to the bent rows so if nothing else, your stabilizing muscles are already fried. I'd say ditch the bent rows. Charles Poliquin has says it's too hard to concentrate on working the lats with this movement because it involves too much stabilization and I tend to agree. Personally, I've seen more guys hurt their backs, or complain of back pain in this movement than any other. Go ahead and do seated rows or one arm dumbell rows or something else to take their place.



I'm with you. Seem like a lot of coaches recommend doing chest supported rows when possible, probably for exactly the reasons you state.



Try doing the rows with a more upright stance this helps me. Another thing is don't do high reps. I know this sounds retarded as you will be doing more weight with lower reps but for me it seems the duration of the set is a factor. I injured my back along time ago and I have to be careful. Try one arm bent rows. Or you can support your head on a bench or whatever is high enough. That will take stress off your back. How about 45deg. kneeling bent rows. I agree not exactly the same but somewhat close. Alot of good answers already. Ciao. :slight_smile:



Doesn't sound retarded at all when you think about it. muscle (and ligament's )in the low are comparitively small muscles, so when you are cranking out high reps, those small muscles fatigue faster, hence fail faster. And when they fail, important stuff suddenly looses support and whamo, pain...



As you know, I've got a hurt back. I had to throw out barbell rows but I still have made huge progress with my back in the last few months. Chins, pull-ups, one-arm dumbbell rows, and seated rows were all staples in my back training. I discovered a new favorite back exercise, which you may have read in one of CT's articles, the horizontal incline pull-up. Works just like a row, but there is no pressure on your lower back. Of course, adding weight can be a problem with this exercise but it is more difficult than you would think.

The only barbell rows I do now are close-supinated grip and standing almost completely upright rowing to my lower abdominals.


Where do you wear your wallet? I recently have had pain on the lower-right side. I went to a chiropractor (one thats qualified for ART) and xrays showed that my right hip is ~13mm higher than the left. I believe wearing my wallet in my back right pocket is the cause.



I very much appreciate all of the replies. Most likely, I'll just dump the bb rows for awhile.

DanceInstructor - I actually wear my wallet on the right side. It's funny the things that we don't think about that we put our body through every day.

Again, I thank everybody for their input.


Thanks Sean.

Jared put your wallet in your front pocket. It takes getting used to at first but every little thing helps. Especially if you do a lot of driving. Plus it's harder for pickpockets. :wink: