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Lower Back/Posterior Chain Training

I could use a little advice on training my lower back. Maybe this belongs in the injuries topic but I feel like I know what the problem is, just need some help strengthening properly.

I started a new job where I’m bending over a lot. Anyone that wants to make a joke about that statement, you’re welcome. I’m 6’1” long-legged with t-Rex arms so I have to bend down pretty far sometimes. I have historically had terrible posture and honestly didn’t even really understand the concept of a hip hinge until i started lifting about 6 months ago. So I have a pretty bad tendency to just bend at the spine; I have been trying hard to remember to use better mechanics but if I’m busy and distracted I definitely forget. I also have and have always had pretty weak and tight hamstrings and week abdominals, so when standing I sometimes arch my back too much, and I was definitely hyperextending when first learning to deadlift. That hurt.

Needless to say I have some low back pain right now. Mostly it’s just muscle soreness and tightness but I feel like when the muscles fatigue and don’t support my spine as well I get some sharp pains and occasional clicking in my spine when moving the wrong way.

I’m doing a variation on @isdatnutty’s beginner program. The changes I made are due mainly to an old shoulder injury and equipment limitations in my very basic home gym. I’ll spare the details but I think my exercise selection is pretty decent; I’m getting in deadlifts, RDL, SLDL, and barbell rows. My back usually feels pretty good while lifting and generally afterwards as well. It’s only pretty recently that I started feeling like I was getting the hang of my DL form, and I’m still kind of struggling to do RDLs. SLDLs feel pretty great. Weights are embarrassingly low for all of them.

Damn this post is getting long, sorry. My main question is, for the specific problem of having to stay stooped over at work for several minutes at a time, several times per shift, is there a best way to train for that task? High reps for some kind of muscular endurance in my hamstrings or just focus on strength? Anything else I’m not thinking of? I plan to start doing more direct ab work as well. I do hanging leg raises (bent knees) and I think I might buy an ab wheel.

Full disclosure I have not been training nearly as consistently as I’d like, especially the past month, so i haven’t made a ton of progress on my lifts. I like training but totally suck at time management. Kids, job, things needing repaired in the house, all the usual things that plenty of other guys have figured how to deal with. Just challenges I haven’t overcome yet.

I don’t have specific lifting goals; just want to get stronger, be healthier, not have a jacked up back, lose some fat and not end up diabetic.

I appreciate anyone who read this whole ridiculously long post.

My guess, for what its worth, is that you’re simply overworking your lower back. It’s notoriously slow to recover, so maybe try to limit the volume on it as much as possible. Find subs that hit the target muscles without taxing your lower back so much would be my instinct, particularly in the short term while you give it a chance to recover and get stronger.

@dagill2 Thanks for your reply. Honestly that was the opposite of my instinct, but I am learning that my instincts are pretty poor in this area.
I will give this some thought. Especially in the short term it might make sense. It does feel like there’s a bit of an imbalance, my lower back is tight and my abs are super weak, giving me that anterior pelvic tilt/swayback kind of situation.

When I raced dirt bikes the first thing to go was my lower back. I rode standing most of the time with an aggressive bent over stance. I decided I needed to strengthen and work my lower back and I kind of came up with my own exercise. I’m sure it’s been done plenty of times and has a special name but what ever. It’s mine :joy:

The setup and small details are HUGE or you end up working your hamstrings (for me Atleast).

What I would do:

Holding a ezcurl bar or barbell with a total weight of around 50-75lbs, is back against a wall with my feet roughly 6-8” in front of the wall, knees slightly bent.

Holding the weight in front of me with my back straight and locked I’d bend over and stand back up.

THE SECRET! You have to spend a minute or too adjusting your but placement on the wall, your but needs to stay perfectly STILL, no sliding up and down. Once I found that sweet spot where literally nothing moved, I’d do a couple sets of 50-100 reps making sure to focus on my back and not let my hamstrings do anything.

The set up is so crucial and I’ve never explained it to anyone without a visual so I hope it makes sense.

After doing these a couple times a week I never had lower back issues riding/racing again. It was HUGE for me. Prior to this I tried all kinds of stuff, even super tight kidney belts and stuff and this was the only thing I found.

Hmm I would definitely screw that up. I appreciate the advice for sure, but I continue to amaze myself with my instincts to do every movement wrong.

Example: I’ve never really done planks because I felt like they were too easy, even though I knew that was a super weak point of mine. I just watched a couple YouTube videos and learned I’d been doing those wrong too, so now I find them much harder and legit working my abs.

I’m going to try doing planks every day (ish) for a while and see if that helps me brace better on the main lifts.

Still not sure on the rest of my programming. I’ve been off work this weekend so feeling a little less sore, but haven’t lifted because my garage gym has become a temporary furniture painting studio. Should be done this afternoon so lift either tonight or tomorrow.

I may end up giving your exercise a shot at some point, maybe when the pain gets a little better. I’ve been trying to visualize it; maybe i can do it without screwing up. Certainly seems like it would strengthen those muscles. We should give a cool name.

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You can do it without the weight to get the proper set up. The important part is the hips and but stay perfectly anchored to the wall, not moving up and down even a smidge.

So for the last decade I’ve had chronic low back pain that From time to time flares up to the point where I can’t walk for a couple of days. The worst has been after a rather unforgivable Zercher squat attempt and then after my first strongman comp.

What’s been a game changer for me has been doing daily Third World squats for as long as I can muster. Basically since the day I first saw the below article, I’ve been doing it.

After incorporating this for so long, this is now my default way to pick something up off the ground. I actually have to stop and think for a moment if I want to hinge.

Plus rolling out the piriformis (or whatever) has been huge.

@TX_iron That’s a great article, thanks for that. Sorry you’ve been dealing with that for so long.

I will definitely give that plan a shot. I’ve been amazed for years by my kids’ ability to just drop into a third world squat with comfort and ease. Sometimes my daughter will actually just squat on top of the chair while eating at the dinner table. For me it’s more like a torture, but I will see if I can improve.

Rolling the piriformis is also some good advice, I had forgotten that I had a little luck with that in the past. Will try to get back in that habit.

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All good man. I just take more of a conservative approach nowadays with heavy pulling than I used to.

Ha, Well it’s always nice to have an an in-house coach!

I have no idea how helpful this will be, as it’s related more to fixing a back issue than it is just training the back/post. chain properly, but I liked it.

Look up “Fix Lower Back Pain” by Fitness Culture on YouTube. Also “Have Back Pain? Try These Exercises” by the same channel.

I’ve done some of the stuff and it helps out. Never had a back injury but I get a little sore here and there.