T Nation

Lower Back: Squats & Deadlifts

lately my lower back has been hurting alot while squatting heavy. This wasn’t a problem earlier when I first started starr’s 5x5 program back in december, but after 8 weeks of squatting 3x a week
it seems that my lower back gets immediately stiff after a set of squats. I’ve maxed out at 235 for 3 reps, could it be bad form or overtraining??

Also, I’ve started a new variation of the 5x5 program, which has me continuing to squat 3x a week using the same principles in starr’s 5x5. Should I stop this and move onto another program that has only 1 squat day a week??

No, don’t squat less frequently but you might want to do front squats or one legged squats part of the time. It will give your lower back a break. Also look at your deadlift schedule.(including RDLs, GMs, cleans). Single leg exercises and Glute Ham Raises are easier on the back.

You probably should do a deload week now and rethink your exercise selection to give your back more recovery time.

the thing is I just deloaded like 3 weeks ago, by just going lighter on the new program I’m doing right now. Also, I have to pick up and lift boxes around at work, could this be also contributing to the increased stiffness in my lower back??

This is my program right now I’m doing, tell me what I should switch around.

Monday

squats-5x5 (ramp weight to a top set of 5)
push press-5x5 (same thing)
t-bar rows-5x5 (same thing)

accessory work-weighted behind the head situps 4 sets 8-10, good mornings 2 sets 5-8 reps

wednesday

squats-4x5 (same as monday except same weight from the 3rd set is used for the last set)
incline bench-4x5 (top set of 5)
deadlifts-4x5 (top set of 5)

accessory work- leg curl 3 sets 5-8 reps, 2 sets of flat dumbbell bench 5-8 reps, 4 sets of situps

friday

squats-4x5,1x3,1x8 (first 4 sets is same as mondays, the triple is 2.5 lbs greater then my max, last set is repeating the third set for 8 reps)

push press-4x5,1x3,1x8 (same thing)

t-bar rows- 4x5,1x3,1x8 (same thing)

acces. work- close grip weighted chinups 3 sets 5-8 reps, weighted dips 3 sets 5-8 reps

I hate to tell you to squat less, as it is great that as a beginner you are putting in that much leg work. As you continue to train, you will find that legs heal slower than your upper body.

I know CW is a big advocate of full-body workouts, but I am not. How long have you been lifting? When was the last time you took a full week off? I’m not talking deloading, I mean completely off.

I think it may simply be time for you to switch to an upper/lower split. Upper body twice a week, lower body twice a week. One of those leg days will be a heavy squat day, the second you can deadlift (in addition to your supplementary work).

With the little information that you have give, I would guess your back simply is not getting enough rest.

What the other guys said…also…

what does your form look like? have you had someone knowledgeable watch and critique your form? Your back could hurt if your form sucks.

post a vid.

[quote]NeedforStrength wrote:
the thing is I just deloaded like 3 weeks ago, by just going lighter on the new program I’m doing right now. Also, I have to pick up and lift boxes around at work, could this be also contributing to the increased stiffness in my lower back??

This is my program right now I’m doing, tell me what I should switch around.

Monday

squats-5x5 (ramp weight to a top set of 5)
push press-5x5 (same thing)
t-bar rows-5x5 (same thing)

accessory work-weighted behind the head situps 4 sets 8-10, good mornings 2 sets 5-8 reps

wednesday

squats-4x5 (same as monday except same weight from the 3rd set is used for the last set)
incline bench-4x5 (top set of 5)
deadlifts-4x5 (top set of 5)

accessory work- leg curl 3 sets 5-8 reps, 2 sets of flat dumbbell bench 5-8 reps, 4 sets of situps

friday

squats-4x5,1x3,1x8 (first 4 sets is same as mondays, the triple is 2.5 lbs greater then my max, last set is repeating the third set for 8 reps)

push press-4x5,1x3,1x8 (same thing)

t-bar rows- 4x5,1x3,1x8 (same thing)

acces. work- close grip weighted chinups 3 sets 5-8 reps, weighted dips 3 sets 5-8 reps[/quote]

Just about everything in your program is hitting your back and then you’re lifting at work. Take a week off.

he’s right . .

push pressing, squats, t-bar rows and ‘accessory’ good mornings! all tax the lower back and it isnt getting enough recovery and your squatting 3x week and then trying to fit deadlifting session wednesday aswell. . .

for a week or so limit each day to one big lift ie. squat monday RDL wednesday and Deadlift friday. . . and mix it up the next week.
same with the form make sure your not leaning forward too much in the squat . . keep the chest out spine neutral. . im sure you’v heard this before no harm mentioning it again! even a little lean or a little bit too much hip flexion you end up doin a partial GM at the bottom of the ROM. . .not a good idea

or squat on monday and friday and deadlift on wenesday

[quote]NeedforStrength wrote:
lately my lower back has been hurting alot while squatting heavy. This wasn’t a problem earlier when I first started starr’s 5x5 program back in december, but after 8 weeks of squatting 3x a week
it seems that my lower back gets immediately stiff after a set of squats. I’ve maxed out at 235 for 3 reps, could it be bad form or overtraining??

Also, I’ve started a new variation of the 5x5 program, which has me continuing to squat 3x a week using the same principles in starr’s 5x5. Should I stop this and move onto another program that has only 1 squat day a week??[/quote]

lay off the squats for one week and start doing some lunges.
let your back catch up and re evaluate your technique and find out for sure if youre doing it right. pain might be a sign of over stressing that area. you might have a perfect squat but id get a second opinion.

What are your goals?? How well do you strech your back?

I would say cut back on the squats some. Me personaly Im not a big fan of the push press either. Right now you are just blizzing your back even more so if you go to work and lift shit all day.

Im not going to say drop 2 of the days but deffenitly drop 1. Insted of doing T-bars 2 days try doing pull/chin ups. Try maybe doing some leg press also

thanks for the replies, my lower backs been feeling alot better since I dropped my squat from 235 to 220, also I recently started working 3 days a week as well, so it’s helped my back recover.

I’ll probably try one of mike robertsons routines after this programs done, and take a week off as a deload, since I’m still after strength.