T Nation

lower back

What would be the best way to begin curing a weak back. No structural problems, just a visit to the chiro every 3-5 weeks. Also, I believe some of it resides in leg imbalances that I acquired from squatting. Anybody else come up with leg imbalances from squats and have it affect your back?

I myself have a bad back, with two buldging disks. I hurt my back squatting, it wasn’t because of bad form , but because my achiles tendon was very tight causing excessive forward motion from my back, which eventually led to my injury. I couldn’t tell that I was leaning forward too much. I think the best prevention for back injury is making sure your hamstrings are as strong as your quads and that some of your joints are flexible enough to allow good form. You should have someone watch you squat to make sure everything is looking smoothe. Otherwise it could be an injury waiting to happen. Just be careful with squatting man, I lost a football scholarship because squatting was not a good excercise for me to perform. I’ve been paying for it ever since. I’m living with back pain the rest of my life. Just something to think about.

Please read Ian King’s articles(use the search engine)


Before such a malady befell me, I read that if you squat, you must deadlift in order to proportionally increase hamstring and lower back strength.

Not necessarily true about deadlifting. If you sumo squat or take a west side stance, more emphasis is placed on the muscles of your posterior chain than the quads.

I know from experience that if i squat with a shoulder width stance, i have greater pain in my knee(rehabing a Sprained MCL, Tibial Plateau Fracture) then if i kick my stance out wide.

i too was on that 3 times a week chiropractor thing.the best thing for me was to start squatting which resulted in a stronger more stable back and it has really helped my knee.i have a slight difference in leg length(9mm)which gave me alot of pain in the lower back area when doing some lifts.now i throw a 9mm heel lift in my shoes when i lift and all is greatly improved.i also set up my feet with my shorter leg slightly forward when squatting(1-2").i usually perform wide stance squats and do box squats as well.i can only speak for myself but,squatting has made a huge differnce for me in my back and knee area.many people say squatting will cause problems with the knees and lower back but so far it has only helped stabilize those areas for me.i guess the biggest thing is to watch the weight and be realistic.also,constantly check your form and reduce weight if form cannot be maintained.i set up a video camera once in a while and tape my squat session.it gives you teh ability to critique your own form if you lift at home like i do.best of luck,russ

A great deal depends on the severity of your problem. I would start with simple non-weighted exercises / stances with static holds such as Plank (standard & side) and Horse position. Naturally you should also be ensuring that significant ROM work is done. Within weight training, there is a vast selection to consider but depends on the stage of the trauma. Good luck and if I can help, do not hesitate to ask. In faith, Coach Davies

Thanks for the input. Russ, I was contemplating the video camera, but felt like a goon and never brought the camera out of the car. Goon or no goon I think I will do it. Lastly, I like this weeks “Beast” article. I think this will help overall back strength, too.

good mornings… get a reverse hyper if you can, i really want one

If you have an actual injury, and the chiropractor isn’t curing it and not giving you any real advice on strengthening your back, go to a different chiropractor. If you need general strengthening and pain prevention, focus on making sure your flexibility in the posterior chain and especially the hip flexors gets and stays top notch, the abdominals (not the hip flexors as is more common in leg lifts and situps) are strengthened, and same-grip Deadlift (Conventional, Trap bar, or Romanian)in controlled, perfect form without a belt always being mindful of the proper use of the inner abdominals and the limits of your flexibility. Those should be your goals in order of priority, in my opinion. This is from someone who’s had multiple back injuries in the past and struggled for a long time with recurring back pain even after being “cured”. I really don’t have issues with back pain nowadays other than a minor spasm once in a blue moon. Increased flexibility, better ab training, and deadlifting with proper form is what I credit it to.

Jabberjaw, Provide more details as to what the injury or injuries to the low back is(are). You write that you have a weak low back. How do you know it is weak? Any x-ray or MRI? History of injury and/or pain? What makes it hurt? What makes it feel better? Try to provide as much info as possible and I’ll try to give you the best answer I can through cyberspace without actually seeing you. By the way, when visiting a chriopracter, you should feel at least 50% better in the first treatment. If you are not better in 5 treatments, look at what you are doing to yourself that has placed you on this continous pain cycle (meaning training program, occupation, life style, etc…or consider a better chiropracter
In faith, Coach Stronski.

Coach Stronski - about 5 years ago separated 2 discs in lower lumbar, chiro popped back in w/ out problems. Only small stress to surrounding muscle. Generally, I always feel out of balance when squatting. Right leg much stronger. After squat workout inner thigh and ham of right leg always ‘sore-er’ than left. Resulted in feeling imbalanced when running & normal walking around. Deadlifting has proven troublesome getting left hamstring to ‘relax’ and stretch out handling the load. Same with box squats. Always feel the load being supported on right ham. Recently have stopped doing both and focusing on back hypers and single leg approach to workouts ala King style. Typed this fast in between classes - hope it is clear. Thanks for your time.

Neuropathy. Go to a different chiropractor.

Jabberjaw, I agree with with Brian, your neural pathways are “blocked/impinged” somewhere. See a different chiropracter. Someone who may be knowledgable in applied kinesiology. Not a quack applied kinesiologist. Like someone who holds a bag of potato chips against your chest and tells you your heart is beating different. Someone is knowlegable in manual muscle testing perhaps in ART. Get there in a hurry.

it all depends on the positioning of the squat as some others have mentioned. Either way though, even with narrow stance squats, you will hit the glutes and hamstrings. If one leg is weaker then the other do single leg squats, single leg extensions, and curls. I even saw even leg deadlifts. You want to get your back strong do bent leg deadlifts. You want to hit the lower back even more, do stiff legged deadlifts. laters pk