T Nation

My Lower Back


#1

My Fucking Lower Back keeps blowing out! Every 4-5 months...BOOM In the middle of a squat or a deadlift I am on my way up and suddenly I feel it blow, and I rack the weight and leave the gym. Keeps totally derailing my progress. After having my Squat and Deadlift analyzed, it appears I overarch my back in both of these.

Now I have also been told I push out of my toes instead of heels on squats. I think both of these come from strength imbalances and also keeping my legs too close together. I will be widening my stance and point my toes out but I wanted to hear from other people who have this problem and am curious if I should switch to a trap bar, start using a lifting belt (I know...) or try and correct the imbalance in my lower back with rack pulls?

I have been doing a standard Squat and regular Deadlift, and I cannot get any freaking stronger because my lower back keeps fucking going out!!!! I am also a 10 year veteran to the iron game.


#2

My lower back used to do the same thing. About once a quarter it would blow up and I’d have to take 2 weeks off training. I actually had much better luck moving my feet IN on deadlifts to help with back pain. This made it so that I had far better leg drive and used less lower back on my deadlifting. I made a video that demonstrates how I pull that may help you out.

On the topic of rack pulls, I rarely pull of the floor these days, and primarily pull off of mats (in my case, rubber patio tiles) from various heights. This also helps my back.

Absolutely you should invest in a belt.

Additionally, I got a reverse hyper and my lower back feels bullet proof. I would highly suggest that.


#3

Seconding everything pwnisher said but I think another problem you have is not correctly bracing your core. Instead of me trying to explain it at length watch this video from Chris Duffin one of the best lifters in the world:


#4

glute activation drills


#5

Agile 8 and couch hip flexor stretch.

tweet


#6

I also have issues with my back due to overarching, particulary on the squat. I decided to leave it out and do front squats instead. The focus is on bracing the core, and forcing the knees apart, by contracting gluteus medius I believe.
Also I exchanged conventional deadlift for sumo deadlift. It seems to be easier to keep a neutral lumbar spine, and it strengthens the glutes and hip musculature. (gluteus medius in particular.) Relevant cues are; spread the floor apart, rotate the feet outwards, brace the core and keep in farts if there are chicks nearby. I dont feel that my flexibilty is good enough to get the spine in a good position if I pull from the floor, so I elevate the bar some inches by throwing some plates under it. flexibility will improve, hopefully.
I also had a bit of anterior pelvic tilt, but seems to be alright now.


#7

There have been a couple articles on here about picking the right type of squat and deadlift for your body type, that might be a good place to start. Another thought would be to find an athletic trainer (notice I said athletic trainer, not personal trainer - there’s a difference) or powerlifting coach in your area who might be willing to take a look at your technique and see what he can tweak.

As much as I loved squatting and putting up some big numbers (got up to 500 last winter at a BW of 210ish - it was big for me), trying to do that with deadlifting as well was just trashing my lower back. I may have been overarching, I don’t know. From watching videos of myself, I thought my form looked pretty solid. I tried alternating deads with squats each week instead of doing both in the same week, that helped a little but when I started pushing the numbers up again it came right back. I’ve never blown my back out, but I did dislocate my SI joint last year - that SUCKED. Managed to get it back in myself using stuff I found online, but it made me super cautious whenever I was squatting or deadlifting.

What I ended up doing was dropping the squat, and now I front squat on one day and deadlift on another. I’m training for strength and aesthetics, and have no intentions of competing, so there was no real reason to keep beating myself up. Doing this seems to have helped immensely in that regard.

I may throw squatting back in at some point, even if only for a couple 531 training cycles. But it won’t be a mainstay any time soon.

EDIT: Also, what do you mean by ‘blowing it out’? Have you seen a PT or ATC about it? If you aren’t fixing whatever is wrong, it’s just going to keep happening.