T Nation

Need Leg Exercise that won't Overload Lower Back


#1

My current routine has me working out 4/days week, and I feel like I'm overloading my lower back at this point, and I need an alternative exercise to throw in. Here's what I'm doing right now:

Sunday:
BB Flat Bench
BB Rows
BB Standing Press

Monday:
BB Squats
BB Romanian Deads
Calves

Wednesday:
DB Incline Bench
Pullups
DB Seated Press

Friday:
BB Deadlifts
BB Front Squats
Calves

The BB Rows, BB Standing Press, Squats, Romanians, BB Deadlifts, and BB Front Squats all feel like they're taxing my mid/lower back. Even with good form, that's quite a few movements that load up that area, either directly, or as a stabilizer. I'm thinking of replacing the Romanian DL's with lunges or something to that extent. Can someone think of any other solution that may help ease the load on my lower back, without sacrificing leg work?


#2

I also need to watch my lower back. Apparently, I have a congenital issue where a couple of my vertebrae don't quite line up the way they are supposed to that makes me prone to lower back pain. Nothing serious but I keep an eye on overloading it.

Are you doing conventional or sumo deads? I switched to sumo and my lower back thanks me (and my quads are growing again).

If I need to do a legs session with no lower back load I'll use DBS...heavy walking lunges, bulgarian splits, step ups. I hate all these compared to BB but sometimes you gotta be smart.

If you need something to swap in full time for legs, then hack squats work but I prefer Zerchers. Started them a few weeks ago and they allow heavy loads and are kind to my lower back. Leg press loads up my lower back if I go heavy but you may be different...they never really did much for me anyway.


#3

Switching deadlifts to rack pulls and front squats to leg press would seem to achieve similar results while lessening the load on your lower back. Although, you would lose the hamstring benefit from deadlifts. There should be plenty of different options people could suggest for you.


#4

Once I hurt my back in a Strongman contest, I knew that backsquats were out for me. While I now do only front variation squats, some weeks I start with it, and other weeks I do it after extensions and hacks (so the weight is lower, but I still have to work damn hard under the bar, and my back feels like it's getting a rest).

S


#5

Also, T bar rows are easier on my low back than BB rows. But, I tend to have a back angle almost parallel to the floor with BB rows (they don't feel right to me otherwise) so the steeper back angle of the T bar is the primary difference.


#6

Ok, keep in mind these suggested changes are with the goal of minimizing lower back stress, you could do only a couple, or all of them (or heck, none of them) if you wanted.

Switch BB rows to Kroc Rows, switch BB standing press to BB seated press

Switch BB squats to Machine Hack squats (if it's available), or keep the BB squats and do RDL's on the machine hack

Switch the BB deads to Rack deads


#7

V-squats and/or hack squats?


#8

I keep reading about reverse hyperextensions in the articles. Anyone else try them yet?


#9

They're a great exercise if you have access to a reverse hyper machine. Kinda tough to do otherwise though.


#10

squat and front squat on the same day, do your deadlifts on the same day. Once your back is sore from deadlifts everything will make it sore. So your stressing your lower back on Monday, soon as it starts to feel a little better your stress it out on friday. If your doing a good job which I assume you are and your going heavy and really taxing your lower back more than it should.


#11

These and pull through's are great exercises for men, because we generally don't like doing those girl looking butt exercises. But they really work the lower back to upper hamstring area well.

That said unless you have the machine they require too much creativity and I only do them once a year.


#12

I've got lower back issues. The HS hack squat machine is awesome. Even better than front squats for the lower back. Lounges, leg presees, and Bulgarian split squats.


#13

Read Ultimate Back Fitness and Performance by Stuart McGill.

http://www.backfitpro.com/html/books.htm


#14

no one does leg presses anymore?


#15

sissy squat anyone?


#16

Do the changes sentoguy mentioned and you might think about dropping RDLs. Instead try single leg band leg curls. These are an amazing way to work your hamstrings without putting much stress on your back. And I think you'd be fine without the RDL's, because you still have deadlift, back squat, and front squat hitting the hip extension component of your hams.


#17

thanks for the advice everyone! My gym doesn't have a hack squat machine unfortunately...I guess I can try BB hack squats, but honestly those hurt my back more than any exercise I've ever done.


#18

I like leg presses. But whenever my back spasms I have to do them one legged. It fuckin sucks because I have to really lower the weight and it's brutal.