Post-Injury: One Side Weaker Than Other

About 2 months ago I hurt my right lower back and was unable to do deadlifts and serious leg work until about 2 weeks ago. Now, I can barely deadlift anything close to what I was doing before. Basically, a weight I could previously do easily for 3x10 I can barely do 1 (on a good day).

I’m not completely sure of the reason, but I think it is because my right side is now a lot weaker than the other. When I tried to do single-leg press I could barely move a relatively low weight with my right leg while my left leg did it without any problems.

This is really frustrating for me especially since my deadlifts were increasing. Has anyone had this issue before and what did you do to recover your strength quickly?

Your always going to be weaker when coming back from an injury. Don’t worry about how much you lifted before the injury. Do what your body lets you. Train hard and smart and your strength and size will be back in no time. Muscle Memory is a great thing.

The mental aspect of it is more difficult than I thought it would be. Lifting less weight really makes me less motivated to go to the gym.

Got any program recommendations that will encourage my body to not make my imbalance worse ( and cause a re injury)?

I was looking forward to doing ibodybuilder but I’m wondering if its better to hold off on it.


since you’re posting this in the bodybuilding section i would say relax. your relative weakness is temporary while bodybuilding progress is measured in years. if you’re inducing hypertrophy you’re inducing hypertrophy whether it’s with 225 or 405.

alternatively, this might be a good time to switch things up. if your t-bar, db row, shrugs, pull up, curl and squat strength all go up substantially, there is no way that your deadlift will have remained the same…or so my anecdotal evidence suggests.

my answers are predicated on the assumption that you aren’t looking for powerlifting answers. good luck dude.

How did you injure your back?

Definitely do not do I, Bodybuilder. Back rehab is NOT part of its design. lol

Now is a good time to work on core stability, which is often impaired after back injuries. And technique.

I have been through this, many years ago, but it involved my upper body. I had a recurring injury to my shoulder/trap/neck area, and suffered nerve damage that severely atrophied my left arm. At one point I was so weak that I couldn’t lift a gallon of milk higher than my waist.

My situation was a little different in that my injury was recurring, and there wasn’t much I could do about that. But when I was at my weakest point, I really didn’t do anything differently. I just worked as hard as I could, and when the injury got under control, the strength came back, although slowly.

I don’t know the specific nature of your injury, but if it is completely healed and is not expected to be an issue going forward, just keep plugging away. As another poster said, muscle memory is a great thing. And I also understand your frustration and lack of motivation - been there too. But the alternative is to do nothing and never reach your body or strength goals, so my advise is simple: suck it up and train.

Depending on the injury it could take a couple of years to work itself out. Yes; we know it is tough mentally. If you are going make progress you must push yourself. If you push yourself you are going to suffer an injury from time to time. As mentioned earlier, progress is measured in years! In many ways a lifter’s ultimate success or failure will depend on how he handles these periods.

Sounds like you have identified a weakness and the need for ‘single leg’ work. Set the deadlift aside and focus on restoring some lower body balance…lunges, split squats, uni-leg press, uni-extension, uni-leg curl, etc.

View your recovery like any other challange, because that’s all it really is.