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Question for Coaches

I am currently coaching a 22 year old male. At 5’9" and 250lbs, his initial goal was simply weight loss. Once I got him eating right and doing a high intensity body-weight circuit, he’s now down to about 185.

So now he’s real skinny, and wants to start packin on a little muscle. I started him on a routine similar to Riptoe’s Starting Strength; but he’s got some major posture problems.

His upper back has a small hunch, that he is almost incapable of straightening. This is exaggerated when he bends over. I had initially wanted to incorporate deadlifts and barbell rows for his back routine, but he is not capable of doing these lifts without rounding his back, even with only an empty bar.

So my dilemma… What are some good compound back lifts for a beginner with a slight “hunchback”. I’m hoping that as he strengthens his back, his posture will improve, and he will be able to move on to deadlifting and heavy rowing.

Any thoughts?

You are hoping???

Get him to see someone first about that. Could be nothing, could be scoliosis or bad disk, etc.

After you know the problem, you will find the solution.

As for the answer, do a search. Lots of articles on that subject. Heck, bodybuilding forum has a few of them. And before you say it, yes, for your particular situation.

BTW, you got him eating right and working out and he didn’t put on any muscle? Confused about that.

Yes, I am hoping that his back is not something serious, and will correct itself as he gets into better shape. Although I have of course told him to seek the advice of a medical professional on the matter.

For the past year or so, he has not had access to a gym, and has been doing Bodyweight workouts. (I.e. pushups, squats, jumps, sit ups, lunges etc.) Of course during this time he has put on quite a bit of muscle. I think now that his body fat has gone down so much, he wants to get bigger and stronger. Or as he put it, “Let’s do some weights. I wanna start packin on muscle.”

As I said, I have encouraged him to seek medical advice for his back, but in the meantime, he’s going to lift weights, I can’t stop him from doing that. So I want to guide him to the safest lifts given his posture problem.