T Nation

SI Joint Issues


I read through a couple of the old threads on SI Joints and they were about what I expected in terms of how people described their symptoms and the exercises that were being recommended. They are all several years old, so I figured I’d try again.

I was finishing up a Russian Cycle (6x2, 6x3, 6x2, 6x4, etc @ 80%) for deadlifts. I hit all my prescribed reps in the weeks leading up to it, which led me to attempt 2x2 @ 100% of my previous 1rm. I got all 4 reps, and they were hard. However, my lower back felt fine. Tired and a little tight, but nothing out of the norm for heavy deads.

The next day my lower back was a little tender. I had to be careful while tying my shoes and picking things up off the ground, but I wasn’t in pain. The morning after that, I woke up and it felt like I had a knife wedged into my L spine, it was excruciating. It was difficult to get out of bed, it was impossible to stand up straight, and sitting down was brutal. I went back to lay in bed until the pain subsided, or at least decreased, which it did after about 10 minutes.

I immediately began looking up different rehab exercises for lower back pain. My first thought (don’t judge) was to look at Layne Norton’s instagram and see what he’s been doing for his back pain. He’s been dealing with a lower back injury for over 5 months now, and I saw that he does bird dogs and side planks multiple times a day, every day. I went to the gym and began my workout with several sets of 45 second side planks and several sets of bird dog holds.

These made my back feel better and I was able to bench with an arch with zero pain or discomfort. Since then, I’ve been doing a few side planks and sets of bird dogs every day. I took about a week off from squatting and deadlifting, but since that injury I’ve squatted and deadlifted once each.

Hitting full ATG depth with high bar and front squats causes some pain. Pulling sumo makes my back very tight, and pulling conventional is plain difficult. I feel like I’ve lost a good 20-25% of my conventional deadlift strength even though it doesn’t cause me any pain to deadlift that way.

The pain in my back has decreased by about 70%, but discomfort has spread down into my left glute and left IT band.

That’s my background, in case any of it matters. Is there anything else I should do besides side planks and bird dogs and glute clams for my back? Should I put squats and deadlifts on hold until my back is back to 100%? How long does a lower back issue like this take to recover?


I’ve had the same issue after deadlifts and squats. It always seems to get worse after squats. I can rehab it by working my core and glutes. I use the bird dog, planks, couch stretch, and dead bug. It will ease up for about a day or so. What I have found is a weakness in one hip causing an imbalance when I deadlift and squat. I didn’t notice it at first until a trainer made me do high volume BW squats. If I squat below parallel I get a lot of pain in the right hip and glute eventually causing back pain by the end of the workout. I’m working with PT now to workout the hip to increase balance. I’ve successfully recovered the back to about 85% but I believe the cause of the back injury is from a hip issue. Have someone watch your hips as you squat or just sit deep in a low weight squat for a while. You may feel more weight on one foot. There are several ways to fix it to take pressure off your back but it has to be done daily over the course of weeks. Banded squats and banded glute bridges will help initially.


I’m the same way. Had squats yesterday and I stopped at parallel instead of squatting to full depth, and it didn’t bother my back at all–I actually felt better after my workout than I did before it.

I believe you’re right. I started pulling sumo about 3 months ago which I’ve heard is tougher on the hips than conventional, and I injured it pulling heavy with sumo, so it makes sense.

Thank you! I’ll do that today. I’ve been doing banded clams and side planks every day for the last 3-4 days. It’s not fun but whatever I need to do to fix this is worth doing lol. Thanks again man