Unable to Train Lower Body (for a While) - What to Do?

I have a hip injury (piriformis syndrome) which will prevent me from doing anything hip/leg related for a while. Might even have to stop doing loaded or high intensity exercises (even running) for the rest of my life as doing those movements will make the issue flare up again as the problem is probably due to an anatomic anomalie. I’ve always had this issue, but never really paid attention to it. I usually just backed off from squatting/deadlifting for a week or bit through the inconvenience/pain.

I’ll see what the treatment does in the long term, but for now my PT advised me to stop doing anything lower body related to give the injury some rest. I hope I can squat/deadlift again, as lately I was more into a powerbuilding style of training. I could probably still do some leg extensions/curls, but I workout at home and I don’t have that attachment (yet) for my power rack. Looking into that.

Meanwhile I can still train upper body (except for any exercise that loads the hips like a bb row), but I don’t know how I should structure this. In a week I’m starting a new job and I’ll probably have 3 (non-consecutive) days a week to workout. I was thinking to either do upper body 3 days a week with each of them having a different focus (chest - back - shoulders) but still doing at least one exercise for the other muscle groups on the non-focus days, or doing a push/pull split. Any thoughts?

Id become a bench specialist and also train arms 3x a week :star_struck:


I don’t know your particular situation or your PT, but I had piriformis syndrome, complete with numb feet and sciatica, and I didn’t get better until I stopped avoiding it and started tackling it head on.

Cmon dude. You can choose to do this, but you don’t have to do this. Wouldn’t be surprised to find you have weak hip flexors, weak abs, and tight hamstrings.

But seriously, haha - piriformis syndrome isn’t some genetic defect that will make you never be able to run again. You can avoid stuff that flares it up all you want, but there’s very likely some glaring weaknesses causing these problems, and strengthening them will serve you better than avoiding them (aka making them weaker).


I crushed a vertebra in college and didn’t find out about it until 10 years later (at the time, they just assumed I broke my tailbone and left it at that :roll_eyes:). And because of that injury, I had the same reaction…“I’ll probably never be able to do deadlift/squats/anything involving a lot of low back stress properly.”

But I’m with @flappinit on this one. A few years ago, I started really light on all of the low-back-focused stuff and was able to bring it up incredibly carefully to the point where now I can DL almost 400. And it’s not exactly a back exercise but I can leg press around 900. Granted, I don’t back squat because of the back injury and my shoulders being touchy but I still do landmine front squats and heavy goblet squats with no issues.

So yeah, be careful by all means but it seems like you should still be able to make some strides so you don’t end up being an orange on toothpicks.

Just my 2 pennies.


Perfectly stated


I say follow the PTs advice for now and give the lower body a break.
He prescribed rehab/mobility work/treatments??

My 2 cents:
Day 1 Back heavy + bit of biceps
Day 2 Chest + Shoulders
Day 3 Back from different angles + massive gunzz high rep volume work, tons of pushup variations also if doesnt affect hip