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Brother Phil
02-17-2003, 11:37 AM
I have a lot of time today due to being iced in here in NE NC so what is there to do but eat and browse the forum. Anyway, I have another question. I've been having a problem with my leg workouts which revolve around past injuries. I used to do squats, but I had to stay light and go high on the reps, and that still aggravated my lower back, where I've had surgery. I started doing machine hack squats, where you stand at an angle with pads on your shoulders, and squat, but that is aggravating a shoulder problem. The pads are putting pressure on the collar bone and I get pain that lasts for a couple days after that. Leg presses are O.K. I thought about trying squats on a smith machine, but I'm not sure if my back will tolerate it. I do some dumbell lunges, and squats, but I already have a big but, and the lunges work my but to where I'm sore for days. I also do extensions and curls for upper legs. Are there any other quadraceps bulking exercises, that aren't too tough on the lower back?

TwoWalks
02-17-2003, 12:17 PM
Originally posted by Brother Phil
I also do extensions and curls for upper legs. Are there any other quadraceps bulking exercises, that aren't too tough on the lower back?

Phil, I also suffer from past back injury and have run into the same problem, including a bad shoulder. I limit my leg workouts to Leg extension - leg curls and when I am at the gym I use the leg press machine because it supports the back. The squats are the best, but I figure it is better to advance slowly for a long period than to be side lined from the back again. That one cost me 20 years.

GLAlexander
02-17-2003, 12:28 PM
Phil

I use Leg Presses and have had pretty good results with them. I tried squatting, but I have really poor technique. My wife is the only one in the gym with me most mornings so I don't have use of a spotter.

I alternate my Leg Press days with Deadlifts for the next workout. I tried them both one workout and my legs started trembling during the deadlifting portion.

Belle
02-17-2003, 06:09 PM
Can you do anything that would possibly resolve the back problems? Mine is weak, but I find it is getting stronger, as are my abs. I mean my weakness may be my knee so it seems to me that there must be things to strengthen up that weakness first so that it enables me to do other things that I need to do also.

I don't know about you, but I can have pain either side of a workout, but when I am actually doing the workout itself, I don't notice the pain so much. So I was looking around for physio type exercises to strengthen the knees and ankles which are weak. I mean what initally caused my problem knee is a weak ankle and a low arch in the foot. It throws the whole leg out of alignment and causes tension or imbalance all the way up the leg.

With your back it needs to be stronger for you to be less hampered in working other parts that involve the back. That's what I would do anyway. That's all supposing that you are able to do that and don't have a past injury that is beyond repair.

Gollum
02-17-2003, 06:13 PM
As TwoWalks and GL mentioned already,the leg press is certainly a good choice for quad development.Both the sled type and the vertical one.


However,there is no substitute for the squat.I have an idea for ya.This has worked for some of my old training partners who were very tall.They had trouble squatting and their lower back used to give out before their quads did.Being knee high to a grasshopper,this was never a problem for yours truly.

Anyway,if you REALLY want to squat,you may want to try pre-exhausting your quads with several sets of tough leg extensions.I mean really waste them.Use heavy weight,drop sets,rest/pause..whatever you want just fry those quads.Now,when you move on to the squat rack obviously you will not be able to use nearly as much weight as you could if you were fresh.This will be better for your back.And you will still have the benefits of squats in your workout.

I do this from time to time myself.It's brutal!

Hardcore! :D

Dutchman
02-17-2003, 07:58 PM
Know whatcha mean about the back problems guy. I miraculously survived a 75 mph head-on collision 15 years ago and my back is super sensitive ever since. For years I could do NO leg or lower back exercises. Now I am growing my legs rapidly with a simple but intensely challenging routine of GVT. There is a whole thread above here if you are not familiar with it. For me doing 10 X10 squats on a Smith Machine for safety has been the magical solution. I have increased my base strength (at 100 reps) by 50 lbs in six months. Even if you have no SM at least try squats with a weight low enough to allow losts of reps and S...L...O....W....L....Y.... build it up again,.

bob_alfisti
02-17-2003, 08:08 PM
i agree with DUTCH, there is no substitute for squats. just start em slowly, even with just the bar. take the time to improve your technique and slowly increase the weights. that's how i started some 6 months back. with just the bar as the beginning point, i raised the weight slowly but surely...and right now (6 months later), i'm able to do 210 lbs (though this is nothing to shout about, i do love the progress i'm making).
btw, some of the causes for bad backs are poor abs condition. so work the abs hard, and start squatting or deadlifting.

note: even doing it on the smith machine is better than nothing.

back2it
02-17-2003, 08:42 PM
Have you tried sumo deadlifts ?

Brother Phil
02-17-2003, 09:01 PM
Thanks for the feedback, y'all. I love the fact that you guys all point out the obvious, that somehow gets lost in the brain do to overthinking a problem. I do some major killer ab workouts, but have neglected the lower back work, mostly out of fear, and because I have a hard time with light workouts, which is really all I can and should do for lower back at the moment. I'm going to take a little bit of everyone's advice and increase the lower back work, and pre-exhaust the legs and then try some smith machine squats at the end of the workout. It sounds brutal, but I gotta try 'em. I'll let you know how it goes. Oh yeah, I'm assuming sumo deadlifts are deads performed with the feet spread wide apart, like in a sumo stance. Is that right?

Homie
02-17-2003, 11:04 PM
Originally posted by Brother Phil
I'm going to take a little bit of everyone's advice and increase the lower back work, and pre-exhaust the legs and then try some smith machine squats at the end of the workout.

Oh yeah, I'm assuming sumo deadlifts are deads performed with the feet spread wide apart, like in a sumo stance. Is that right? When squatting in the smith machine put your legs out in front of you (leaning back into the bar), it isolates the quads and basically takes the hamstrings and glutes out of the movement. These are great for quad isolation :D . As for your other question, yes that is what sumo stance is. I personally like to do "Rack Pulls" off of the pins in the power rack (pins set just below knee level). These are a great power movement that will work your lower back with a lot less stress than pulling off the floor. :cool:

IPR
02-18-2003, 12:20 AM
Originally posted by Brother Phil
.........but have neglected the lower back work, mostly out of fear, and because I have a hard time with light workouts, .....
This is often the problem. Due to injury, we avoid an area which then becomes weak. So, we avoid it more becuase we fear even more the risk of injury......catch 22.

Others will disagree with this, but don't where a belt when doing squats. With proper form (stomach pushed out, straight back) a belt is unnecessary, however using one could give you a false sense of security leading to bad form and injury.

Brother Phil
02-18-2003, 09:01 AM
Others will disagree with this, but don't where a belt when doing squats

I do agree with this, except when you're attempting a single lift, where you already have a risk of not making the lift. What messed up my back years ago was I strained my lower back while squatting. I used to go in the gym once a month, when I was young and stupid, and choose one muscle and just torture it. My belief was if you put that much stress on the muscle, it would have to grow. I was on my 18th! set of squats and was doing some fast burn reps with 225. My form got sloppy and the weight started slipping to one side. I corrected it by pulling it back straight with my lower back. If I had let the muscle heal correctly, I would have saved myself the surgery. While moving 3 yards of topsoil around the yard for my mom by shovel and wheelbarrow, my lower back was killing me, but I ignored the pain, kept working, and ended up with a ruptured disk. By the way, I was wearing a belt, and it didn't help me.

Hibiscus09
02-18-2003, 12:31 PM
Brother Phil, not to worry you but be careful on those hack squats also. I've read they put a lot of pressure on your lower back area. When I do them I'm extra careful to keep the small of my back pressed into the pad & to push from my heels.

I think leg presses are great for building mass. I also agree with IPR about belts. If you must squat just do it lighter after you've really given your legs a good workout on other exercises.

Belle
02-18-2003, 12:32 PM
I do agree with this, except when you're attempting a single lift, where you already have a risk of not making the lift.

IMHO it seems to me that the "failure" stuff and the one of lift may be something you should avoid for a while where your back is concerned until you have worked on the muscles in the lower back. Your probably likely to have more chance of injury doing that with or without belt.

I think slow is the key where progress with your back is concerned as Dutchman pointed out.

back2it
02-18-2003, 03:33 PM
Originally posted by Brother Phil
Oh yeah, I'm assuming sumo deadlifts are deads performed with the feet spread wide apart, like in a sumo stance. Is that right? [/B]

That is correct it works the thighs pretty good also while it does work the lower back the stresses seems much different than having the bar resting on your shoulders . I think you are right on target with the lower back work but don't forget the obliques either all of the trunk muscles lend support to the spine .Kind of like wearing a lifting belt 24/7 if you are strong all the way around.

Brother Phil
02-23-2003, 07:13 PM
This thread is a little old, and I've been real busy this last week, but I just wanted to follow up and say I did a new leg workout this Thursday which resulted from some suggestions posted here. It went very well. I did leg extensions first, followed by leg presses, and then tried squats on the Smith Machine. I found that if I put my feet a foot or two in front of the bar it took a lot of stress off the lower back, and it definately put the emphasis on the quad right above the knee. I was able to do a lot of reps with 225, which was a surprise to me, because that much weight before would really stress the lower back. I find also that my legs respond well to a workout that involves sets of both low and high reps. I'm hoping that I can bring my legs up a bit by this summer, which I think is quite possible, since I've been making good gains everywhere. I also worked hamstrings after that. Got a good pump and was definately sore for a few days.

Charger
02-23-2003, 07:32 PM
Originally posted by IPR
Others will disagree with this, but don't where a belt when doing squats. With proper form (stomach pushed out, straight back) a belt is unnecessary, however using one could give you a false sense of security leading to bad form and injury.

I agree, except pushing your stomack out. I get comments, "I can't beleive you don't wear a belt, your going to hurt your back" I just smile. I used to wear a belt from the time I hit the door, my back was bad, that is the main reason I got into this game. Now that I gave up heavy lifts, went to full squats and more reps, my back has never been better.
Dutch made a good suggestion also, if you have never tried 10x10 with squats, it's a killer but you are using a weight that is approx. 60% of your max, so you shouldn't strain your back.

Brother Phil
02-23-2003, 08:02 PM
I did full squats YEARS ago, and it caused knee problems. Years of working on my knees has not helped my knees. I always thought I was indestructable, and never used knee pads, even when kneeling on concrete. Very dumb. Consequently, I really have to warm up my legs before any training. I see a few guys who do full squats, and I think, "those would cripple me". I just can't go below parrallel without feeling "bad" pain later. I would consider doing 10 x 10 squats, but I would have to be feeling good. If I plan to keep working out for many years, which I would like, then I have to listen to my body, and that means that I often have to change my routine to what I can handle at that particular time. I have learned the hard way that you have to listen to the minor signals that your body tells you.

Belle
02-24-2003, 01:08 AM
that made my knees unstable actually. I had injury 2-3 months ago and they seem really susceptible to all sorts of slight problems now. I only have to step on a kids toy and lose my balance every so slightly and I feel it pull at ligaments. I think because I never rested them and isolated the knee properly for the recommended time, they have gradually become worse in the past few months. I don't know if folks know anything about the anatomy of the knee in depth, but there are four ligaments that attach the top part of the leg to the bottom part. So if you pull one of those ligaments, it is rather like sawing one leg of a chair. You COULD balance on it, but the other three legs of the chair take the strain and it's a vulnerable place to be in. I just darn't put any weight on my knee because just as I feel I am coming right, I'l step on it with too much weight or force and it crunches and I'm back to square one. I cannot twist from side to side at the moment without discomfort. With time I think the other ligaments have actually become loose also because of the instability. They cannot replace you cartilage if it tears, they remove it or cut the bits out of it and leave the rest there and the missing bit isn't repaired by the body as there is no blood supply to the cartilage.

I could never squat without feeling that my knees were going to give way and it hurt in the knee. That is because the quads are so weak at the moment though and excess weight they are bearing. I am hoping with time as I weight lighter and strengthen the supporting muscles, that my knees won't have as much stress on them.