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  1. #1
    Registered User beq1991's Avatar
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    Back-friendly leg workout?

    Currently I'm following an intermediate 4 day upper-lower routine, but I'm hesitant to follow the lower days as they are because exercises like the back squat, leg press, and Romanian deadlift seem to aggravate my lower back pain and they are staples of this routine. 3 days ago, I already had some back pain, but did the back squat because I have been trying to narrow down what exercises aggravate my back the most so I can rearrange my routine accordingly for the time being. My back feels significantly better today with almost no pain, but my back felt terrible yesterday and the day before, and the back squat definitely seems to be the culprit. How can I still work my legs without causing myself more back pain, or is it not even worth working my legs until my back is 100%?
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    Registered User BromanianDL's Avatar
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    The way to do legs without chance of back pain is one leg at a time like lunges. Even a leg press with both legs can tilt your pelvis and cause lower back pain. What you should really do is post a video of your squat so we can look at your form to see why it's causing pain. If you don't have good mobility, going too deep on squats and romanian deadlifts is guaranteed to hurt.
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    Registered User beq1991's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by BromanianDL View Post
    The way to do legs without chance of back pain is one leg at a time like lunges. Even a leg press with both legs can tilt your pelvis and cause lower back pain. What you should really do is post a video of your squat so we can look at your form to see why it's causing pain. If you don't have good mobility, going too deep on squats and romanian deadlifts is guaranteed to hurt.
    I've had people look at my squat and the only comment I've gotten is that even though my form is fine (no rounding or anything like that), I am putting extra torque on my back because I prefer the low bar squat over the high bar squat. I have a hard time with the high bar squat and low bar feels more natural.
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    Registered User DCSpartan's Avatar
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    I'm 20 years older than you and back squat fine. I find the low bar squat puts LESS pressure on my back. There are a couple of easy fixes you can do and you can squat pain free as well.

    I really good way to learn the squat mechanics is through the goblet squat, learn to sit deep between your legs and then explode up with swinging the DB. Focus on that for the next few workouts and then transition back to regular squatting and you should see a difference.

    Two other things to try are learning to get a VERY tight shelf with your traps to rest the bar on. Your hands should be close together, like a bench press or even closer (mine are slightly closer). If you dont have to warm up your shoulders before you squat, you arent tight enough.

    Last, and probably most important when it comes to lower back pain, is learning to brace your core effectively. Buy a REAL weighlifting belt (the one that is wide all teh way around, not the skinny in the front one they sell at Walmart), and before you squay down, take a big gulp of air and brace your abs tight.

    A tight shelf + tight core all helps protect your back during the squat, and will also help you lift more weight as well.

    Take your time to learn these three techniques before you start adding weight again. Best of luck.
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    Registered User beq1991's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by DCSpartan View Post
    I'm 20 years older than you and back squat fine. I find the low bar squat puts LESS pressure on my back. There are a couple of easy fixes you can do and you can squat pain free as well.

    I really good way to learn the squat mechanics is through the goblet squat, learn to sit deep between your legs and then explode up with swinging the DB. Focus on that for the next few workouts and then transition back to regular squatting and you should see a difference.

    Two other things to try are learning to get a VERY tight shelf with your traps to rest the bar on. Your hands should be close together, like a bench press or even closer (mine are slightly closer). If you dont have to warm up your shoulders before you squat, you arent tight enough.

    Last, and probably most important when it comes to lower back pain, is learning to brace your core effectively. Buy a REAL weighlifting belt (the one that is wide all teh way around, not the skinny in the front one they sell at Walmart), and before you squay down, take a big gulp of air and brace your abs tight.

    A tight shelf + tight core all helps protect your back during the squat, and will also help you lift more weight as well.

    Take your time to learn these three techniques before you start adding weight again. Best of luck.
    I guess I don’t understand why I should be doing any squatting if my back is a mess? It actually might be wrecked for good. Plus my legs are already big as it is
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    Registered User DCSpartan's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by beq1991 View Post
    I guess I don’t understand why I should be doing any squatting if my back is a mess? It actually might be wrecked for good. Plus my legs are already big as it is
    You are 27, if your back is "wrecked for good" then any sort of lifting is going to not end up well. Squatting properly will give you a more powerful core and strength your lower back. When I was in my 30s and didnt lift regularly, I would always throw my back out. That hasnt happened in more than a decade since I started doing lower body work. Your legs arent that big, you can add a lot of strength without looking like Tom PLatz.

    I provided knowledge, only you can decide at the ripe age of 27 if you are too frail or not.
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    Never accept defeat! backinthegymbro's Avatar
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    Why not just replace them with alternatives? Leg press is a lot easier on the back than squats.
    You can do bend over dumbbell rows which are lower back safe.

    Or if you have so much trouble on these lower days, why not change your routine and do like a split instead?
    Unless you're competing in competition, there's no need for deadlifts etc. Plenty of alternate exercises that can build a good physique without risking permanent lower back pains.
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    Registered User CommitmentRulz's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by beq1991 View Post
    It actually might be wrecked for good.
    What does your doctor say? What tests, besides an MRI (surely you've had an MRI to be diagnosing permanent back problems) have you had? What treatments have you tried?
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    Registered User DCSpartan's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by backinthegymbro View Post
    Unless you're competing in competition, there's no need for deadlifts etc. Plenty of alternate exercises that can build a good physique without risking permanent lower back pains.
    If you are 27 like the OP and cant squat or pick up something from the ground pain free, thats the first thing you need to fix and you can worry about your physique later.
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    Registered User CommitmentRulz's Avatar
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    Also, OP, I'm confused. In May you say you don't like squats because they make you feel off balance and sometimes have some soreness. https://forum.bodybuilding.com/showt...hp?t=177167881

    Then, less than a week ago https://forum.bodybuilding.com/showt...hp?t=177312461 you said
    I've been having lower back issues off and on the last few weeks and the back squat has consistently been the only exercise that seems to trigger this pain.
    So, up to a week ago, no mention of long term back issues. Now it's
    I guess I don’t understand why I should be doing any squatting if my back is a mess? It actually might be wrecked for good.
    Again, what did your doctor say? If you don't want to do squats, don't do squats - especially if you are genetically blessed and have stout, muscular, impressive legs as is. I bet they look really unusual with your upper body, huh? ;-)
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    Skinny Fat now Skinny asianboy23's Avatar
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    what's wrong with your back? did you injure it? or is your back just weak?

    you can try doing goblin squats and bulgarian split squats...see if those are doable with your issue
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    Registered User beq1991's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by CommitmentRulz View Post
    Also, OP, I'm confused. In May you say you don't like squats because they make you feel off balance and sometimes have some soreness. https://forum.bodybuilding.com/showt...hp?t=177167881

    Then, less than a week ago https://forum.bodybuilding.com/showt...hp?t=177312461 you said

    So, up to a week ago, no mention of long term back issues. Now it's

    Again, what did your doctor say? If you don't want to do squats, don't do squats - especially if you are genetically blessed and have stout, muscular, impressive legs as is. I bet they look really unusual with your upper body, huh? ;-)
    I don't understand the point you're trying to make? I don't need a doctor to tell me something is wrong with my back when I get sharp pains from deadlifting and squatting. The fact that this has been going on several weeks is what I would call long term. If you're trying to convince me I don't have back issues you're wasting your time.
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    Originally Posted by beq1991 View Post
    I don't understand the point you're trying to make? I don't need a doctor to tell me something is wrong with my back when I get sharp pains from deadlifting and squatting. The fact that this has been going on several weeks is what I would call long term. If you're trying to convince me I don't have back issues you're wasting your time.
    a doctor can help fix those back issues though...you don't want that?
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