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  1. #1
    Registered User DogletDusk's Avatar
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    Mild scoliosis can't back squat and deadlift. Can I still build good legs?

    Hey all. Unfortunately I've been diagnosed with mild scoliosis and have to remove back squats and deadlifts from my routine with fears that it could exacerbate the curvature. I'm replacing them with front squats and romanian deadlifts as these produce less stress on the spine. Do you think it's still possible to build big, strong legs with front squats and RDLs? If so, how much more difficult/longer will it take in comparison to back squats + deadlifts?

    Thanks!
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    Registered User WolfRose7's Avatar
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    Mild scoliosis shouldn't completely prevent those movements and any care exercised with them would apply to other similar movements


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    I'd suggest seeing a physical therapist with good knowledge of weightlifting to come up with a personalised plan, rather than deciding whether movements are good or bad which is rarely the case for any injury or condition
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    Juan Sick Kent IronKrazy's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by DogletDusk View Post
    Hey all. Unfortunately I've been diagnosed with mild scoliosis and have to remove back squats and deadlifts from my routine with fears that it could exacerbate the curvature. I'm replacing them with front squats and romanian deadlifts as these produce less stress on the spine. Do you think it's still possible to build big, strong legs with front squats and RDLs? If so, how much more difficult/longer will it take in comparison to back squats + deadlifts?

    Thanks!
    First as Wolf said, check with a doctor before you do anything. Especially when it's regarding your spine.

    Both the front and back squat create a huge moment arm. The weight is at the very top of your body. Low bar would help a little but there's more technique involved with low bar.

    IMO Zercher would be the way to go. Or a belted squat with either a belt and boxes to stand on or a machine if your gym supplies one. You could also get a Zercher harness so the bar rests on the pegs.

    As for the RDL. Again it's a very close movement to the deadlift so if you don't brace properly, use poor form and use too much weight you could hurt yourself. Maybe try building a base with a GHR or hamstring curl machine. Something to isolate and stay away from your back.

    ALWAYS START LIGHT. And pay attention to how you feel during and especially after within the coming hours and days. It will let you know what's being hit properly or not.
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    REMAIN INDOORS SuffolkPunch's Avatar
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    Remember that any movement where you have to bear a heavy weight in your hands or on your shoulders involves your spine to some degree. Obviously a lot of lower body movements involve bigger weights that upper body movements do but if you really are advised not to put load through your spine then it will affect all lifting, not just lower body.

    For example, I barbell row and push press more than I use for good mornings or split squats. And I'm sure it would be the same for everyone.

    Who made the determination that deadlifts and back squats are not good - but everything else is OK?
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    Registered User DogletDusk's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by SuffolkPunch View Post
    Remember that any movement where you have to bear a heavy weight in your hands or on your shoulders involves your spine to some degree. Obviously a lot of lower body movements involve bigger weights that upper body movements do but if you really are advised not to put load through your spine then it will affect all lifting, not just lower body.

    For example, I barbell row and push press more than I use for good mornings or split squats. And I'm sure it would be the same for everyone.

    Who made the determination that deadlifts and back squats are not good - but everything else is OK?
    Thanks for all the replies everyone!

    He was basically saying to avoid anything that places extreme compressive forces on the spine. Back squat and deadlift are the 2 main lifts that would do that (of course going very light would be ok, but I don’t know if this is even worth doing for progression sake). Front squats and RDLs still do this but the working weights are light enough in comparison to back squats and deads where I can still progress decently over time.

    Can’t think of upper body lifts, besides OHP, that compress the spine and the weight used with that is substantially less than the other mentioned lifts. From what I understood, compression can exacerbate the curve whereas shearing wouldn’t likely do so. Barbell row is more of a shearing force than compressive. I’ll get a second opinion from someone who is more familiar with weight lifting as per Wolfs advice.

    Pretty much I plan to minimize as much spinal compression as possible eg:

    Back Squat > Front Squat
    Deadlift > RDL
    OHP > Incline/Landmine Press
    Standing Calf Machine > DB 1 leg Calf Raise
    BB Shrugs > 1 hand farmer walk
    Etc.

    Thanks guys!
    Last edited by DogletDusk; 05-19-2020 at 05:21 PM.
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    Registered User BeginnerGainz's Avatar
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    You don’t need deadlifts to build legs or build anything else really
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    Lamar Gant set the deadlift world record with severe scoliosis. Stuart McGill is the back doctor lifters tend to listen to, and he recommends the following book for scoliosis. Or find a PT that uses the schroth method.

    https://www.amazon.com/Three-Dimensi...8-2&pldnSite=1
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    Registered User DogletDusk's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by BeginnerGainz View Post
    You don’t need deadlifts to build legs or build anything else really
    Could you elaborate?
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    Registered User DogletDusk's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by BromanianDL View Post
    Lamar Gant set the deadlift world record with severe scoliosis. Stuart McGill is the back doctor lifters tend to listen to, and he recommends the following book for scoliosis. Or find a PT that uses the schroth method.

    https://www.amazon.com/Three-Dimensi...8-2&pldnSite=1
    Thanks man!
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    Originally Posted by DogletDusk View Post
    Hey all. Unfortunately I've been diagnosed with mild scoliosis and have to remove back squats and deadlifts from my routine with fears that it could exacerbate the curvature. I'm replacing them with front squats and romanian deadlifts as these produce less stress on the spine. Do you think it's still possible to build big, strong legs with front squats and RDLs? If so, how much more difficult/longer will it take in comparison to back squats + deadlifts?

    Thanks!
    You can build legs with leg press, leg curls and leg extensions only.
    There are many bodybuilders who only do this for legs and it works fine.

    Same for back: you have shrugs, pulldowns, rows, hyperextensions.

    Mostly any exercise can be easily replaced... maybe not lateral raises, although you can do vertical rows.
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