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jazer80
02-08-2005, 08:15 PM
my lower back is disproportionate. i noticed it today at work. the left side is larger, and also has a noticeable striation in it, while the right is smaller and smooth. i was scared, so i asked my gf to check my back. w/o me saying anything she told me the left side was larger. anyways this is disturbing to me, because i'd imagine of all muscles, your lower back needs to be straight so you can support your torso w/o hurting your spine. the only thing i can think of is that i did ME legs today, and did real heavy (for me) good mornings. maybe it's swollen?

Adam
02-08-2005, 08:39 PM
probly not swollen to any noticable degree.
Unless your pretty built, don't worry about the look of your lower back.
IF you start to 'feel' a difference in it, then be conserned.

jazer80
02-08-2005, 09:04 PM
okay but it's not unsafe or anything? i was just thinking maybe it wouldn't be good when i was trying ME deadlifting, like maybe if i'm pulling unevenly i'm stressing my spine or something

jazer80
02-08-2005, 09:04 PM
i use a regular grip not mixed

Adam
02-08-2005, 09:21 PM
Its probly just a difference in muscle shape.
Ie. my right lat is bigger then my left, same strength
left arm smaller but more cut then right, same strength
Left leg is way more cut and big on me, same strength.

jazer80
02-08-2005, 09:52 PM
ya i have little differences between each side, but this is way more noticeable. maybe it will grow out over time...

Kubiks
02-25-2005, 09:35 AM
Dude, I have this too. I think it is from using an alternating grip for deadlifting.
I'd like to warn you because I think my case led me to hurt my back and neck. However, it sounds like you are unsure if one side is indeed larger or stronger.
I have since switched my grip (used to be left overhand, right underhand...now left underhand, right overhand) and I think it is starting to even out my back.

jazer80
02-25-2005, 01:21 PM
i've used mixed grip under five times in my whole life. i have this weird, well i don't want to say obsession, but symmetry is important for me. i definitely have one side that's bigger, and i always do great form and use double overhand grip

RickTheDestroyer
12-01-2005, 12:31 PM
I know this thread is old, but I'll go ahead and bump it.

My lower back is severely imbalanced. I don't know about appearance or size, nor do I care that much about those as much as I do about strength and preventing injury. However, I will get someone to look or I'll take a picture or something and post the results later as size may indicate a problem as well.

My problem is that I can tell that my right side does a disproportionate amount of the work when I lift. It gets tighter and much more fatigued from squats, deads, and any other lower back-intensive exercise. I'm concerned that my left side isn't taking much of the load at all, and that this is negatively impacting my lifts and is causing me to strain my right side.

I have two ideas about what may have started this. I posted a while ago about when I broke my clavicle about 6 years ago in a car accident- as I healed my posture gradually started rotating to the right- I suspect as some sort of compensatory measure. Regardless, I think this my be part of the problem. I also find that when I place my feet "naturally" when getting ready to squat/dead/whatever, my right foot is always an inch or two further back than my left. I find that mid-set, even if I get my feet set correctly, my right foot will still drift back slightly. My quads grow unevenly, and I suspect that my foot placement may be the culprit there. I don't know if I favor the right side for squats as a result of the rotated posture or not.
I'm not positive that either of these are the cause. For what it's worth, I do use a mixed grip, with the right hand underhand.

Anyway, regardless of WHY my back is like this, I'd like to see if anyone has advice about fixing it. I may try swapping my mixed grip, but I'm not convinced that that's the root of the problem either. I'm pretty open to suggestion here, and I'm not against doing things that decrease my poundages if it will help my back and increase them in the future. I've been trying to consciously not favor the right side as much, but that doesn't really seem to be helping.

Sensei
12-01-2005, 03:10 PM
My problem is that I can tell that my right side does a disproportionate amount of the work when I lift. It gets tighter and much more fatigued from squats, deads, and any other lower back-intensive exercise. I'm concerned that my left side isn't taking much of the load at all, and that this is negatively impacting my lifts and is causing me to strain my right side.
I have two ideas about what may have started this. I posted a while ago about when I broke my clavicle about 6 years ago in a car accident- as I healed my posture gradually started rotating to the right- I suspect as some sort of compensatory measure. Regardless, I think this my be part of the problem. I also find that when I place my feet "naturally" when getting ready to squat/dead/whatever, my right foot is always an inch or two further back than my left. I find that mid-set, even if I get my feet set correctly, my right foot will still drift back slightly. My quads grow unevenly, and I suspect that my foot placement may be the culprit there. I don't know if I favor the right side for squats as a result of the rotated posture or not.
I'm not positive that either of these are the cause. For what it's worth, I do use a mixed grip, with the right hand underhand.
Anyway, regardless of WHY my back is like this, I'd like to see if anyone has advice about fixing it. I may try swapping my mixed grip, but I'm not convinced that that's the root of the problem either. I'm pretty open to suggestion here, and I'm not against doing things that decrease my poundages if it will help my back and increase them in the future. I've been trying to consciously not favor the right side as much, but that doesn't really seem to be helping.
A LOT of lifters compensate for weaknesses and injury with subtle form changes. Even after the injury or weakness has been corrected, the change in form may remain. It can become a problem and set you up for further injury.

Some common things you see with squats are: a staggered stance, the hips not lowering or rising in a straight line, one or both legs bowing in when rising out of the hole, hips rising before the head out of the hole, one end of the bar higher than the other, and the bar twisting when lowering and/or rising.

Most of the time, these compensations are unconscious and can be corrected with ultra-strict attention to form and a few quick verbal cues from a training partner before or during a set. Video is a huge training aid and it can catch things that you or your partner might miss. Different perspectives (front, back, side) will make it easier to see different issues.

Varying stance and grip, rotating main and accessory exercises, including plenty of core work (w. rotational exercises if you aren't already), some supplementary work, and at least occassionally including some unilateral exercises can go a long way towards strengthening imbalances.

Denim,
With your squats, you can put a straight line of tape on the ground to help you with your set up and keeping the feet lined up properly. Start using lighter weights for a while, because I suspect the bar will probably "pull" on you to rotate throughout your sets.

dw06wu
12-01-2005, 05:24 PM
In the link in my sig for my pics, you can see in my front double bi that my right bicep is way bigger than my left...they are the same strength though. It's just a difference in muscle shape...right bi has a peak, left bi not so much.

damnit with the old threads

RickTheDestroyer
12-01-2005, 05:47 PM
Thanks Sensei- I've been trying to tape my form on a pretty regular basis to make sure everything stays where it's supposed to. At one point I'd do the one about not lowering/raising my hips in a straight line, but I've got that one pretty much fixed to the best of my knowledge.
Because the right side of my chest is slightly vertically compressed, I almost wonder if that spinal erector doesn't just take over since it HAS to fire first for anything to stabilize.
I've got most of what you mentioned covered- but I'll add in some rotational stuff and unilateral stuff. I almost though some sort of one-sided deadlift with dumbells might work- don't some people do RDLS one leg at a time with dumbells?

spencerjrus
12-01-2005, 07:04 PM
Go look at even pro bodybuilders lower backs. VERY rare for them to be symmetrical.

Adam
12-01-2005, 07:16 PM
Denim I have/had the same problem. Mine is more with upper body but I can tell a difference in lower body too.
I had an accident 2 years back and at the time had paralyses in the right side of my body, near totally limp.
I went thru 6 months of rehab and the imbalances were smaller, but stiull noticeable.
The biggest thing that helped me was knowing what muscles had gotten weakler, where my CNS was ****ed, and llearning the exact form on lifts(I had already lifted for 6 years at this point but i had to break down every single joint movement of a lift and control the movements as such). It took me somewheres around 6-12 months to not have to consiosly think about lifts, but to this day i will still have to remind myself at times on where to position grip/feet/elbows/etc.


Oh yeah, the lower body. I don't have a whole lot of imnbalances here but setting up for squats i was always back(I think?) with the right/bad foot. Leg press is the lift that shows the worst for me. If i just put my feet on the platform 'naturally' they are way off, both vertically and horizontally.

So in closing:)
If you can aford, see a physiotherapist or occupational therapist to just get at leeast a diagnosis.
Then either keep going, or be like me. Learn about every friggin muscle movement and every muscle in the affected area and treat yourself.

RickTheDestroyer
12-01-2005, 07:35 PM
Go look at even pro bodybuilders lower backs. VERY rare for them to be symmetrical.

True, but again, the looks aren't my concern- it's more that I'm worried about setting myself up for injury, and also that I may be limiting my poundages if only one of my spinal erectors is really doing any work.

Sensei
12-02-2005, 05:21 AM
I've got most of what you mentioned covered- but I'll add in some rotational stuff and unilateral stuff. I almost though some sort of one-sided deadlift with dumbells might work- don't some people do RDLS one leg at a time with dumbells?I don't do them as regularly as I should, but one-legged DLs are a great exercise. It won't hit your lower back much though - for me, it's mostly hamstrings.

RickTheDestroyer
12-02-2005, 07:05 AM
Hmmm... well that might not be what I need. Maybe I'll start doing GMs and just really focus on involving my left side, and do the same with deads/squats eventually.

Also, what would you recommend for rotational core exercises? The extent of my core work is basically weighted abs, overhead squats, and whatever additional work it gets from stabilizing squats/deads/push-presses/whatever.

JustinASU
12-02-2005, 10:30 AM
Rick--

Seriously look at your feet placement. I was getting the same thing, severe tightness in JUST right right side of my lower back when squatting/deadlifting/etc. As it turns out, my right foot wasn't angled as far outward as my left, changing the mechanics of the lift on the entire right side of my body.

MixmasterNash
12-02-2005, 10:40 AM
Hmmm... well that might not be what I need. Maybe I'll start doing GMs and just really focus on involving my left side

This strikes me as a really bad idea.

JustinASU
12-02-2005, 10:50 AM
This strikes me as a really bad idea.


As long as he keeps them light and REALLY focuses on form, I can't see the detriment.

MixmasterNash
12-02-2005, 10:52 AM
As long as he keeps them light and REALLY focuses on form, I can't see the detriment.

True, and this would be fine for rehab, but I fail to see how it would be sufficient for sparking enough hypertrophy to balance his physique.

RickTheDestroyer
12-02-2005, 11:23 AM
My intention for the GMs would be less to balance the physique, and more to help me establish better control over that side of my back and get me accustomed to having both sides share the load more evenly. I think once I get the feel of really concentrating on using both sides of my back then the balanced hypertrophy will come eventually.
It's not that I'm going to try and do GMs with my left side only with the intent of making it instantly catch up after 2 years of right-side dominated squats and deads.

Sensei
12-02-2005, 02:17 PM
Also, what would you recommend for rotational core exercises? The extent of my core work is basically weighted abs, overhead squats, and whatever additional work it gets from stabilizing squats/deads/push-presses/whatever.
If I were to choose three ab exercises for a powerlifter, I would do:
*ab pulldowns or weighted spread-eagle sit-ups
*side bends/Saxon side bends
*russian twists

JustinASU
12-02-2005, 04:36 PM
I'm in full support of spread eagle situps. They have helped my back feel much better. You may want to start with bodyweight if you're not used to isolating your abs from your hip flexors--these are tougher than you think, if done properly.

RickTheDestroyer
12-02-2005, 05:25 PM
Anyone have a link for these spread-eagle situps? I'm a little concerned that a google search might not bring up exactly what I'm looking for.
Well, not what I'm looking for right now.

Oh hell, who am I kidding?

getfit
12-02-2005, 05:32 PM
well this what i found http://www.weightliftingdiscussion.com/spreadeagle.html

RickTheDestroyer
12-02-2005, 08:55 PM
I googled it, and didn't even get porn.
I'll find something to put my feet under.
Thanks GF.

Adam
12-03-2005, 01:13 AM
LOL!

What were you thinking?:D

JustinASU
12-04-2005, 03:31 PM
Actually, I would try to do them without putting your feet under something. You're trying to take your hip flexors out of the movement and putting your feet under something could encourage you cheat a bit. Just try digging your heels into the ground and sitting up without lifting them.

MixmasterNash
12-04-2005, 03:41 PM
Janda situps to reduce hip flexor use.

Sensei
12-04-2005, 03:51 PM
Actually, I would try to do them without putting your feet under something. You're trying to take your hip flexors out of the movement and putting your feet under something could encourage you cheat a bit. Just try digging your heels into the ground and sitting up without lifting them.
Putting your feet under DBs or a sit-up bar will INCREASE hip-flexor recruitment. Hip flexors are a synergist for the abs, so it's not a bad thing if you are working on ab strength for your squat (or most athletic applications for that matter).

Sooo, unless your hip flexors are totally overpowering the movement, I don't see the need for eliminating them - even if they are, adding some weight should solve the problem...

JustinASU
12-04-2005, 10:27 PM
I suppose in my case the hip flexors were severly overcompensating, and that's why I do them the way I do it.

RickTheDestroyer
12-14-2005, 12:50 PM
So I lifted for the first time in two weeks last night (I took some time off because I had a cut on my palm that was sort of questionable in terms of needing a stitch and I didn't want to pop it back open), and it went well.
I kept good track of my foot position on squats, and paid very close attention to how I came out of the hole and how my back responded to the load. I pretty handily did 4x5 with about 75-80% of my max, and my back felt good. I stretched between sets, did some spread eagle situps and russian twists, and laid on a fake foam roller that I made from leftover gym-floor material.
So it seems like all is good. I definitely enjoyed the change of ab work, and I'm planning on adding those ab exercises in (semi)permanently. I think if I just keep focusing on keeping my back right and making these changes then everything should sort itself out.
Thanks everybody!