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Thread: Heavy squats/deads actually helping my lower back?

  1. #1
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    Heavy squats/deads actually helping my lower back?

    Some of you may know that I injured my lower back a few months back and took some time off of squats to rest it and stretch my hams and hips. Well I just got back into them 3 or 4 weeks ago training 3 times a week and heavy.

    I started at 225 for 3 sets of 5, not ATG but parallel or slightly below depending on how sore I was. Anyway, I had some mild back pain when I first started so I was a bit nervous. Well I am already up to 265 for 3 sets of 5 a month later and my back feels SO GOOD now. I did a rep of 295 and it felt like 225 felt 2 months ago when I was struggling. I sit in a cubicle all day and it used to hurt my back just to bend my head down.

    I tried conventional dead lifts for the first time in my life last friday (I used to pull sumo) and I pulled 345 x 3 pretty easily. My back was extremely tired that day afterwards, but felt great the next day.

    Unfortunately, I did hurt my left shoulder last week so I cannot bench for at least a month . I will post some videos when I can hit 315 comfortably on squats and hit 405 on deads.

    Shout out to sensei for his videos...they changed my life. I used to barely be able to brush my teeth when I got out of bed, now there is only a slight tingling sensation in the morning.

  2. #2
    TJW jed's Avatar
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    luckily for you, bench usually doesnt do much for lower back unless your benching solid PL style.

    but yeah, bro... squats and deadlifts depend a ton on the spinal erectors to, well, keep your spine erect. with weak erectors youll just collapse under the weight! so, glad you are getting them stronger man. huge erectors are always pretty respectable to me, too.

    also will add, that while your back as feeling great now, dont push yourself too hard. as you know having a crappy back sucks, and you dont want to go beyond the brink and pull or tear or mess anything up with your back!
    Last edited by jed; 02-23-2009 at 06:55 PM.
    22 - 5'11'' - 190 lb
    PR's - Squat 350 | Bench 290 | Deadlift 400.4 | BW 203
    P Clean 98 KG | Jerk 106 | Full Clean 106 |
    Philippians 4:13 - "I can do anything through Christ who strengthens me."
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    Yeah man...I hear ya on over doing it..I was doing squats mwf going up 5-10 pounds til I just hit 265 today and I could tell if I kept that up I was going to tear a hammy or something . I am replacing wednesday's squats with deadlifts now and only hitting squats twice a week. When I can rep close to 315, I will probably do one heavy squat day and one lighter day.

  4. #4
    TJW jed's Avatar
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    sounds good my friend. can keep us and yourself informed by starting a journal if you want, too. best of luck, SFW!!
    22 - 5'11'' - 190 lb
    PR's - Squat 350 | Bench 290 | Deadlift 400.4 | BW 203
    P Clean 98 KG | Jerk 106 | Full Clean 106 |
    Philippians 4:13 - "I can do anything through Christ who strengthens me."
    "I'm really impressed with your dedication. I will call it your jedication." - killxswitch
    J O U R N A L !
    TJW

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    Quote Originally Posted by mchicia1 View Post
    Heavy squats/deads actually helping my lower back?
    Absolutely (that's the point of doing squats and deads, IMHO).

  6. #6
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    No I understand that from a muscle perspective, but I was surprised it helped from a joint/pain perspective. I assumed loading that much weight on your back would make the pain worse, not better.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mchicia1 View Post
    No I understand that from a muscle perspective, but I was surprised it helped from a joint/pain perspective. I assumed loading that much weight on your back would make the pain worse, not better.
    I understand. From my experience, strong muscles keep joints aligned and functioning properly.

    I have scoliosis. I had mild back pain for years ( I thought I just had to live with it ). The scoliosis has also affected my right knee (because my hips aren't exactly right ), with which I've had some problems in the past. Now my back and knee are strong and pain free, which I attribute to doing deads and squats ( because it's the only thing I've changed ). Obviously there's some times that pain means you shouldn't do anything, but I also don't agree with what seems to be the standard response of doctors and others that squats and deads are bad.
    Last edited by BigTallOx; 02-24-2009 at 06:54 AM.

  8. #8
    Senior Member brihead301's Avatar
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    I used to blow out my back from bending over to pick up a pencil off the ground at least once a week. I'd be out of commission for days. Now that I started squatting and deadlifting about 3 years ago, my back NEVER hurts. On the rare occassion that I tweak my back from messing up my squat form or something, it heals in like a couple hours. For the most part though, my back is 5000x better then it ever was.

    Pencils used to blow out my back, now deadlifting over 400 lbs. doesn't. I like it!!!
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  9. #9
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    I had similar effects from squatting after knee surgery. Once it was healed and I was able to get under a squat bar it took about 3 months to make my legs stronger than they were before my surgery, get all of my flexibility back and be virtually pain free. So I am a firm believer that strengthening the muscles around a problem area to improve performance and reduce pain

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    Don't stop at parallel

    Don't stop at parallel because that actually puts a ton of ... I had problems
    with my knees doing squats and deads, too. ... You want to make sure your abs
    and lower back are activated to help stabilize your back during the lift. If I
    tried to squat heavy weight and suck in my gut at the same time

  11. #11
    Senior Member Sensei's Avatar
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    Done properly, squats are a great strengthener AND mobility & flexibility developer. Deadlifts are a great strengthener too, but they don't require much in the way of flexibility.

    The sooner people come to understand hip flexion and extension versus lower back flexion and extension, the less injuries there will be, even when picking up pencils.
    A child does not learn to squat from the top down. In other words, he does not suddenly make a conscious decision one day to squat. Actually, he is squatting one day and make the conscious decision to stand. Squatting precedes standing in the developmental sequence. This is the way a child's brain learns to use the body as the child develops movement patterns. Therefore, a child is probably crawling, rocks back into a squatting position with the back completely relaxed and the hips completely flexed, and stands when he has enough hip strength. This approach makes a lot of sense and can be applied to relearning the deep squat movement if it is lost. -Gray Cook
    Lifting Clips: http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=johnnymnemonic2
    Blog: http://squatrx.blogspot.com/

  12. #12
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    Had the same problem happen to me, Sensei's video has really helped me as well.

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